Mine Action

Last updated: 25 November 2016

Not a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty

The extent of contamination in the People’s Republic of China is not known. Mine clearance resumed in November 2015 according to media reports.


The extent of mine contamination remaining in China is not known.

In the 1990s, the United States (US) reported that China had emplaced mines along its borders with India, the Russian Federation, and Vietnam.[1] China’s military estimated that around two million mines of
a wide variety of types were emplaced on the Vietnam border alone.[2] China conducted clearance operations along its border with Vietnam between 1992 and 1999,[3] and between 2005 and 2009.[4]

In 2009, China said it had completed demining along the Yunnan section of its border with Vietnam and that this “represents the completion of mine clearance of mine-affected areas within China’s territory.”[5] However, in November 2015, the media reported that mine clearance in Yunnan had resumed.[6] Casualties from landmines continued to be reported in parts of Yunnan bordering Vietnam where some areas were still marked as mine-affected and press reports said one or two people were injured in this region every year.[7]

Moreover, in 2011, a Foreign Ministry official reported that China maintains a small number of minefields “for national defence.”[8] Two months later, at the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, China said that large-scale demining activities had “on the whole eliminated the scourge of landmines in our territories.”[9] At the Maputo Review Conference in 2014, China said it had “basically eradicated landmines on its own territory.”[10] China has not reported on mine contamination along its borders with Russia and India or on operations to clear them.

Program Management

There is no formal mine action program in China. Any mine clearance is conducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as a military activity.

Land Release

Demining of the Vietnam border was conducted in three “campaigns” in Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The first was in 1992–1994 and the second in 1997–1999. Press reports cited claims by the Chinese military that this second clearance operation was the largest in world military history.[11]

However, these two campaigns did not deal with minefields located in disputed areas of the border, where 500,000 mines covered an estimated 40km2. After a technical survey of mined areas, China embarked on a third clearance campaign in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan province in 2005. China stated in 2009 that it had completed clearance of this border after clearing a total of 5.15km2.[12]

In early November 2015, however, China embarked on a further demining operation along the border with Vietnam.[13] According to media accounts, this phase of clearance on the border was set to be completed by the end of 2017, with the clearance of more than 50 minefields covering an area of more than 50km2 in six counties along the border, in areas home to over 50,000 people. It was claimed that more than 470,000 mines remained to be cleared, despite the two other clearance operations in 1992–1994 and 1997–1999.[14]

In August 2016, China reported that it had made “positive progress” in the ongoing phase of the government’s demining operations, and confirmed it was due to finish in 2017.[15] According to a media report in December 2016, demining in the Red River autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province had been completed after eight months of operations, wherein soldiers cleared 18 minefields with a size of over 4.4km2 in the Red River section along the Vietnamese border.[16]

In its latest Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 report submitted in March 2017, China reported that in November 2015–February 2017, the Chinese army cleared 18.4km2 of minefields on the Yunnan border.[17]

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] US Department of State, “Hidden Killers 1994,” Washington, DC, September 1998, p. 18, and table A-1.

[2] L. Huizi and L. Yun, “Chinese soldiers nearly done with landmine sweeping on the Sino-Vietnam border,” Xinhua, 31 December 2008.

[3] Ministry of Defence, “Post-war Demining Operations in China,” December 1999, p. 11. Before the clearance operations, there were said to be more than 560 minefields covering a total area of more than 300km2.

[4] Interview with Shen Jian, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beijing, 1 April 2008; and Huizi and Yun, “Chinese soldiers nearly done with landmine sweeping on the Sino-Vietnam border,” Xinhua, 31 December 2008.

[5] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[6]China to conduct third landmine-clearing operation on Sino-Vietnam Border,” CRIENGLISH.COM News, 12 September 2015; Patrick Scally, “Huge land mine clearance underway in Wenshan, Honghe,” GoKunming, 5 November 2015; and “China sweeps landmines along Sino-Vietnam border,”, 22 November 2015.

[7] “Landmines continue to kill in Yunnan province,” Global Times, 16 May 2011; and Z. Jiawei, “Landmines haunt Chinese village,” China Daily, 13 January 2011.

[8] Email from Lai Haiyang, Attaché, Department of Arms Control & Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 September 2011.

[9] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty 11th Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 29 November 2011.

[10] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 26 June 2014.

[11] Huizi and Yun, “Chinese soldiers nearly done with landmine sweeping on the Sino-Vietnam border,” Xinhua, 31 December 2008.

[12] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[13] P. Scally, “Huge land mine clearance underway in Wenshan, Honghe,” Blog post on Gokunming, 5 November 2015.

[14] X. Wei, “Mine clearance mission on China-Vietnam border,” China Daily, 3 November 2015; and Z. Tao, “China launches 3rd mine clearance mission along China-Vietnam border,” China Military Online, 2 December 2015.

[15] Statement of China, “Summary record of 18th Annual Conference of High Contracting Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II,” CCW/AP.II/CONF.18/SR.1, Geneva, 30 August 2016.

[17] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2016), Form B. Unofficial translation.