Practice Relating to Rule 81. Restrictions on the Use of Landmines
Upon signature of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, China stated:
The Protocol [to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices fails to lay down strict restrictions on the use of such weapons by the aggressor on the territory of his victim and to provide adequately for the right of a state victim of an aggressor to defend itself by all necessary means.
In 1993, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, China stated that it “understood the desire to avoid the killing of civilians by land mines, but oversimplified measures limited to halting the export of those weapons could not solve the problem”.
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, China declared:
[T]he word “primarily” is included in article 2, paragraph 3 of the amended Protocol to clarify that mines designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person, that are equipped with anti-handling devices are not considered anti-personnel mines as a result of being so equipped.
At the Second Session of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1996, China expressed its concern about the suffering of and casualties among civilians caused by the “irresponsible use of landmines, especially anti-personnel landmines”. It added:
China has made enormous efforts on a series of important issues such as the scope of application, technical specifications on the detectability, self-destruction and self-deactivation of landmines and transfer of landmines.
China further announced:
Pending the entry-into-force of the Amended Protocol, it will implement a moratorium on its export of anti-personnel landmines which do not meet the technical specifications on detectability, self-destruction and self-deactivation as provided for by the Protocol.
At the Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 2001, the representative of China declared:
His country, a party to the Convention and all its protocols, faithfully discharged its obligations under them. His Government had launched a number of education campaigns concerning the Convention … Furthermore, the Government had amended domestic law in order to guarantee the enforcement of the Convention.
In 2004, in a position paper submitted to the UN General Assembly, China stated:
China understands and attaches importance to the humanitarian concerns of the international community over indiscriminate injuries to innocent civilians caused by landmines. It has always supported and taken an active part in international efforts to solve the problem. As a State Party to the amended Landmine Protocol to the [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons], China has strictly honored its commitments and vigorously participated in international de-mining assistance.
In 2005, in a working paper relating to mines other than anti-personnel mines (MOTAPM), China proposed:
37. All feasible precautions shall be taken to protect civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects from the hazard posed by MOTAPM.
38. To the extent feasible, appropriate provisions shall be adopted aimed at the establishment of an effective and efficient system of warnings to civilians and mine risk education on the threat of MOTAPM.
With regard to fuse design and sensors, China proposed:
44. To determine basic categories of fuzes and adopt Best Practices on fuze mechanisms so as to increase the discriminatory capacity of MOTAPM to the greatest extent and to prevent them from being actuated by the presence, proximity or contact of a person.
45. All MOTAPM shall incorporate, to the extent feasible, multi-sensor fuzes technology in order to reduce the possibility of inadvertent or accidental activation. If a single fuze or sensor fulfills the safety requirements of the Best Practices referred to in the previous paragraph, the incorporation of multi-sensor fuzes shall be discretionary.
46. The influence of environmental factors – particularly (i) of weather and climate as well as (ii) of storage, handling and other external conditions – shall be taken into account when selecting the types of fuzes and determining the sensitivity of fuzes.
47. Considerations and proposals of technical measures shall take into account operational, procurement as well as life cycle factors; they shall address clearly identified humanitarian issues.
48. Based on information and data provided by States Parties the following broadly available fuzes and sensors shall be considered as relevant: acoustic sensors, break wires, fiber-optic wires, infrared-sensors, magnetic sensors, pressure sensors, roller arms, scratch wire sensors, seismic/vibration sensors, tilt rods, trip wires.
49. The aforementioned broadly available fuzes and sensors shall be graded into the following categories:
(a) Category One: Fuzing systems that cannot be designed not to be excessively sensitive.
(b) Category Two: Fuzing systems that can be designed not to be excessively sensitive, but are best used in conjunction with other sensors, i.e. acoustic sensors, infrared-sensors, and seismic/vibration sensors.
(c) Category Three: Fuzing systems that can be designed not to be excessively sensitive and can be designed to operate satisfactorily on their own, i.e. fiber-optic wires, magnetic sensors, pressure sensors, roller arms and scratch wire sensors.
On anti-handling devices, China proposed:
52. MOTAPM with anti-handling devices (AHD) are a defensive weapon permissible according to international humanitarian law.
53. There is detailed stipulation in APII [the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] on the definition and use of AHD, which prohibits the use of a self-deactivating mine equipped with an AHD that is designed in such a manner that the AHD is capable of functioning after the mine has ceased to be capable of functioning. This is sufficient to address the humanitarian concerns caused by AHD and States Parties should strictly implement this stipulation.
In 2005, in a white paper on “China’s Endeavours for Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation”, China stated: “China supports appropriate and reasonable restrictions on the use of landmines, so as to prevent their indiscriminate use against civilians.”
In 2005, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, China stated:
China earnestly fulfills its obligations under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and has been dedicated to enhancing its effectiveness and universality. China has always been deeply concerned about civilian casualties caused by inappropriate use of landmines, in particular anti-personnel landmines (APL). China supports appropriate and reasonable restrictions on the use of landmines, and has strictly implemented the provisions of the Amended Protocol on Landmines [the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons].
In 2006, in a white paper on “China’s National Defence in 2006”, China stated:
China fully honors its obligations under the amended Landmine Protocol [the 1996 Amended Protocol II] to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] keeps its troops fully informed of China’s obligations, and has implemented the technical standards and limitations specified in the Protocol. It has carried out a general check of all the anti-personnel landmines that do not meet the standards of the Protocol, and has destroyed several hundred thousand old landmines in a planned way. China has made technical modifications to usable anti-infantry landmines in inventory to make them conform to the technical standards of the Protocol.
In 2007, at a conference in Phnom Penh on “Mine Action and Implications for Peace and Development”, China stated:
China attaches great importance to the humanitarian concerns caused by the indiscriminate use of landmines. As a State Party to the amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, China has always honored its obligations under the instrument.
In 2007, during a debate on conventional weapons in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, China stated:
China understands the humanitarian concerns caused by the indiscriminate use of anti-vehicle landmines. China is ready to work with other parties to explore effective ways to address the issue with a pragmatic and constructive attitude.