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UNICEF- China: EU Refugee Crisis

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  • Pages: 8
  • Word count: 1909
  • Category: Refugee

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Topic BackgroundAsylum is the protection provided by a nation to a refugee fearing persecution from their home country.  As of now, numerous refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle-Eastern countries, apply for asylum in member states of the European Union (EU). These refugees are sometimes referred to as asylum-seekers, and are usually fleeing their home country to avoid abuse and conflict. Germany, Italy and France, receive the highest amounts of asylum applications. The EU consists of 28 member states who cooperate to solve issues that prevail throughout Europe. According to previous research conducted by the United Nations (UN), there are over five million registered refugees looking for safety. In the past few years, the amount asylum-seekers coming to Europe has drastically increased from 280,000 to over 830,000 yearly, with the peak amount of asylum applications exceeding 1.4 million in 2015. The steady flow of illegal migrants has not been much of a problem until recent years, where the amount of those migrants drastically increased, and peaked in 2015. In 2018 alone, over 2000 people have risked their lives to get to Europe, and 173 people have drowned in the process as of January 12. Despite how much the EU Refugee crisis is affecting member states in various places, the EU is still split down the middle on how to deal with refugees and asylum-seekers.

Countries such as Poland and Hungary do not accept many refugees or migrants, while Germany, Norway, and Austria welcome them. Studies conducted at the end of 2016 show that Germany has granted asylum to almost one in every three applicants who were of refugee status, and Austria has granted it to over half of all applicants. Other countries, such as Britain, have made unimpressive attempts to help refugees, pledging to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. Actions by these countries, however, are still more helpful in providing refugees with aid, in comparison to countries such as Spain, and the Czech Republic, who have barely accepted any asylum applicant looking to enter their borders. An action taken by the EU is the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016, which aimed to restrict the amount of illegal Turkish migrants to European countries across the Aegean Sea. The Statement also provided refugees with legal ways to enter Europe, but the number of both refugees and migrants from Turkey remarkably decreased. Though the strategies that European governments use to deal with refugees differ in each country, the EU in general favor laws that reduce the flow of migrants and refugees. Rather than making refugee camps safer, the EU has focused more on increasing border control.China’s Geography/Politics As the fourth largest country in the world, and largest country in Asia, China has climates that vary by geographic region. Located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean on the southeastern part of Asia, China borders 14 countries, including North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.

China is surrounded by the China Sea (East and South), Yellow sea, and the Gulf of Tonkin. China has plateaus, basins, mountains, foothills, and plains, all of which has elevations that vary from -505 feet (-154 meters) and 29,035 feet (8,848 meters). It is estimated that only 15% of China’s land consists of good farmland, while mountains cover almost 60%. China’s total area consists of over 168,100 square miles (270,500 square kilometers) of lakes and rivers, and 5,779,000 square miles (9,300,000 square kilometers) of land. The border between Nepal and China’s Tibet is home to the tallest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest, which stands 29,035 feet tall. Temperatures there can drop to -76°F (-60°C) in the winter. In comparison, the Gobi Desert, located in central China and is the fourth largest desert in the world, temperatures can exceed 120°F(49°C), and drop to -40°F (-40°C). Bordering 14 countries, China’s 22 provinces are home to over 1.4 billion people, or roughly 18% of the world’s population. In all, 56 recognized ethnic groups are present in China, and though the communist country does not have an official religion, over 80% of the population have religious beliefs, or have participated in some religious practices in the past. Christianity, Protestantism, Islam, Taoism, and Buddhism are the five main religious beliefs that the Chinese Government, officially the Central People’s Government, officially recognizes. This is because one of the government policies of China is the freedom of belief. Chinese culture has been around for over 5,000 years, and has evolved to a mix of westernized lifestyles and old Chinese traditions, such as respecting the elders and giving presents to others. The Chinese political system follows one of socialist democracy. The country recognizes nine parties in it’s government. The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the largest political party, with 89 million members. However, China has eight minor parties as well: Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, China Democratic League, China National Democratic Construction Association, China Association for Promoting Democracy, Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, China Zhi Gong Dang, Jiu San Society and Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. These minor parties are mainly governed by the larger Communist party, and invest in ‘long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, treating each other with sincerity and sharing each other’s weal and woe.’ Natural resources are abundant all throughout China, and it is estimated that China is responsible for 30% of the world’s supply of phosphorus. In 2010, China accounted for 97% of all the rare earths produced worldwide. China’s forests also have a variety of tree species, one of which includes the rare and odd Dawn Redwood.

