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Table of Contents
Country Reports
China , Landmine Monitor Report 2004

China

Key developments since May 2003: China, together with the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and the Australian Network of ICBL, hosted the “Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation Workshop” at Kunming on 26-28 April 2004. China joined the donors’ Mine Action Support Group. In November 2003, an official stated that China has thus far destroyed over 400,000 old mines that did not meet the technical requirements of CCW Amended Protocol II. China has reiterated its support for “the ultimate goal of a total ban on antipersonnel mines.” In December 2003, the International Committee of the Red Cross, in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of China, established a prosthetic center in Kunming.

Key developments since 1999: China announced completion of clearance of its border with Vietnam in September 1999, but resumed clearance in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces following the signing of a new border agreement with Vietnam. China is modifying or destroying antipersonnel mines that do not meet CCW Amended Protocol II requirements. China reported that since 1997, it has ceased the production of non-detectable antipersonnel mines and those without self-destruct mechanisms. China has reported providing more than $6 million in international mine action assistance from 2001-2003. China has been increasingly active in international mine action and in Mine Ban Treaty-related activities. Landmine Monitor has identified 4,207 mine survivors in Yunnan province and Guangxi province.

Mine Ban Policy

The People’s Republic of China has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. China was one of the few governments that did not participate in any of the Ottawa Process diplomatic conferences. China has abstained from voting on every pro-mine ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, including Resolution 58/53 in December 2003. China continues to insist on a military requirement for antipersonnel mines.

However, China has recently shown greater interest in entering into a dialogue with States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2003, a senior Chinese government official stated, “The Chinese government attaches great importance to humanitarian issues and supports the efforts by the international community in addressing the humanitarian problems caused by landmines... There is no denying that banning antipersonnel mines (APLs) can be the ultimate way to prevent them from injuring civilians and address the humanitarian concerns arising thereof. To those states that have chosen to do so, we express our respect and appreciation.”[1] In November 2003, an official stated, “Although China is not a party to the Ottawa Convention, we endorse its objective and share its ultimate goal of banning APLs... In September this year, China sent an observer delegation to the Fifth Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention held in Bangkok, Thailand, thus enhancing the contact and understanding between China and the State Parties to the Ottawa Convention. The non-membership to the Ottawa Convention has not hindered China’s efforts to enhance exchanges and cooperation with the State Parties to the Ottawa Convention to alleviate harm done to civilians by APLs.”[2] These words were echoed by another Chinese official addressing the UN Security Council: “Although China has yet to accede to the Ottawa Convention, we identify ourselves with the purposes of the Convention and support the ultimate goal of a total ban on antipersonnel mines.”[3]

In addition to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties, China also attended the first meeting in May 1999 and the second meeting in September 2000. China has also participated in most of the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings since May 2000, but did not attend in February 2004. At the June 2004 intersessional meetings, China made a presentation on its Workshop on Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation held in Kunming City in April 2004. (See below for details). The workshop was co-sponsored by the Australian Network of the ICBL. During the opening ceremony, all speakers recognized the need to address the continuing humanitarian crisis caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance.[4] The event received national media coverage.

From 26-28 March 2003, China participated in a regional mine action seminar held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It also attended the Defense Forum in Tokyo from 28-30 January 2003, in which high-level military personnel discussed the antipersonnel mine ban in the Asia-Pacific region.

China is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). On 4 November 1998, China ratified CCW Amended Protocol II and indicated it would exercise the optional nine-year deferral period for compliance with key restrictions.[5] It actively participated in the CCW Group of Governmental Experts meetings in 2003 and 2004. China submitted its national annual report as required under Article 13 of Amended Protocol II in November 2003.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

China has been one of the world's largest producers of antipersonnel mines. China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) and Chinese State Arsenals have produced at least 22 types of antipersonnel mines, including six copies of Soviet designs.[6]

China reported that since 1997, it has ceased the production of antipersonnel mines without self-destruct mechanisms and that all the new antipersonnel mines under research, development and manufacture have self-deactivation and detection capacities in compliance with the requirements of the CCW Amended Protocol II.[7]

