China

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 14 November 2023

Policy

The People’s Republic of China has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.   

China has stated that it agrees with “the vision and goals of the convention,” especially its humanitarian underpinnings.[1] In November 2020, China said that it appreciates “the convention's humanitarian spirit, and recognizes its purpose and objective, and acknowledges and attaches importance to its role.”[2] However, China has reiterated that it cannot consider acceding to the treaty due to its ongoing national defense needs.

China’s policy toward the Mine Ban Treaty and other humanitarian issues is regularly reviewed by its National Committee of International Humanitarian Law, an interministerial body chaired by the vice-premier that meets every two years.[3]

China did not participate in the Ottawa Process that created the Mine Ban Treaty. However, China has participated as an observer at all four of the treaty’s review conferences, as well as at many Meetings of States Parties and intersessional meetings. China’s last attendance was at the Eighteenth Meeting of States Parties held virtually in November 2020.

On 7 December 2022, China voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 77/63, calling for the universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. China has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution every year since 2005.

China is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. 

Production and transfer

China has been one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of antipersonnel mines.[4] Since 1997, China has limited its production to landmines with self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms that comply with CCW Amended Protocol II requirements.[5] In November 2016, a Ministry of National Defense official reiterated earlier statements that non-self-destructing mines are no longer manufactured by China.[6]

China enacted a moratorium on the export of landmines that do not comply with CCW Amended Protocol II in 1996. China is not known to have exported any type of antipersonnel mine during that time, but it has transferred antivehicle landmines. Chinese-made Type-84 122mm rocket-delivered antivehicle mines were used in Libya in 2011 and Syria in 2014.[7] 

Stockpiling and destruction

In 2014, China told the Monitor that it stockpiles five million antipersonnel landmines—a huge reduction from the 110 million previously cited by the Monitor.[8] It is unclear if that figure is still accurate, as China has provided no further information on the quantity or types possessed.

China has previously reported on the destruction of antipersonnel mines since the late 1990s, but with scant detail on the types and quantities destroyed.[9] In 2014, China stated that “several hundred thousand old and dysfunctional” antipersonnel mines had been destroyed from its stocks “over the last two decades,” and said that “a very limited number of [CCW] protocol compliant [antipersonnel mines] were kept for defense purpose[s].”[10]

China’s CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 transparency report provided in March 2022 did not report any further destruction of antipersonnel mines.[11] 

Use

In June 2014, Chinese representatives informed the Monitor that no new antipersonnel mines had been used in the country in the past decade, and acknowledged that antipersonnel landmines no longer played a prominent role in China’s defense doctrine.[12] Previously, in 2012, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed that no new minefields had been laid.[13] In 2011, a Chinese official noted that the country maintains a small number of minefields “for national defense.”[14]



[1] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 19 December 2017.

[2] Statement of China, Mine Ban Treaty Eighteenth Meeting of States Parties, held virtually, 19 November 2020.

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

[4] Two government-owned companies, China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) and Chinese State Arsenals, produced at least 22 types of antipersonnel landmines, including six copies of Soviet designs. See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 1999: Toward a Mine Free World(New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999), pp. 457–458.

[5] Interview with Shen Jian, Deputy Division Director, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beijing, 23 March 2006. This information has also been stated in China’s CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 reports. See, CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Database.

[6] Monitor interview with Sun Hui, Officer, Ministry of National Defense, in Santiago, Chile, 29 November 2016. Notes by the Monitor.

[7] In May 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and The New York Times confirmed the use of Chinese-produced Type 84 Model-A remotely-delivered antivehicle mines by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Misrata, Libya. The mines had 2009 manufacture date markings. HRW also verified the use of Type 72SP antivehicle mines near Ajdabiya and al-Qawalish by Gaddafi’s forces. See, HRW, “Landmines in Libya: Technical Briefing Note,” updated 19 July 2011; and Mark Hiznay, “Remotely Delivered Antivehicle Mines Spotted in Syria,” Landmine and Cluster Munition Blog, 25 April 2014.

[8] Monitor interview with Ji Haojun, Deputy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Col. Wu Gang, Policy Division, Ministry of National Defense, in Maputo, 24 June 2014. The previous estimate of 110 million was based on interviews with government officials involved in CCW Amended Protocol II negotiations in 1995 and 1996. Chinese officials have often disputed that estimate, but it wasn’t until June 2014 that Chinese representatives clarified to the Monitor, for the record, that the stockpile consisted of less than five million antipersonnel mines.

[9] Statement of China, Fifteenth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, Geneva, 13 November 2013.

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

[11] China CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 14 March 2022.

[12] Monitor interview with Ji Haojun, Deputy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Col. Wu Gang, Policy Division, Ministry of National Defense, in Maputo, 24 June 2014.

[13] Email from Lai Haiyang, Attaché, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 5 March 2012.

[14] Ibid., 7 September 2011.