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Statement by Mr. JIA Guide, Chinese Delegate, at the Sixth Committee of the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly, on Item 150: International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings

2004/10/21

New York, 21 October 2004

Mr. Chairman,

By Decision 58/523, the General Assembly decided at its 58th session to include in the agenda of its 59th session the item entitled International convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings. Three years of deliberations on this item by the GA have regrettably not produced any movement. Positions of all sides are now well known. The controversy revolves around the scope of the proposed convention, namely how to treat the question of therapeutic cloning.

Concerning this question, I'd like to reiterate the Chinese Government's unchanged position of opposing reproductive cloning and supporting therapeutic cloning. Reproductive cloning runs counter to the natural laws of human propagation. It debases the dignity of humanity as natural beings. It has serious moral, ethical, social and legal complications. Like many other countries, China has categorically banned reproductive cloning of human beings by law. Therapeutic cloning, on the other hand, is different in nature from reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning, unlike reproductive cloning, will not entail serious moral, ethical, social or legal complications. Under rigorous regulation, research in therapeutic cloning will not debase human dignity but rather possesses broad prospects and tremendous potential for saving human lives and improving mankind's health.

The Chinese delegation believes that there is already consensus on banning reproductive cloning of human beings; the next logical step is the early conclusion of an international convention against reproductive cloning. The Chinese delegation has taken part in the negotiations in good faith and in a pragmatic and consensus-seeking spirit. In the early stages, we favored a convention dealing only with the prohibition of reproductive cloning and leaving out the question of therapeutic cloning. In light of the concern expressed by numerous countries over the latter, we agreed to the separate consideration of ways of regulating therapeutic cloning after the conclusion of a convention against reproductive cloning. In the interest of effectively banning reproductive cloning of human beings, we are now prepared to go even one step further and withdraw our objection to the inclusion of appropriate provisions on ways of regulating therapeutic cloning in the convention against reproductive cloning of human beings. This represents a major concession by the Chinese delegation in an effort to achieve a positive outcome satisfactory to all on the issue.

We have taken this approach above all in the realization of the pressing urgency and the importance to all countries of banning reproductive cloning of human beings through international legislation. Moreover, we sympathize with some countries' concern that technologies and spin-offs of therapeutic cloning research risk being illegally applied to reproductive cloning. Additionally, we are doing this out of our understanding of and respect for the cultural, religious, ethical and moral specificities and customs and morals of other countries.

China's ancestors admonished us that we should live and let live, prosper and let prosper. They counseled against doing unto others what we don't want others to do unto us. There is a diversity of civilizations and cultures, which should show mutual understanding and respect. We appeal to all countries to honor the spirit of trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of civilizations and pursuit of development for all. We urge all sides to rise above their differences to produce an outcome satisfactory to all in this year's deliberations on the subject.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

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