China is also the world’s second largest producer of copper, following Chile. Since China is abundant in natural resources, China also has a great deal of trade partners and allies. Some of those alliances and trade partners include Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, North Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the United States of America. Pakistan had once been one of China’s closest allies, but as the Pakistani state is becoming weaker, the net benefits for China of the relationship are decreasing. However, the once-rival relationship between Russia and China has been getting friendlier as they both have growing tensions with the United States. As the US and China grow further apart due to their clashing alliances, the US is starting to impose large tariffs on Chinese imported products. In addition, tensions are also growing between China and North Korea. Though China may be one of North Korea’s only allies, the instability of the Korean People worries China. Many North Korean refugees have been flooding into the streets of Beijing, which only seems to be worsening China’s own issue with refugees. In sum, China has a great deal of allies and trading partners, but the relationship between all the allies vary by each country. Position/Policy Islamophobia, which is the dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, has always been prevalent throughout the citizens of China, and has only gotten worse in the past few years.  For the most part, Chinese people do not support refugees, nor the action of letting them into China. The Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, has once said  “Nations in the Middle East are carrying an immense burden in accepting refugees from Syria and other places,” which showed how the public thinks about the refugees. He has also stated that “Refugees are not immigrants and are roaming the world, after losing their homeland.

I look forward to the time when all refugees return to their homeland to rebuild their hometowns.” The Chinese Government does not accept refugees, and instead gives them aid through financial help. By the beginning of 2017, China had contributed over $102 million to provide aid to refugees and pledged an additional $135 million for humanitarian aid. China has also been showing more support for the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR).  The $12.5 million that China donated to the UNHCR in 2017 is a large increase from the $2.8 million given in 2016. Though China does not support letting refugees into the country, the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has said that “The most important thing is to seize the opportunity to implement a political resolution and set up an equal, inclusive and open political dialogue,” when speaking about the refugee crisis. China’s growing islamophobia prevents the government from updating laws regarding immigrants in favor of refugees. Article 32 of China’s constitution states that “The People’s Republic of China may grant asylum to foreigners who request it for political reasons,” and Article 46 of the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China states that “foreigners who are recognized as refugees may stay or reside in China on the strength of refugee identity certificates issued by public security organs.” However, the two quotes above are the only times that a major law in China acknowledged refugees and asylum-seekers. In sum, China does not support the onslaught of refugees entering a certain country, and believe that border control everywhere should be stronger.Strategies/SuggestionsThe UN has yet to pass any sanctions or resolutions regarding refugees and asylum-seekers, but have urged several countries to accept more refugees and provide them with basic human rights. The UN has also created a subcommittee, the UNHCR, in 1950 to focus on giving aid to refugees and those displaced by conflict. Antonio Guterres, the head of the UNHCR as of 2015, has advised the EU to accept 200,000 refugees into each country, as part of a “mass relocation program.” In addition, the UNHCR has proposed “Better Protecting Refugees in the EU and Globally”, a plan that involves having the member states of the EU put more effort into protecting refugees. Though each country’s response was different, it is clear that the EU and UN have different viewpoints on how deal with refugees.In order to solve this issue, it is crucial that members of the EU try to have similar ratios of refugees to inhabitants. This way, smaller countries would not have to accept the same number of refugees as larger countries that can afford to take in more refugees. A reasonable ratio would be around 3-6 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants. In addition, countries in the EU should adopt a common code of asylum, so the status is guaranteed to be valid all throughout the EU. The member states of the EU must also have similar ways to manage borders, so not all refugees head to one country.

Finally, countries cannot stand by and watch refugees die as they are trying to get into the EU. Countries who can afford to take care of more refugees should construct more shelters for the displaced persons. However, countries that already have a large number of refugees, or struggle with overpopulation, should try to limit the further intake of refugees. Having strict border control is imperative when it comes to limiting the intake of refugees, and China should continue to provide resources to countries struggling to support already existing refugees within their own borders. The country has already provided almost $102 million for helping some middle eastern countries, but more can still be done. China could send some of its military forces into those countries to help with border control, which would prevent an onslaught of refugees entering countries illegally. In essence, the UN and EU have disagreed on how to handle refugees, but if the EU and other nations of the world cooperate, a solution will be found to this crisis.

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