A Nuclear Free World and the Lives of Chinese Women

 

 

 

Chen Huaifan

- Deputy Secretary-General

Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament -

 

 

Dear Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

I feel much honored to be able to speak before the distinguished audience. I would like first to thank the sponsors and organizers of the Conference, the Korea Foundation for Women, GPPAC and all the women’s organizations of the Republic of Korea. I am speaking here in the capacity of myself, as it is not realistic to say I am representing all the Chinese women and it is just impossible. Out of my limited knowledge, I would like to share my views upon a nuclear free world and the lives of the Chinese women.

 

 

As one of the main purpose of this conference is to commemorate the 1stanniversary of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, I would like to start by expressing my deep condolence to those who left us forever in the disasters a year ago in Japan. At this time last year, the Chinese people were feeling the pains of the Japanese people, shedding tears over the lost lives, respecting the huge courage demonstrated by the Japanese people, and trying our best to provide any help we could. In those days, many friends around me would admire the Japanese people, particularly Japanese women fortheir tenaciousness and their dignityin tackling difficulties when facing the huge disaster and tragedy. I hope through this conference, we women from the Northeast Asian region as well as friends from other regions could explore some ideas or ways to avoid disasters and reduce the aftermath of disasters if it can not be prevented.

Regarding the Chinese women’s perspective on a nuclear free world, first please allow me to mention a little bit about views of the Chinese people including the Chinese women on the world as a whole.

 

 

I. The vision about a harmonious world

When talking about a harmonious world, we have to say a few words about the traditional Chinese culture. I think many countries in Northeast Asia also share some of the values as our cultures altogether constitute the oriental culture. If I am asked to summarize the nature of the Chinese culture with one wordI would say that it is the word "Peace".

 

 

Peace and harmony are the soul of the Chinese culture and the spiritual pursuit of the Chinese people for thousands of years. The Chinese traditional culture has three theoretical pillars, i. e. Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, which all regard peace as their core values. Confucianism values "Unity of heaven and mankind" , Buddhism advocates "Finding one’s true self by cultivating one’s pure heart" , and Taoism emphasizes " Obeying the laws of nature"The three theories all seek harmony between human-beings and the nature, the society, the family and human-beings themselves. This covers harmony in the world, the country, the society, the family and one’s own being. Just as an old Chinese saying goes: If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in nations. If there is to be peace in nations, there must be peace in cities. If there is to be peace in cities, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.

 

From the world level, the Chinese advocate the building of a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity. What is this world like? A harmonious world should be a world ruled by law, respecting the norms and principles of the UN Charter, abiding by the international law and norms of international relations. A harmonious world should be a peaceful world, a world advocating peace, harmony and cooperation, where people can enjoy peace and development. A harmonious world should be an accommodating world, recognizing and respecting the diversity and difference of the world.

 

 

In a harmonious world, in terms of politics, countries should respect each other, advocate multilateralism, oppose unilateralism, and promote the democratization of international relations. In terms of economy, countries should cooperate with each other to share complementary advantages, making joint efforts to push the economy advance towards a balanced, universal and prosperous development for all. In terms of culture, countries should respect and learn from each other, seeking common grounds while reserving differences, in a bid to promoting progress of human civilizations on the basis of respecting diversity. In terms of security, countries should enhance mutual trust and cooperation, solving internationaldisputes through peaceful means, making joint efforts to maintain world peace and stability. In terms of environmental protection, countries should help each other and pool their efforts to take care of the homeland of the human beings. To realize this goal, China has chosen a path of peaceful development, seeking harmony and development inside China, while pursuing peace and cooperation in the world.

 

 

II. The vision of a nuclear weapon free world.

 

 

Generally speaking, when we talk about a nuclear free world, we refer to a nuclear weapon free world. To eliminate nuclear weapons from the world requires a peaceful and harmonious world environment, so in this regard, the effort to build a harmonious world itself greatly contribute to the endeavor to build a nuclear weapon free world.

