China successfully launched the Chang'e-1, named after a mythical Chinese goddess, who, according to legend, flew to the moon, into the first orbit of its moon probe last Wednesday, or October 24, to unveil the prelude of its lunar probing project. The moon orbiter is currently moving normally and smoothly on a 48-hour orbit with the apogee of more than 120,000 km.
The peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of all mankind is China's sole, consistent purpose in developing aeronautics industry. It represents the basic goal for the nation's space activities to help deepen or enlarge the scientific knowledge of the universe and meet varied needs of China and the world at large for social progress. Such is what China has said and also what it is definitely doing.
Domestically, space activities have played a vital, important role in social progress. For instance, China has resorted to space technology for natural disaster mitigation, relief and preventive efforts, advancing informationization, offering varied distance education programs and promoting medical science, in an attempt to narrow gaps or disparities between different regions nationwide.
Internationally, China, in strict compliance with the principle of "mutual respect, mutually-beneficial cooperation and the peaceful use of outer space for common development," has taken an active part in international cooperation for the peaceful use of outer space. It has reached intergovernmental or inter-organizational accords with France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Russia and the European Aeronautics Bureau, and formed an aeronautical cooperation mechanism. Moreover, it has deepened cooperative ties with Brazil, Argentina and Nigeria, and gone in for commercial space cooperation with the United States.
China stands for giving a fuller scope to the role of the United Nations, particularly the function of its Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in enacting an international space law and improving the order for outer space activities. Ever since becoming a member of the committee in 1980, the nation has acceded to its cooperation agreements on the peaceful use of outer space and space project cooperation, the Rescue Agreement, the Registration Convention and the Convention on International Liability for Damage. Furthermore, it has actively partaken in all activities designed for the peaceful use of outer space and for the benefit of all mankind.
The UN Outer Space Treaty (1967) has the following two core elements or connotations: A. Outer space belongs to all mankind. B. All nations should agree to the peaceful use of outer space. the connotations represent, in a sense, a type of "humanity regulation" as well as an "ethical yardstick" for scientific, technological actions in space exploration. On the other hand, the genuine non-weaponization of outer space, very much like the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, depends on joint efforts of all mankind and the pioneering moves of those technologically advanced nations.
In a certain sense, China's active involvement in activities for the peaceful use of outer space has beefed up the equilibrium of outer space technologies, giving expression to the hallmarks of "peace" and "cooperation" conducive to outer space activities of the humanity.
How to manage space technologies with a sense of "humanity" and to make it an instrument for the benefit of all mankind instead of turning it into a lethal weapon in a possible homicide -- this poses a big, thorny problem for the humanity. The settlement of this tough issue, nevertheless, should call for great wisdom and broadmindedness of the mankind. In this perspective, China will work still harder to push forward the great cause for peaceful use of outer space with a scientific concept on pursuit of a universal harmony of humanity and the building of a harmonious world, though the whole process will be very long, complex and strenuous.
By People's Daily Online and its author is senior PD desk editor Huang Qing