In September 2003, Fu Cong, China’s senior delegate attending the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, was asked by a reporter about ongoing production of antipersonnel mines. He responded, “As far as I know we are not. Because we have a large stockpile and we are not preparing for war. We are not laying any mines along our borders and I do not see the need for producing anymore.”[8]

In December 2002 China announced that it had accelerated the transformation and destruction of old antipersonnel mines that are not compliant with Amended Protocol II requirements for detectability or self-destruct mechanisms.[9] It is believed that China is modifying most of its non-detectable mines—which may have numbered 100 million—by adding metal, rather than destroying them. In November 2003, a Chinese official stated, “China has continued to destroy old mines that are not in conformation with the technical requirements of the Protocol. So far over 400,000 old mines have been destroyed.”[10] In late 1999 China reported that it had destroyed over 1.7 million old antipersonnel mines.[11]

China also reported in November 2003 that the Chinese national army organized more than ten training courses on safe and appropriate stockpile destruction technology for military personnel who are engaged in stockpile destruction in each military district.[12] The training is based upon the results of a survey conducted by the national army of all the antipersonnel mine stockpiles.[13]

China was one of the world’s biggest exporters of antipersonnel mines. The Type 72 may be the most frequently encountered mine in the world. Since 1996 China has adhered to a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines that do not conform to Amended Protocol II.[14] Landmine Monitor is not aware of any antipersonnel mines of any type being exported from China since that time. Numerous Mine Ban Treaty States Parties, including Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Djibouti, Gabon, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and Zambia have declared nearly 1.4 million antipersonnel mines of Chinese origin in their stockpiles in Article 7 transparency reports. Gabon reported acquiring its Chinese mines in 1994-1995.[15] Chinese mines have been found in the ground in at least 18 other countries, too.[16]

Chinese officials have never responded to Landmine Monitor requests for clarification on the number of stockpiled antipersonnel mines. Based on interviews with non-Chinese government officials involved in Protocol II discussions in 1995 and 1996, Landmine Monitor has estimated the Chinese antipersonnel mine stockpile at 110 million, including perhaps 100 million Type 72 mines.

Landmine Monitor is not aware of any new mine-laying by China in recent years. China states that it “adheres to a national defense policy of ‘active defense,’ which rules out the possibility of deployment of landmines abroad.”[17]

Landmine Problem and Mine Clearance

China has used antipersonnel mines along its borders with Russia, India, and Vietnam, planting an estimated ten million mines along these borders over the years.[18]

After major clearance operations from 1992-1999, China reported that the mine threat on the Chinese side of the border with Vietnam “has been basically removed.”[19] In 2002, however, China started new mine clearance activities along its border with Vietnam in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces. This was part of a bilateral border agreement with Vietnam, in which the two countries agreed to complete technical surveys of mined areas by 2005.[20]

The Chinese military deployed five border survey and clearance teams with 20 to 50 members each (150 persons total) in Guangxi province, and five teams with 60 members each in Yunnan province. From October 2002 to April 2003, the Guangxi teams opened five border inspection roads, with a total length of 4,309 meters, and cleared an area of 20,874 square meters. In October and November 2002, the Yunnan teams opened three border inspection roads, with a total length of 4,350 meters, and cleared an area of 8,070 square meters, destroying 97 mines and UXO. The clearance teams used a combination of blast demining and manual clearance techniques.[21]

China has indicated that it uses four demining techniques, including destruction by burning (applicable in areas with dense vegetation); blast demining (for speeding up operations and reducing casualties); mechanical operation; and manual detection and clearance.[22]

In Yunnan province, the minefields that exist in an area of 54 million square meters are apparently marked with warning signs.[23] The danger to civilians from mines laid along China's borders with India and Russia are reported to be minimal.[24]

Mine Action Assistance

China hosted the Workshop on Humanitarian Mine/UXO Clearance Technology and Cooperation in Kunming on 26–28 April 2004. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA), and the Australian Network of the ICBL. Participants included representatives from eight mine-affected countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Eritrea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand and Vietnam); five donor countries (Australia, Canada, France, Switzerland, and the United States) and eight international and NGOs organizations (CACDA, Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, Handicap International, ICBL, the Mines Advisory Group, UNICEF, UN Development Program, and UN Mine Action Service). The workshop had a focus on sharing experiences and cooperation in mine action technologies.[25]