 

 

The Chinese people including women started our efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons from the first day we processed nuclear weapons. China developed nuclear weapons not for using or for keeping it eternally, but for deterring nuclear blackmail. In the early 1950s, the new China were faced with nuclear blackmails first from the USand then the former Soviet Union. The US once declared for many times that nuclear weapons were military tools to deal with China. China has always held the position that it developing nuclear weapons not for the purpose to use or threaten to use them, as using nuclear weapons could not solve any problems. Based on the nuclear strategy of self-defense, China holds the following views on nuclear weapons:

 

 

1. Complete prohibition and through destruction of nuclear weapons by all nuclear states. All the nuclear-weapon states should faithfully fulfill the obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and publicly pledge not to seek permanent possession of nuclear weapons. Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should continue to take the lead in reducing nuclear weapons drastically and substantively. Other nuclear-weapon states should also join the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament when conditions are ripe. To achieve the ultimate goal of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament, the international community should develop, at an appropriate time, a viable long-term plan composed of phased actions, including the conclusion of a convention on the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. Among the five nuclear states, China is the only country who supports concluding such a convention.

 

 

2. All nuclear-weapon states should make clear commitment of unconditionally not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and conclude a legally-binding international instrument in this regard. At the same time, nuclear-weapon states should enter into a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons against one another through negotiations. China has for long made such commitments, which means that China’s nuclear weapons will not constitute a threat to non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear weapons free zones. The non-first use policy means that China’s nuclear weapons will not exert any threat to nuclear states as long as the latter will not launch the first strike against China. China is the only country among the five who has committed itself no-first-use of its nuclear weapons against other nuclear states.

 

 

3. China has been making efforts to push the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. China is a member of the NPT and has signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has joined the multilateral mechanisms. Chinaholds the view that the CTBT should be brought into force at an early date and negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty should start as soon as possible.

 

 

For years, the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament has been working with our counterparts to push forward the efforts for the construction of a nuclear weapon free world. We have run workshops and seminars on this topic with the participation of scientists, scholars, government officials from different countries and has published books and articles on this issue.

 

 

III. Some ideas on the peaceful use of nuclear technology

Can we realize a world free of nuclear? In addition to eliminating nuclear weapons, shall we get rid of all equipments related to nuclear technology? It is a wonderful idea, however, in a near term, I am afraid that’s not realistic. Nuclear technology itself is a great invention of mankind. Technology itself is not evil neither nuclear weapons which were developed under certain historical circumstances. What we should guard against is the motive of some countries to use nuclear weapons, and the role of nuclear weapons in their security strategies. To foster a safe international environment, reduce the role of nuclear weapons, prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and prevent nuclear terrorism are the work requires our attention.

 

 

Be a great invention, nuclear technology should benefit the mankind, as people of different countries are entitled to peaceful use of nuclear technology. The human-beings have the talents to invent nuclear technology, they should have the talent to control it, ensuring its safe and effective use for peaceful purpose, though peaceful use should not be used as an excuse to seek nuclear weapons. In addition to the application to medical and industry, nuclear technology is mostly used in the area of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is clean energy, which plays an important role in responding to climate change, ensuring energy security and promoting development of economic and social development of the countries in the world. However, the nuclear disaster of the Fukushimanuclear reactors has again sounded the alarms for us. Nuclear energy can be regarded as clean energy only when nuclear safety is guaranteed. We need to ensure safe use of nuclear technology related to nuclear reactors and nuclear & radioactive materials, and also ensure the nuclear security, taking measures to prevent nuclear terrorism. Here I would like to make the following proposals.

 

 

1. To enhance nuclear security by enhancing the international legal instruments. The Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (ACPPNM) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Nuclear Terrorism Convention) are two major international legal instruments . Efforts should be made to fully implement the instruments and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, effectively fight illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, and prevent non-state actors from obtaining such materials. All countries should honor national commitments and responsibilities by paying more attention to the issue of nuclear security, fulfilling relevant international obligations, and reinforcing domestic legislation and regulatory control.

