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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China declassifies first diplomatic files

PLA Daily 2004-01-20

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- China has declassified its first batch of diplomatic files after the founding of new China in 1949, including manuscripts of Premier Zhou Enlai, said an official with the Chinese Foreign Ministry here Monday.

The first 10,000 items opened to the public were mainly on China's diplomacy between 1949 and 1955, said Zhang Sulin, an official with the ministry's archives.

The declassified documents showcased the formation of China's diplomatic relations, such as telegraphs on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Soviet Union and East European countries, directives and speeches drafted by Premier Zhou, then also foreign minister, documents on Geneva and Asia-Africa conferences, and files and materials on consular, protocol and legal affairs, Zhang said.

According to China's Archives Law and relevant regulations, historical files should be open to the public 30 years after formation.

"Archives should serve the state interests and the public," said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

All interested in the files, including Chinese citizens and organizations and individuals and organizations from overseas, must first apply to the Foreign Ministry's Archives some 20 work days in advance, Zhang said.

The archive has already received more than 30 calls and e-mails after the announcement, mostly from scholars and journalists."There is even a high school student from central China's Wuhan City," Zhang said.

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