In 2003, China joined the Mine Action Support Group of donors which meet regularly in New York.[26] At the UN Security Council Meeting on the Importance of Mine Action in Peacekeeping Operations held on 13 November 2003, China said that it had consistently supported countries in addressing the social and economic problems of landmines, including by providing financial contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund, hosting seminars on demining techniques, and providing training experts.[27] An official told Landmine Monitor that the selection of recipient countries was made according to requests as well as friendly relations.[28]

In 1998, China donated US$100,000 to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for clearance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1999 and 2000 it sponsored two demining training courses for personnel from Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda. In 2001 China donated mine detection and clearance equipment worth US$1.26 million to Angola, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.[29] In 2002, China donated US$3 million in demining equipment to Eritrea and Lebanon.[30] In April 2004, China reported that it provided $5 million in 2002 and 2003 for worldwide mine clearance activities.[31] This would indicate some $2 million in assistance in 2003.

In 2002 and 2003, China sent two groups of demining experts to Eritrea who trained a total of 120 Eritrean deminers. During the program, Eritrean trainees cleared 186,000 square meters of minefields, opened 1,300 meters of roads, removed 822 mines, 175 pieces of unexploded ordnance and 1,442 bullets or metallic fragments. [32]

At the Kunming Workshop, China stated, “At present, international demining cooperation is mainly carried out bilaterally. To improve the quality of cooperation and assistance, we should explore new patterns of cooperation. For example, multiple parties could participate in the same cooperation program, giving full play to their respective advantages in terms of human and financial resources, equipment, technology and management, etc.”[33]

Landmine Casualties

In 2003, at least two people were injured in mine incidents in Yunnan province; two men, both farmers, lost limbs after stepping on landmines in separate incidents in May and December.[34] Mine casualties are also known to have occurred in 2002, but Landmine Monitor does not have specific details.[35] Landmine Monitor identified one casualty in 2000; a 16-year-old boy lost his leg after stepping on a landmine.[36] Data on landmine casualties is generally not publicly available. Chinese authorities maintain that no new mine casualties have occurred since China finished major mine clearance operations in 1999.[37]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that over 6,000 civilians have lost limbs in mine incidents in China.[38] Landmine Monitor has identified 5,310 mine casualties in the Wenshan prefecture of the Yunnan province, including 3,811 survivors. In Guangxi province, 359 mine survivors were identified. Another 37 mine survivors were identified in Jinping, Luchun, and Hekou Yao.[39]

Survivor Assistance

A field survey by Landmine Monitor in some mine-affected areas of Guangxi and Yunnan provinces in 2001 showed that adequate assistance is not often available as the mine-affected areas are usually a long way from medical and rehabilitation facilities. Emergency first aid services are virtually non-existent in rural areas.[40]

In February 2003, Landmine Monitor conducted another field survey of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in Yunnan Province and identified the main service providers. The China Disabled Person’s Federation (CDPF) runs six rehabilitation centers for all types of disability in Kunming, and has 103 rehabilitation stations in urban areas and 131 in rural areas; some rehabilitation services are also provided by private centers.[41] The government, CDPF, and private organizations run prosthetic workshops. The Ministry of Civil Affairs runs one workshop in Kunming and a temporary workshop in Wenshan. CDPF established eight workshops in Chuxiong, Dali, Honghe, Kunming, Wenshan, Yuxi, and Zhaotong, and plans to establish two in Simao and Linlun, with funding from the Hong Kong-based Li Jia Cheng Fund. Ten Lin, a Taiwanese corporation, established a workshop in Kunming. Project Grace, a US-registered NGO, has a workshop in Kunming and provides free prostheses for poverty-stricken persons with disabilities.[42]

In Wenshan County, landmine survivors receive support from the Post-War Recovery Foundation, the CDPF, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The Post-War Recovery Foundation provides assistance to the survivors of the Sino-Vietnamese War, including financial support for prostheses, road maintenance in their communities, distribution of educational books, and financial aid for pig breeding, poultry farming, and tree planting. CDPF provides prostheses at a discount price, and food and accommodation during treatment. The Ministry of Civil Affairs of Yunnan and Shanghai Provinces provides financial aid for prostheses through the CDPF.[43]

