The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction (BWC) entered into force in March 1975 and now it has 164 states parties. China ratified the BWC on 15 November 1984. The BWC has played an irreplaceable role in prohibition and destruction of the biological weapons and non-proliferation of such weapons.
China has always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, including biological weapons. It attaches great importance to the positive role of the BWC in maintaining world peace and security and supports its purposes and objectives.
1. National Implementation of BWC
China has all along implemented all its obligations under the BWC in an earnest manner. China has enacted and strictly enforced the relevant laws and regulations to ensure the effective implementation of the BWC. In December 2001, the Standing Committee of National People's Congress enacted Amendment No.3 to The Criminal Law of the P.R.C., which stipulates that any illegal manufacturing, trade, transportation, storage or release of toxic substances or infectious pathogens constitutes a crime against public security and shall be penalized.
China continuously strengthens its BWC implementation system. Now China has built up a national implementation mechanism consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Commerce, the General Custom and other relevant governmental agencies. Each department has its clear responsibility and works cooperatively with each other within the mechanism to make sure the fulfillment of related laws and regulations.
China resolutely opposes the proliferation of biological weapons and related technology. It has consistently tightened controls over the export of dual-use biological products and technologies. In December 2002, China promulgated and implemented Regulations on Export Control of Dual-Use Biological Agents and Related Equipment and Technologies and an export control list. In July 2006, the export control list has been revised and supplemented.
China attaches great importance to biosafety and biosecurity and implements strict control according to its laws and regulations.
A national system for surveillance and control of epidemics has been established in China, which has raised China's public health management level and strengthened its capability on prevention and control of the outbreak of diseases. China also pays attention to awareness raising on biosafety and professional ethics for personnel engaged in research and teaching on biological science and technology.
In accordance with the decision adopted by the Second Review Conference of BWC, since 1988, China has submitted its confidence-building measures in a timely manner.
China also takes an active part in the international exchanges and cooperation in the biological field and keeps contacts and exchanges with multinational export control regimes such as the Australia Group.
2. Actively Participating in Multilateral Process of Strengthening the Effectiveness of BWC
China has all along supported the multilateral process aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the BWC. China actively participated in the negotiations on the draft protocol to the BWC and regretted that the negotiations failed to conclude successfully.
The Sixth Review Conference of BWC held in 2006 reached a comprehensive and balanced Final Document, which laid a solid foundation for further discussion on important issues such as national implementation, biosafety and biosecurity and biological non-proliferation. All state parties should work together to strengthen the universality of the BWC, facilitate the comprehensive implementation of the BWC, and explore practical measures to promote the effectiveness of the BWC within the multilateral framework.
China supports the working program adopted by the Sixth Review Conference of the BWC. China has actively participated in the Meeting of Experts and Meeting of States Parties held respectively in 2007, 2008,2009 and 2010, and made proposals on many issues such as national implementation measures, cooperation on implementation at regional level, biosafety and biosecurity, capacity building and international cooperation in the field of disease surveillance and international assistance and coordination in case of alleged use of biological and toxin weapons, etc.
From 4 to 6 November 2010,Workshop on Strengthening International Efforts to Prevent the Proliferation of Biological Weapons: The Role of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention co-hosted by China, Canada, and the Implementation Support Unit of the Convention was held in Beijing. Eighty-four representatives from thirty-two States Parties and nine international and specialist organizations participated. The workshop was held to encourage open discussion, build up consensus and contribute to the success of the Seventh Review Conference. A lot of important topics related to the Seventh Review Conference were discussed during the workshop, such as science and technology, international cooperation, intersessional process, the Implementation Support Unit, perspective and outcome of the Seventh Review Conference and so on. The Co-chairs drafted a summary of the discussions.