 

 

2. To increase input to technological innovation on nuclear safety & security, and promote information sharing & cooperation. Technology here refers to technologies on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, with an aim to enhancing safety of nuclear reactors, as well as technology to keep nuclear and radioactive materials and nuclear wastes safely and effectively. The current bilateral and multilateral platforms such as the IAEA should be used to promote technological exchanges and cooperation. Support and assistance should be provided to the developing countries.

 

 

3. To speed up research and development on alternatives to nuclear energy. Nuclear energy has a role to play to replace fossil energy to fight climate change and for sustainable development. The existence of nuclear risks makes it not the ideal energy. While increasing efforts to enhance nuclear safety, we also need to seek alternatives to nuclear energy, such as wind and solar energy. Meanwhile, energy efficiency and energy conservation should be promoted. Countries who take the initiative to give up nuclear energy by increasing green energy should be encouraged and their experiences shared. More support and cooperation are needed from different levels, either international or national. NGOs can also play a positive role in this regard.

 

 

4. To enhance supervision on nuclear security. To supervise the law enforcement from the international and national level, the IAEA has a role to play, the governments have a role to play, the relevant institutions including the enterprises has a role to play, the people in each country also has a role to play. All parties should take the responsibility to monitor the safety of nuclear reactors and nuclear equipments to provide safe nuclear energy to the society. Capacity building on the nuclear security is required and necessary measures and training need to be followed.

 

 

IV. A few points on the vision of a harmonious society

 

 

To build a harmonious world we need to find a path to build such a world, the path is peaceful development. Inside China, the Chinese people are making their effort to build a harmonious society through peaceful development. What is a harmonious society? A harmonious society will feature democracy, the rule of law, equity, justice, sincerity, amity and vitality. Such a society will give full scope to people's talent and creativity, enable all the people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development, and forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government. These things will result in lasting stability and unity.

 

 

What is the role of Chinese women in this cause?

1. From the social level, the active participation of the Chinese women in economical, political and social endeavors have contributed to the building of a harmonious society. The stability of a society is based on the overall development. Without economic progress, the basic living necessity of people can not be guaranteed. Lack of recourses of survival, lack of hopes, and lack of sense of safety could become factors of instability of a society. Women’s contribution should not be underestimated in the overall progress of China’s economy. In 2008 women make up 45.4 percent of the workforce as a whole and over 65 percent in rural areas.

 

 

2. From the community level, women’s efforts were made to foster a healthy culture within the community and family. The following is how our ancestors perceive the importance of a harmonious living environment: "The first spring thunder wakes up the hibernant worms, the timely rainfall raises wood and grass, and a harmonious living place ensure good health and peaceful moods."(Lv’s Spring and Autumn Annuals?Early Spring)

 

 

Many women working in communities, and are engaged building the following Types of community: the learning style, the self-governing style, the digital style, the ecological style and the serving style. People living in these communities are to be mutual supporting, to offer help to the vulnerable, to be civilized and healthy, to respect science rather than superstition and etc.. Now the idea of ecologic protection has been introduced to community building.

 

 

3. From the family level, women have taken up the responsibility of taking care of the senior and providing family education and guidance to the younger generation. A healthy and civilized family can promote the free, equal, healthy and comprehensive development of all family members, especially the children. Women are taking the central role in fostering a healthy family culture and teaching moral ethics to the children. The fine virtues: e.g. the senior should be respected, and the young be well cared, men and women be equal, harmony between husband and wife, be industrious and thrifty in running the household, be in good terms with the neighbors, and so on.

 

 

The Chinese women have been active in world and domestic affairs, and have made tremendous progress in different aspects. We also need to tackle similar problems just as sisters from other countries in the world. I hope to have more opportunities to share our experiences and problems, and I think this conference has provided a wonderful platform. Thank you!

 

 

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