By Zhong Sheng, People's Daily
China has decided to launch its domestic procedure to ratify the UN Firearms Protocol, announced the country at the general debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24.
The UN Firearms Protocol is one of the important protocols of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as an important international legal document regarding the control of small arms and light weapons.
China's decision fully indicated the country's firm determination to implement the Global Security Initiative and safeguard international and regional peace, and mirrored the country's sense of responsibility in safeguarding true multilateralism and commitment to enhancing global security governance.
The abuse of guns is becoming an increasingly serious problem across the world. Illegal manufacturing and smuggling of firearms has not only killed massive civilians, but also encouraged armed conflicts, terrorism and transnational organized crime. It directly concerns the social stability and safety of all countries.
African and Latin American countries, long troubled with the abuse of guns, are calling for the international community to enhance gun control.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres once said disarmament of conventional weapons could "save lives," and a substantial reduction in illicit financial arms flows is taken as a benchmark in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With a high sense of mission and responsibility, China has always put guns and explosives under strict control and has been cracking down on related crimes. The Chinese government addresses both the symptoms and root causes and implements multifaceted measures. It adopts a "zero tolerance" attitude toward crimes related to guns and explosives. Besides, the Chinese people also play an important role in eliminating the threats from guns and explosives.
Thanks to the country's ceaseless efforts, China has made remarkable achievements in gun control, becoming one of the safest countries in the world that sees the lowest rate of gun-related crimes.
China firmly opposes the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of guns and actively supports the multilateral process of the control of small arms and light weapons. The country always acts responsibly in arms exports. It fulfills international obligations and never sells its arms to non-state actors.
China faithfully follows the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.
It takes an active part in the activities combating illegal trafficking of guns launched by the World Customs Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization, and is providing assistance to the best of its capacity for Africa regarding the latter's "Silencing the Guns" initiative.
At present, the abuse of guns is still a serious problem troubling the world, and firearms control is in a critical "rise-or-fall" stage. Every country should clarify responsibilities, enhance domestic gun control and expand international coordination and cooperation.
For a long time, the U.S. has maintained the world's largest holder of privately owned firearms and been deeply troubled by domestic gun violence. It is also one of the largest sources of gun trafficking. The country refuses to join the UN Firearms Protocol or other international documents of firearms control and has withdrawn from the Arms Trade Treaty, which has seriously impacted the multilateral efforts made by the international society to control conventional weapons.
Due to the poor performance of the U.S. in gun control, numerous U.S.-made guns have been exported illegally and have triggered serious social problems in the neighboring countries of the U.S. International society is looking forward to responsible measures of the U.S. on gun control.
The dream of building a peaceful and safe world free from gun violence is shared by people around the world. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international society, China would like to use its domestic procedure to ratify the UN Firearms Protocol as an opportunity to work with other countries to achieve positive outcomes in international firearms control.
Countries that are hugely influential in global security should show their political will and take concrete actions, so as to make positive contributions to eliminating the abuse of guns.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)