In December 2003, the ICRC, in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of China, established a prosthetic center in Kunming. In a five-year cooperation agreement, the ICRC equipped the center and will train local staff, while the government covers the running costs of the rehabilitation program. The ICRC sponsored four students to undertake a three-year course in prosthetics and orthotics at the Chinese School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CHICOT) in Beijing.[44]

The CDPF has established vocational training units in each county, but opportunities for training are limited in Guangxi and Yunnan due to budget restraints.[45] The Yunnan Huaxia Secondary Technical School for young people with disabilities in Kunming is the only school of its type in Yunnan province. Established in 1991, it was the first secondary school for disabled youth in China. The school accommodates about 300 students. The school has assisted five young mine survivors, but none since 1996.[46]

Disability Policy and Practice

The “Law of the People’s Republic of China on the protection of disabled persons” was enacted in December 1990 and protects the rights of equality and participation of persons with disabilities.[47]

China’s December 2000 CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 report included for the first time a section on Rehabilitation and Relief of Civilians Accidentally Injured by Landmines.[48]

The policy of the Chinese government towards persons with disabilities is established in the tenth Five-Year Plan (2001–2005). Priorities include improvement of the quality of life of persons with disabilities, rehabilitation, formal education, employment, and construction of regional facilities. In Yunnan Province, very few of the targets established in the Plan have been achieved.[49] Rehabilitation services are available to persons with disabilities provided they can pay for the services. This is often beyond their means, as many live in poverty in rural areas and are dependent on their families.[50]


