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China Gets the Bomb, 1964

The Atomic Bomb, Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China, October 16, 1964

China exploded an atomic bomb at 15:00 hours on October 16, 1964, thereby successfully carrying out its first nuclear test. This is a major achievement of the Chinese people in their struggle to strengthen their national defence and oppose the U.S. imperialist policy of nuclear blackmail and nuclear threats.

To defend oneself is the inalienable right of every sovereign state. To safeguard world peace is the common task of all peace-loving countries. China cannot remain idle in the face of the ever increasing nuclear threats from the United States. China is conducting nuclear tests and developing nuclear weapons under compulsion.

The Chinese Government has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. If this had been achieved, China need not have developed nuclear weapons. But our proposal has met with stubborn resistance from the U.S. imperialists. The Chinese Government pointed out long ago that the treaty on the partial halting of nuclear tests signed in Moscow in July 1963 by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union was a big fraud to fool the people of the world, that it was an attempt to consolidate the nuclear monopoly of the three nuclear powers and tie the hands of all peace-loving countries, and that it had increased, and not decreased, the nuclear threat of U.S. imperialism against the people of China and of the whole world. . . .

The atomic bomb is a paper tiger. This famous statement by Chairman Mao Tse-tung is known to all. This was our view in the past and this is still our view at present. China is developing nuclear weapons not because it believes in their omnipotence nor because it plans to use them. Oil the contrary, in developing nuclear weapons, China's aim is to break the nuclear monopoly of the nuclear powers and to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The Chinese Government is loyal to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. We believe in the people. It is the people, and not any weapons, that decide the outcome of a war. The destiny of China is decided by the Chinese people, while the destiny of the world is decided by the people of the world, and not by nuclear weapons. China is developing nuclear weapons for defence and for protecting the Chinese people from U.S. threats to launch a nuclear war.

The Chinese Government hereby solemnly declares that China will never at any time or under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons. . . .

The Chinese Government will, as always, exert every effort to promote, through international consultations, the realization of the lofty aim of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. Until that day comes, the Chinese Government and people will firmly and unswervingly follow their own path to strengthen their national defence, defend their motherland and safeguard world peace.

We are convinced that man, who creates nuclear weapons, will certainly be able to eliminate them.


from Break the Nuclear Monopoly, Eliminate Nuclear Weapons (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 1-5.

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.

© Paul Halsall, July 1998

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