[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
China arms sales 'fuel conflicts'
Chinese military truck carrying a Dongfeng long-range missile (file)
China is an increasingly important arms producer
The human rights organisation Amnesty International has accused China of being one of the world's most secretive and irresponsible arms exporters.

It says Chinese weapons helped fuel conflicts in Sudan, Burma and Nepal.

Amnesty urged China to stop exports that could be used for human rights violations, and to publish information on its arms exports.

China rejected the accusations, insisting it had strict safeguards to prevent any unethical sales of weapons.

Amnesty challenged these safeguards in its report.

"China describes its approach to arms export licensing as 'cautious and responsible', yet the reality couldn't be further from the truth," the author's report, Helen Hughes, said in a statement.

We're calling for China to enact commitments banning all arms transfers where they are likely to be used for human rights violations
Helen Hughes

Amnesty International

"China is the only major arms exporting power that has not signed up to any multilateral agreements with criteria to prevent arms exports likely to be used for serious human rights violations."

The report alleges that in 2005, Beijing shipped 200 Chinese military trucks to Sudan and that it is supplying the ruling military junta in Burma with weapons.

China rarely comments on its arms exports, though it is one of the junta's few firm allies.

The report also accuses China of selling rifles and grenades to Nepal's security forces at a time when there was a mass uprising against the monarchy by civilians.

Transparency

The report says China exports more than $1bn worth of weapons a year, often exchanging arms for raw materials needed to fuel its economy.

Amnesty urges China to change its current practices to be more transparent and to support the international initiative for an arms trade treaty.

"We're calling for China to enact into law and uphold commitments... banning all arms transfers where they are likely to be used for human rights violations," Ms Hughes said.

China has long said it had a careful approach to weapons sales, only issuing licences after examining each application individually.

The focus on its arms exports comes amid US concerns that China's military spending is growing much more quickly than it officially acknowledges.

China has also been actively campaigning the European Union to lift its ban on weapons sales to China, imposed following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.




RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific