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At First Meeting of White Ribbon Volunteers, Chinese Men and Boys Pledge to End Gender-Based Violence

BEIJING—Marking the 14th International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, the China White Ribbon Volunteers Network held its first meeting here to promote the involvement of men and boys in the fight against gender-based violence. Over 200 volunteers pledged to actively get engaged in the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

This event, supported by the China office of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, marked the first anniversary of the founding of a men’s campaign led by the China White Ribbon Network. Representatives from the All-China Women’s Federation and national civil society groups, as well as international organizations including UN agencies and the MenEngage Global Alliance, participated in the annual meeting.

“Gender equality cannot be achieved without cooperation and participation of men,” said Arie Hoekman, UNFPA Representative in China, in opening remarks. “It is critical to engage men and boys in preventing and ending gender-based violence to ensure better health outcomes, including sexual and reproductive health, and harmonious societies.”

He congratulated Dr. Fang Gang and volunteers for the start-up of the Network, an important initiative driven by civil society to promote the active engagement of men and boys in the fight against gender-based violence. 
Dr. Fang, an active advocate of male involvement in combating violence, was invited to be a member of the Secretary-General’s Ban Ki-moon’s Network of Men Leaders, launched in 2009. Earlier this year, Dr. Fang and others founded the volunteers network, with support from UNFPA China.

White Ribbon volunteers in many countries are working to raise awareness on violence against women and girls and to change men’s attitude and behaviour to prevent it. Since its establishment, the China White Ribbon Volunteers Network has mobilized volunteers to staff a telephone hotline (4000 110 391) and provide counselling services to those who have experienced or perpetrated violence and those who are inclined to commit acts of violence. Through working with media, the Network has also campaigned to raise awareness on what men can do to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

At the first annual meeting, the Network announced that a well-known movie-star couple, Feng Yuanzheng and Liang Danni, would act as its spokespersons. Feng became famous through his role as a perpetrator of violence in a popular TV series “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, which brought domestic violence to public attention. The couple sent a video congratulating the Network on convening its first meeting and expressed their commitment to promote the White Ribbon campaign in China.

Ending the event, the Network’s founder called on participants to promote zero tolerance of gender-based violence. “I hope that all of us, especially men and boys, can make the promise to never use violence and never be silent about gender-based violence. China White Ribbon Network will continue to campaign on this issue, and we hope to get stronger support and alliances from both individuals and institutions,” Dr. Fang said.

For more information, contact:
Gao Cuiling, gao@unfpa.org.