Beijing Claims its Weapon Sales 'Promote Peace and Stability'

Are Chinese weapons sales 'stoking conflict, and repression' around the world, as a new report from Amnesty international charges? Readers will likely breathe a sigh of relief, since according to China's state-controlled People's Daily, since only enterprises licensed by Beijing's authoritarian government are permitted to export weapons, this cannot be the case ...


June 12, 2006
China - People's Daily - Original Article (English)

Is it possible that Beijing's weapons exports are 'stoking conflict and
repression' around the world? Absolutley not, according to China's
authoritarian regime.


China has been exporting conventional weapons properly, reasonably, legally, unimpeachably, and in light of international rules, 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 exports under strict control and surveillance, and he denounced Amnesty International's slam against the way China trades weapons as irresponsible and groundless RealVideo.

The human rights group released a report on Sunday, accusing China of stoking regional conflicts and human right violations [repression, is the word Amnesty used] by exporting large amounts of weaponry to Sudan, Nepal, Myanmar and Africa's Great Lakes countries.

"This charge comes is completely unexpected, since China always abides by related international conventions and imposes rigid controls on arms exports and the transfer of military technologies," Teng said.

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

"China's attitude on this has been widely applauded around the world, and its weapons sales have not jeopardized regional peace or created a single human rights disaster," he said.

"As one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, the arms trade plays an important role in ensuring profits and sustaining military production in many countries. In one way or another, nations capable of producing and exporting weapons will always strive for a greater market share. But China continues to export less weaponry than many other countries," Teng said.

Statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute RealVideo show that from 2000 to 2004, export by the United States was estimated at $25.9 billion. Weapons exported by China during this period were valued at $1.4 billion, just 5 percent of that of the United States, the statistics show.

Teng said that China wasn't even engaged in the sale of arms until the 1980s, but has kept its sales limited.

"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 weapons trafficking in small arms have created tremendous danger in many countries and regions, having been used in 47 out of the 49 of the world's major conflicts during the 1990s, taking up to 500,000 lives per year, 80 percent of which were women and children.

That is why China has shown particular concern over its small arms export, and has passed a series of laws and regulations to oversee the production, storage, transport, trade, use and control of small arms, Teng said.

China passed a Law on the Control of Guns in July 1996, issued regulations on the Administration of Arms Exports in October 1997, and began amending theses regulations in October 2002.

Chinese hand-held arms:
a force for stability?


According to the regulations, only licensed enterprises are allowed to be engaged in the arms trade, and their export items and contracts must pass strict controls by related departments. Weapons producers must also show valid certificates from the importing countries, including end users. Those who break the regulations may receive punishments and even criminal penalties, Teng said.

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

Small arms companies in China all keep detailed records of the entire production process, and many have special computer management systems. Weapons made in China are clearly marked with code identifying the type, batch, production date and company, to ensure that the government is able to identify and trace each weapon.

"I cannot say there are no loopholes, but certainly far fewer compared with some Western countries like the United States, " Teng said.

China has also set up a system to identify the end users of its exported weapons, to prevent the arms from entering politically or religiosly sensitive and unstable areas.

"Chinese principles and actions regarding the arms trade not only facilitate global peace and regional stability, but promote the healthy development of arms control and disarmament," Teng said.