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Home >> China
UPDATED: 20:32, June 12, 2006
China refutes Amnesty International's slams on arms trade
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China has been exporting conventional weapons properly in the light of international rules, which is reasonable, legal and unimpeachable, Chinese expert said on Monday.

Teng Jianqun, a researcher with the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told Xinhua that China has always put its limited arms export under strict control and surveillance, denouncing Amnesty International's slams on China's arms trade as irresponsible and groundless.

The human rights group released a report on Sunday, accusing China of entailing regional conflicts and human right violations by exporting a large quantity of weaponry to Sudan, Nepal, Myanmar and the Great Lakes countries of Africa.

"The charge comes out of nowhere, as China always abides by related international conventions and imposes rigid self-control in terms of arms export and transfer of military technologies," Teng said.

He noted that China adheres to three principles in arms trade: it should help enhance the self-defense capability of import countries, should not impair regional and global peace, security and stability, and should not be used to interfere with other countries' internal affairs.

"China's attitude has been widely applauded in the world, and its weaponry sales haven't jeopardized regional peace or caused any human rights disasters," he said.

As one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, arms trade plays an important role of ensuring economic profits and sustaining military industry in many countries.

Therefore, many countries capable of producing and exporting weapons will try to scrabble for more market shares in one way or another. "But China keeps to be one of the countries exporting the least weaponry," Teng said.

Statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that from 2000 to 2004, the export by the United States was estimated at 25.9 billion U.S. dollars. Weaponry exported by China in this period valued 1.4 billion U.S. dollars, only 5 percent of that of the United States, the statistics show.

Teng said that China wasn't engaged in arms trade until the 1980s, but has kept its sales under limited quantities.

"According to the United Nations Conventional Arms Register, China sells much less conventional weaponry to other countries than the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany," he said.

Illegal traffic and excessive collection of small weapons has brought severe dangers to many countries and regions. They had been used in 47 out of 49 major atrocious conflicts worldwide in the 1990s, claiming up to 500,000 lives every year with 80 percent mainly women and children.

Thus, China has shown particular concern over its export in this field and promulgated a series of laws and regulations to supervise the production, storage, transport, trade, use and takeover of small weapons, Teng said.

China promulgated Law on Control of Guns in July 1996, issued regulations on Administration of Arms Export in October 1997, and started amending the regulations from October 2002.

According to the regulations, only enterprises granted licenses are allowed to be engaged in arms trade, and their export items and contracts must go through checkup by related official departments. Weaponry producers should offer valid certificates from import countries, including those on end users.

Those who break the regulations may get punishments or even criminal penalties, Teng said.

"The report rebuked irresponsibly China's arms suppliers for their defiance of related laws and regulations," Teng said.

Small weaponry companies in China have all kept detailed records of every links from production to sales. Many have built special computer management system.

Arms made in China are clearly marked with code of type, batch, production date and company to ensure the government able to identify and trace each small weapon.

"I cannot say there is no loopholes at all, but certainly far fewer compared with some western countries like the United States, " Teng said, adding that the number can be neglected.

China also sets up a system to clarify end users of its exported arms, so as to prevent weaponry entering political or religionary sensitive and unstable areas.

"The principles and actions China adopts in arms trade will not only facilitate global peace and regional stability, but promote healthy development of arms control and disarmament in the world," Teng said.

Source: Xinhua

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