The Five Principles of Peace

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove


China Premier Zhou Enlai arrives at the Bandung Conference
in Indonesia (1955) to announce the Five Principles of Peace.

Zhou-Enlai-Arrival-Bandung-color

The Five Principles of Peace were first written by Zhou Enlai on December 31, 1953. The Principles are:

1) Mutual respect for each nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty

2) Mutual non-aggression

3) Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs

4) Equality and mutual benefit

5) Peaceful co-existence

I reread these peace principles this year in my travels in Indonesia when in Bandung, arriving just after the 2015 Afro-Asian Conference finished with airport and street banners banners of heroic political leaders of peace such as Sukarno, Nehru, Nasser, Mandela and Zhou Enlai.

The 1955 first Bandung Conference is celebrated – although today’s leaders are pale imitations. On April 18 to 24, 1955, twenty-nine representatives of nations from Africa and Asia met to promote African and Asian economic coalitions and decolonization. The Conference lead by President Sukarno expressly declared its opposition to both colonialism and neocolonialism not only by the European powers then in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but also by the United States and the Soviet Union.

The conference supported decolonization and vowed to take a middle ground in the ongoing Cold War. They also pledged support for those nations still colonized by the Western states such as France in Africa.

Conference delegates adopted a 10-point program that called for, among other things, settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, and recognition of the equality of all races and the equality of all nations large and small. The program also called for non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations and repudiated acts or threats of force against other nations. Many western powers, including especially the United States, were wary of this development.

Zhou Enlai was strongly supported in explaining his 5 Peace principles establishing China to play a significant role in world affairs of the time.

In the Indonesian 2015 Tempo magazine in Bandung were interesting historical stories and photos of the conference. One story is how Zhou escaped Taiwan/US intelligence bombing of his plane by taking another plane.

The Bandung Conference inspired the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.

IPAN logo light outline

Australian governments then and now however expressed strong support for the colonialisers and imperialists. The Bandung Conference history in our nearest neighbor is not known here or supported. Australia is instead war mongering, keen to be active in US war zones in Vietnam, in Iraq and now Syria and with the US military based in Darwin for containment of China, eg South China sea tensions. http://chriswhiteonline.org/2013/07/peace-or-war-with-china-darwin-ipanbasewatch-meetings/

Peace groups can put public pressure to be able to more readily promote the 5 principles in all disputes.

“These words were written at a time when people everywhere were weary of decades of world war, civil war, invasion and occupation. Major cities around the world lay in ruins, re-building from conflict; millions of refugees sought new homes. Hunger, poverty and sickness cut down the young. The flower of an entire generation had been sacrificed, and more war loomed. Billions of people sought encouragement.
They asked — could there be an end to the violence and destruction?
Zhou Enlai’s simple answer was — there are some fundamentals that we can agree upon, among the nations of the world. He acknowledged — we have profound differences in ideology, economics, social policy, in our religious, cultural and racial identities. He drafted the Five Principles, and found a ready audience.
Peace Convergence banner
He stated: “If these principles were applied not only between various countries but also in international relations generally, they would form a solid foundation for peace and security, and the fears and apprehensions that exist today would give place to a feeling of confidence…”
On April 29 1954, the Principles were published for the first time, as part of the introduction to a trade and communications agreement regarding Tibet, between the People’s Republic of China and India. This treaty was later adopted and registered by the United Nations.

The Five Principles were published and discussed at many more events — in Delhi, Bandung, Geneva and Cairo. They were ultimately signed and ratified by 57 countries, members of the Non-Aligned Movement, and have been incorporated in the charter of the World Trade Organization.
The five principles were distilled from most fundamental ideas of international affairs, and are drawn from the Covenants of the League of Nations, the Brand-Kellogg Treaty, and the United Nations Charter. They are also based on traditional principles of Chinese philosophy, which date back nearly 2600 years to Lao-Tse and Confucius.
The contribution of Zhou Enlai was to identify these principles, simplify them into five brilliant points, then to harmonize and explain them. And he persuaded many governments and public institutions to accept them.
The importance of observing the Five Principles today is amplified by several complex world events — including the disbanding of the Soviet Union, the growth of multilateralism, the increasing participation of business, the private sector and non-profit organizations in international affairs, the practice of international law, the spread of globalization, the role of the United States as a military, economic and social peacekeeper, and the re-emergence of China as a world power.

Today, 60 years after they were first written, the Five Principles of Peace are more important than ever — to understand, study, extend and practice.
The Principles can be extended from the political sphere to the personal and psychological; to the family, the community, to each nation. Wherever people perceive, care and interact, the Five Principles can help to establish basic standards that will make our hearts, our lives, our relationships, our businesses, cities and nations more peaceful.
The world is weary of war, and is finally ready for profound, lasting change.
This is the purpose of the Celebration of the Five Principles of Peace, to be hosted at the National People’s Congress in Beijing on October 20, 2013.

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

Comments are closed.