Modern History Sourcebook:
China Gets the Bomb, 1964
The Atomic Bomb, Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China,
October 16, 1964China 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
Source:from Break the Nuclear Monopoly, Eliminate Nuclear Weapons (Peking: Foreign
Languages Press, 1965), pp. 1-5.
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© Paul Halsall, July 1998