Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 26 December 2016


No new mine casualties were identified by the Monitor in the People’s Republic of China in 2015.[1] One casualty was identified in January 2016; a Chinese official was injured by a landmine on the border with Myanmar. The exact location of this incident was not reported.[2] Prior to the 2016 incident, the last recorded casualties in China were in 2011, in Malipo county in Yunnan province, when seven civilians were injured by antipersonnel mines.[3]

The cumulative number of casualties in China is not known. However, it was reported in the media in 2011 that 14,398 civilians had been disabled by explosive remnants of war (ERW), of which 1,113 were injured by landmines.[4] The actual number is certainly higher, as these figures only include injured civilians and do not include either civilians who died in landmine incidents or military casualties. Field research in 2001 identified 5,707 mine/ERW casualties, mostly in Wenshan prefecture in Yunnan province.[5] Chinese media has repeatedly cited local authorities in Yunnan province as reporting that Wenshan prefecture has had some 6,000 landmine casualties since 1979.[6]

Victim Assistance

It has been reported that there are at least 14,398 landmine/ERW survivors in China, all of whom are civilians.[7] The number of military survivors is unknown.

At the Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference in 2014, China reported that “In order to help landmine victims reintegrate into the society, the Chinese government has, in close cooperation with relevant civil society, provided them with assistance in terms of funding, materials, medicare, education and job-training.”[8] Government regulations entitle persons who have impairments and disabilities due to mines/ERW to financial assistance ranging from some physical rehabilitation services at no cost, to assistance in securing employment. The law calls for gradual implementation of standards to make buildings and roads accessible.[9]

The ICRC’s Beijing office provided prostheses for five mine/ERW survivors from China and North Korea in 2015. It was not reported how many beneficiaries there were from each country.[10] The Chinese Red Cross in partnership with the ICRC provided cash grants to persons with disabilities in Yunnan province to start businesses in 2015, reaching 24 persons in Malipo county and 15 persons in Hekou county.[11]

China ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 1 August 2008.

[1] However, due to a lack of systematically available data, it is possible that casualties occurred and were not reported.

[2]Landmine: China lodges protest with Myanmar,” China Daily Asia, 5 January 2016.

[3] Information from the Kunming Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centre of the Yunnan branch of the Red Cross Society of China; email from Thierry Meyrat, Head of Regional Delegation for East Asia, ICRC, 10 April 2012; and “Landmines continue to kill in Yunnan Province,” Global Times, 16 May 2011.

[4] Interview with Li Tao, Deputy Chair, Disabled Persons Federation of Malipo, in Global Times, 19 May 2011. These figures only include injured civilians.

[5] Interviews with the directors of Guangxi Provincial Hospital, Nanning; Jingxi County Hospital, Jingxi; Shuo Long Township Hospital, Daxin; and Yue Xu Township Hospital, Jingxi, 8–10 February 2001; and with Chinese Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan, 5 February 2001.

[6]Landmines haunt Chinese border village,” China Daily, 13 January 2011; email from Nie Jing, Representative, CDPF, 11 March 2011; and Li Huizi and Li Yun, “Chinese soldiers nearly done with landmine sweeping on the Sino-Vietnam border,” Xinhua (Beijing), 31 December 2008.

[7]Landmines continue to kill in Yunnan Province,” Global Times, 16 May 2011.

[8] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, Mozambique, 26 June 2014 (delivered 27 June 2014).

[9] US State Department, “Human Rights Report 2015: China,” 13 April 2016, Washington, DC.

[10] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 380.

[11] Ibid., p. 378; and email from Andrew Gardiner, Senior Livelihood Advisor, ICRC, 3 November 2016; Red Cross Society of China, “ICRC livelihood project documentary,” 29 July 2016.