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Statement by the Representative of the People's Republic of China Mr. Chen Xu at the Ad Hoc Committee on the Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings

2002/02/26

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. I wish you success in steering this meeting towards a successful conclusion. The Chinese delegation is prepared to cooperate closely with you and make contributions to this meeting.

Mr. Chairman,

With the rapid development of bio-technology, the question of cloning has attracted wide concern of the international community. In particular, with the successive cloning of animals such as sheep, cow and pig, there's a looming possibility of reproductive cloning of human beings. Therefore, there is an urgent need for legal regulations. We appreciate the efforts made by France and Germany, among others, on this question. As one of the co-sponsors, the Chinese government actively supports the early elaboration of the Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation is of the view that the rapid development of cloning technology opens up tremendous prospects for the improvement of health and medical welfare of mankind. Cloning technology holds great potential for medical science. Used properly, it will benefit mankind. However, if abused, in case of reproductive cloning of the human being, it will give rise to serious ethical, social, religious and legal problems. Regulating and guiding cloning technology through international legislation may bring into full play the positive role of technological progress for mankind, at the same time mitigate and even avoid its negative consequences.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to take this opportunity to state the principled position of the Chinese government. We firmly oppose reproductive cloning of human beings because it will pose great threat to the dignity of mankind. We are not in favor of nor do we support, permit or accept any experiments of human cloning. On the other hand, we are of the view that therapeutic cloning should be differentiated from reproductive cloning. Research on embryonic stem cells with the aim of curing and preventing illness is beneficial, therefore, it should be encouraged and supported. Moreover, research and application of cloning technology must abide by internationally recognized principles of bioethics and develop in an orderly way with strict review and effective monitoring.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese government and our scientific community are concerned with the development of cloning technology and the relevant bioethics implications. We have actively participated in the discussions on these questions held under the frameworks of relevant international organizations. The Chinese government is, at present, considering the formulation of specific regulations on the basis of the document banning the reproductive cloning of human beings. Chinese academic institutes are now undertaking the drafting of the Guidelines on Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

Mr. Chairman,

The ultimate goal of scientific and technologic development is to enhance the welfare of mankind. We cannot allow any practice which is contrary to human dignity. At the same time, we should not prohibit medical research and practices that may benefit mankind. Different countries have different domestic legislations on therapeutic cloning. We should respect the choices made by in light of their respective historical, cultural, philosophical and religious background.

The elaboration of an international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings has complicated political, legal, technological and ethical implications. In the process of elaborating convention, we should seriously consider the comprehensive evaluation made by scientists, experts of medicine and bioethics and of the possible consequences that cloning technology in progress may bring to mankind, so that we may make wise decisions in our legislative work.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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