All nuclear powers targeted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 September, 1995, 12:00am

ANTI-NUCLEAR groups have compromised on whether to target China in a petition against nuclear testing, instead agreeing to hand in the signatures to all five nuclear powers.

Members of Anti-Nuclear Action, led by restaurateur Michelle Garnaut and comprising World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Green Power, Friends of the Earth, the Conservancy Association and the Reverend Fung Chi-wood, launched their 'millions say no' petition yesterday.

'Join the Hong Kong people who say 'no' to French nuclear testing in the Pacific, and 'no' to the continuing testing in China and the rest of the world,' reads the petition, which will be on the streets from now until December 31.

Green groups have said they do not plan protests against Chinese testing as they feared Hong Kong people would not get involved and such moves. They would be doomed to fail.

The petition would be handed in to the consulates of France, Russia, the United States, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) and the Hong Kong Government, and sent to the United Nations' Committee on Disarmament, Ms Garnaut said. The number of signatures would also be added to an international petition organised by Greenpeace, which had approved the Hong Kong petition.

'It's not a group just against nuclear testing, it's against all nuclear action,' said Ms Garnaut. The US and Britain had both spent billions on nuclear weapons last year. 'I don't see a discrepancy with it, it will be sent to Xinhua. We all felt comfortable that this was the right decision.' But Mr Fung Chi-wood had been worried that China's name would be left out. 'Somebody did want to avoid direct confrontation with China. My way was to hand it to the French Embassy and Xinhua [only]. But I think the present arrangement is acceptable,' he said.

The WWF conservation officer, Ken Chu, said: 'Some people may like to target specific countries but I think we would like the widest support.

'At the beginning we took the line that we should not target any countries. Somebody raised the question of whether the number of signatures would not be so many if we targeted China, but we decided to stick with our initial line and that such a question should not be further explored.'