Statement by Ambassador HU Xiaodi Head of the Chinese Delegation At the Meeting of Experts to The Biological Weapons Convention
At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the 2005 Meetings of Experts and States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (hereinafter referred to as the Convention). I believe that your rich experience in diplomatic affairs will lead this meeting to a positive outcome. The Chinese delegation will fully cooperate with you and other delegations. I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to express my appreciation to your predecessor, Mr. Peter Goosen for the outstanding efforts he has made.
As part and parcel of international disarmament, arms control system and global collective security architecture centered on the United Nations, the Convention has played a critical and positive role in the complete prohibition, thorough destruction and non-proliferation of biological weapon. The Meetings of Experts and States Parties are useful endeavors and important venue for strengthening the effectiveness of the Convention. In the past two years, the States Parties held in-depth discussions and benefited from exchanging experiences among themselves. China believes that the exchanges will contribute to the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Convention.
We will discuss the code of conduct of scientists in this meeting. In a broad sense, the code of conduct is the joint social responsibility and strict criterion of conduct of the scientific community and the integration of scientific and humanistic spirits. The great scientist, Albert Einstein once said, “It is the work qualities of its leading personalities that are perhaps of even greater significance for a generation and for the course of history than purely intellectual accomplishments.” This sentence is of practical significance in the biological field. In recent years, scientists from various countries have promoted tremendous developments of biological and life science and technology through hard work. The developments bring enormous advantage to people’s daily life and work and make critical contribution to the prosperity of the society. However, due to the inherent characteristics of bioscience, some accomplishments, if abused or misused, could be used for research, development and production of biological weapons that could cause catastrophe to the humankind. Hence, the international community and bioscience community care more and more about the responsibility and obligation of biological scientists in eliminating biological weapons threat, safeguarding world peace, security and stability. They also actively discuss the measures that could regulate and promote the conduct of scientists.
In China’s view, just like other scientific disciplines, the integral objective and primary task of bioscience is to benefit human society and conducive to a harmonious and sustainable development between human and society and between human and nature. Curiosity must give way to responsibility. Seeking for reality is the means, while seeking for goodness is the ends. Scientists should firmly oppose the research, production and use of biological weapons, and should not participate in and assist such activities. They also have the responsibility to prevent and stop research and production which may jeopardize the humankind.
The Chinese Government, scientific community and educational community attach great importance to the issue of code of conduct of scientists and take a series of measures to prevent scientific accomplishments from being abused or misused to the purposes and activities contrary to the Convention.
At the state level, the Chinese Government promulgated, in December 2001, the Amendment III to the Criminal Law, which clearly provides that any illegal manufacturing, transporting, storing or using toxic substances or infectious pathogens constitutes a crime and shall be punished. In October 2002, the Chinese Government promulgated the Regulation on Export Control of Dual-Use Biological Agents and Related Equipment and Technologies, carrying our strict controls over the exports and exchange of dual-use biological agents and related equipment and technologies with foreign countries to prevent relevant activities from being used for biological weapons purposes. The above-mentioned laws and regulations provide a solid legal basis in regulating the public, including the scientific personnel’s conduct.
In the scientific community, China Academy of Science (CAS) passed the Guideline of Self-Discipline on Scientific Ethics of Academician in November 2001. This Guideline points out that all the academician should scrupulously abide by scientific ethics, always put the interests of the nation, people and humankind on primacy and make science to serve the human civilization, peace and progress. In order to help and advance scientists and researchers to comply with this kind of guideline, Chinese scientific community also set up relevant monitoring mechanisms. China Association of Science and Technology (CAST) and CAS have ethics committees which are responsible for dealing with conduct and personal integrity issues of scientists.
In the educational community, Chinese main universities constitute ethics regulations on teachers, which aim to enhance teachers’ consciousness on scientific morality and social responsibility. Educational branches also published books related to the social obligations of science, which quote viewpoints and articles of some famous scientists on the scientists’ social responsibility to instruct and foster students’ awareness of their social obligations.
Our delegates from bioscience community will introduce the practices and experiences of China of framing and implementing code of conduct during this meeting. They will also communicate and learn from each other with scientists from other States Parties to discuss the contents and scopes on code of conduct.
The profound changes in the international situation and the fast development of biotechnology have brought greater opportunities and challenges to the Convention than ever before. The great French author Francois Rabelais once cautioned: “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.” It is the common task of all States Parties to turn challenges into opportunities and make all the developments of biotechnology to contribute to the peace and improvement of mankind. China, together with other parties, is ready to make unremitting efforts in realizing this purpose.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.