[1] Statement by Fu Cong, Deputy Director-General of Arms Control and Disarmament Department, at the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Bangkok, 19 September 2003.
[2] Statement by Amb. Hu Xiaodi at the Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, Geneva, 26 November 2003.
[3] Zhang Yishan, quoted in UN Security Council, S/PV.4858, 4858th meeting, “Agenda: The importance of mine action for peacekeeping operations,” New York, 13 November 2003.
[4] “Chair’s Summary,” Kunming, 27 April 2004. Statements were made by Tondrub Wangbum, Assistant Governor of Yunnan Province; Amb. Li Daoyu, President of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association; Liu Jieyi, Director General of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and David Johnson of the Australian Network of ICBL.
[5] The deadline for China to come into compliance with the Amended Protocol’s technical specifications on the detectability and reliability of antipersonnel mines is 3 December 2007.
[6] For additional details see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 457-458.
[7] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, 10 December 2001, p. 5. Reaffirmed in Article 13 Report, November 2003, p. 5.
[8] Darren Schuettler, “Interview--China says not ashamed of mine stockpile,” Reuters (Bangkok), Thailand, 17 September 2003.
[9] Statement by Amb. Sha Zukang at the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, Geneva, 11 December 2002, p. 3.
[10] Statement by Amb. Hu Xiaodi, Fifth Annual Conference of CCW States Parties, 26 November 2003; CCW Article 13 Report, November 2003.
[11] CCW Article 13 Report, October 1999.
[12] CCW Article 13 Report, November 2003, p. 5.
[13] Ibid.
[14] CCW Article 13 Report, Form C, November 2003.
[15] Gabon Article 7 Report, Form B, 25 September 2002.
[16] Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance 2000-2001 lists mines of Chinese manufacture being found in the ground in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, China, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Peru, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
[17] Statement by Fu Cong, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, 19 September 2003.
[18] US Department of State, “Hidden Killers 1994,” p. 18, and “Hidden Killers 1998,” Table A-1.
[19] Ministry of National Defense, “Postwar Demining Operations in China,” December 1999, p. 11. Before the clearance operations, there were more than 560 minefields covering an area of over 300 square kilometers.
[20] CCW Article 13 Report, December 2002, p. 5.
[21] CCW Article 13 Report, November 2003, p. 4.
[22] CCW Article 13 Report, December 2001; Presentation by Col. Guo Shoumin, Ministry of National Defense, Kunming Workshop, 26 April 2004. Mine action experts pointed out that burning and blast demining are usually used for military breaching and not applicable to humanitarian demining. Interviews with mine action experts at Kunming Workshop, China, 25-26 April 2004.
[23] Interview with Miao Yuyong, Secretary, Post-War Recovery Foundation, Wenshan, 26 February 2003.
[24] US Department of State, “Hidden Killers 1994,” p. 18.
[25] “Chair’s Summary,” Kunming, 27 April 2004.
[26] Statement by Amb. Hu Xiaodi, Fifth Annual Conference of CCW States Parties, 26 November 2003, p. 2. Nearly all major donors are part of the MASG, which meets on a regular basis in New York to promote sustained, better coordinated, and more effective global mine action funding.
[27] UN Security Council Press Release, “Action Against Mines Dynamic Component of Peacekeeping Operations,” SC/7918, 13 November 2003.
[28] Comment by Fu Cong, Deputy Director-General of Arms Control and Disarmament Department at the Kunming Workshop, China, 26 April 2004.
[29] Statement by Fu Cong, Fifth Meeting of the States Parties, 19 September 2003.
[30] CCW Article 13 Report, 10 December 2002, p. 7.
[31] Presentation on China’s International Demining Cooperation, by Mr. Long Zhou, Director of Arms Control and Disarmament Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Kunming Workshop, China, 26 April 2004; “China actively participates in worldwide mine clearance,” Xinhua (Kunming), 27 April 2004.
[32] Presentation on China’s Demining Assistance To Eritrea, by Col. Li Zhilun, Ministry of Defense, Kunming Workshop, China, 26 April 2004. In 2003, China sent 18 demining experts to Eritrea from March to June; 60 deminers were trained who cleared 103,000 square meters of land, removing 587 mines and UXO. Statement by Amb. Hu Xiaodi, Fifth Annual Conference of CCW States Parties, 26 November 2003, p. 3.
[33] Statement on China’s international demining assistance program and perspectives on international demining cooperation by Long Zhou, Director, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kunming Workshop, China, 27 April 2004.
[34] ICRC, “ICRC and Chinese Red Cross: joint centre fits limbs for mine victims,” 19 March 2004.
[35] Interview with an official, Yunnan province, February 2003.
[36] Interview with village leader and with mine survivor, Ba Li He village, Malipro, Yunnan, 12 February 2001. The Yunnan Disabled Person’s Federation also states that the last known casualty was in Yunnan province in 2000, but it is not clear if this was the same incident. Interview with Shi Ya Ping, Director, Rehabilitation Department, Yunnan Disabled Person’s Federation, Kunming, 29 April 2004.
[37] Interviews with Li Jonze, Deputy Director General, Development and Reform Commission of Yunnan province, and Fu Cong, Deputy Director-General of Arms Control and Disarmament, at the Kunming Workshop, 27 April 2004.
[38] ICRC, “ICRC and Chinese Red Cross: joint centre fits limbs for mine victims,” 19 March 2004.
[39] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 530-531, and Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 639.
[40] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 531-533.
[41] Interview with Shi Yanping, Director of Rehabilitation, CDPF of Yunnan Province, Kunming, 24 February 2003.
[42] Interview with Zhang Yu Sheng, Manager, Ten Lin, Kunming, 24 February 2003 and Wu Cheng Ching, Workshop Manager, Project Grace, Kunming, 25 February 2003.
[43] Interview with Ma Ying Ming, President, CDPF, Wenshan, 27 February 2003.
[44] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Program, “Annual Report 2003,” Geneva, 9 March 2004, p. 12; ICRC, “ICRC and Chinese Red Cross: joint centre fits limbs for mine victims,” 19 March 2004.
[45] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 532.
[46] Interview with Xu Xiao Hua, Director, Yunnan Huaxia Secondary Technical School, Kunming, 29 April 2004.
[47] For more details see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 487.
[48] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 533.
[49] Interview with Shi Yanping, Director of Rehabilitation, CDPF Yunnan Province, Kunming, 24 February 2003.
[50] Tong Jiyu and Shi Yaping, Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Social Changes (Kunming: the People’s Publication of Yunnan, 2001), pp. 15-18.