Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on July 15, 2020
The video conference of foreign ministers of “China + Five Central Asian States” will be held on July 16 and will be chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
China and Central Asian countries are linked by mountains and rivers. Our friendly relations have lasted for thousands of years and our peoples enjoy a long history of friendship. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, China and Central Asian countries have supported and helped each other in times of difficulty and conducted effective cooperation in fighting COVID-19, which vividly illustrates our high-level strategic partnership. Against this special background, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have in-depth discussions with foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries on such topics as strengthening cooperation against COVID-19, promoting economic recovery, safeguarding regional security and enhancing international coordination. We believe that this meeting will contribute to China’s relations with the five Central Asian countries.
Global Times: US National Security Adviser O’Brien said the following in an article published by the Washington Post on July 13: “Under Marxism-Leninism, the self-proclaimed ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, individuals do not possess inherent value. People are merely a tool to achieve the ends of the collective nation-state”; “The details of the CCP’s anti-Uighur campaign are heartbreaking, but they reflect the Marxist-Leninist disdain for individual human beings”; “As long as these human rights violations continue, the Trump administration will respond.” What’s your comment?
Hua Chunying: O’Brien should really read up on Marxist-Leninist works. The people’s position is the fundamental political position of Marxist parties. People are the creators of history and the true driving force behind historical progress. This is the most basic concept in historical materialism. The CPC represents the fundamental interests of the vast majority of the Chinese people, seeks to advance their interests and serve them heart and soul. It is a party by the people and for the people. It puts people front and center in all its work. People’s interests are its guiding compass. That is why the CPC has maintained the satisfaction rate and support rate higher than 90 percent for many years. The CPC leadership has enabled China to grow into the world’s second biggest economy without resorting to warfare, colonialism or slavery, which is unprecedented in the past decades. The CPC puts people and lives first. In stark contrast, the US parties put selfish political gains and capital first. This has also enabled the Chinese people, led by the CPC, to achieve major strategic success in fighting COVID-19 as one united nation. People’s lives and health have been protected to the maximum. However, the death toll in the US is still climbing. For every new count, a living and breathing human life is lost. This is heartbreaking.
As for Xinjiang-related issues, we have said many times that what some people in the US have said about Xinjiang is the biggest lie of this century. The so-called allegation that “millions of Uyghurs were detained” was trumped up by an anti-China organization which receives significant financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy, and Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow in a research group on Xinjiang education and training centers set up by the US intelligence community. US independent news network has long ago exposed these facts.
Facts speak louder than words. During the past four decades, Uyghur population in Xinjiang more than doubled from 5.55 million to 11.68 million. There is one mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, and the total number of mosques is 10 times more than that in the US. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang lead happy lives. They can breathe freely. Has the US side ever seen such “ethnic repression”? The US also falsely claims that Muslims in Xinjiang live under close surveillance and that more than one million CPC cadres live in Uyghur homes. The truth is, a “Pair Up and Become Family” program has been carried out in Xinjiang, bringing officials to communities to help people address difficulties in employment, education and medical services. In over three years, more than 987 million yuan and 51.12 million articles have been donated and 18.77 million cases that bear on local people’s immediate interests and welfare have been properly tended to. The program has been warmly received by people of various ethnic groups. It is a concrete example showing the deep bond between the CPC and the Chinese people and the Chinese government putting people first with its down-to-earth approach. The US politicians who don’t care for people’s welfare and only care about their own political gains surely cannot understand this.
Now let’s look at the situation in the United States. Racial and ethnic minorities in the US have long been the targets of bullying, exclusion, and widespread and systemic discrimination in the political, economic, cultural and social aspects of their lives. Take Native Americans as an example. For quite a long period of time, the US government had been enforcing a policy of genocide, segregation and assimilation against Native Americans. For nearly a century after its founding, the US was uprooting and killing American Indians in its Westward Movement. The Native American population plunged from 5 million to 0.25 million in the early 20th century. It now accounts for a mere 2 percent of the US population. Another example, African Americans. African Americans have a COVID-19 infection rate five times that of white Americans, and a much higher mortality rate as well. This highlights the racial inequality in the US. The recent death of an African American George Floyd and the massive protests that followed once again shows that the systemic racial discrimination in the US has reached a point where racial and ethnic minorities “can’t breathe”. This is truly heartbreaking.
Responding to the various false allegations by the US on human rights issues in China, we have released What’s False and What’s True on China-related Human Rights Matters available in both Chinese and English versions. I brought some brochures here, and you are welcome to take one with you after the press conference. I do hope American journalists will help convey the truth and facts in this brochure to the public in the US.
ITV: A Global Times editorial has said that retaliation against the UK for its decision on Huawei is necessary, and should be public and painful. Is that the position of the government, too? And does this decision kill off any possibility of a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and China?
Hua Chunying: Without any solid evidence and under the excuse of non-existent risks, the UK has decided to get in line with the US in discriminating against and excluding the Chinese company, which blatantly violated the market economy principles and free trade rules as well as its own commitments, severely damaged the legitimate interests of the Chinese company and eroded mutual trust underpinning China-UK cooperation. China strongly opposes this move. It is not just about one company and one industrial sector. It is about the UK politicizing commercial and technological issues at all costs. It is about the Chinese investment in the UK facing greater threats. It is about whether we can still feel confident about the openness, fairness and non-discrimination of the British market. China will evaluate this development in a comprehensive and serious manner and take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate and legal rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.
Shenzhen TV: According to media reports, President Trump admitted at a White House press conference on July 14 that he talked many countries out of using Huawei, saying if they want to do business with the US, they cannot use Huawei, otherwise it will affect their relations with the US. I wonder if China has a comment?
Hua Chunying: This is further proof that decisions to ban Huawei are not about national security, but political manipulation. It also shows the world that it is not China, but the US, that has been intimidating and threatening others and sowing discord all across the world.
BBC: Could you tell us about what measures might be taken in response to this decision in the UK? I think you mentioned that China reserves the right to take measures to safeguard the interests of the country’s companies.
Hua Chunying: Like I just said, it is not just about one company and one industrial sector. It is about the UK politicizing commercial and technological issues at all costs. It is about the Chinese investment in the UK facing greater threats. It is about whether we can still feel confident about the openness, fairness and non-discrimination of the British market. China will evaluate this development in a comprehensive and serious manner and take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate and legal rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.
The UK and Huawei have had some good cooperation in the past 20 years or so, which happened because it serves not just Huawei’s interests, but also the UK’s interests. Its decision to ban Huawei will only end up hurting its own interests. The world offers a large market, and being kept out of one relatively small part of it will not stop Huawei from developing and growing.
CCTV: The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently donated anti-epidemic supplies to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Can you confirm that and share more details?
Hua Chunying: The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently donated a batch of anti-epidemic supplies to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). On July 14, they were delivered to the OIC Secretariat by the Chinese diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia in manifestation of our support to its anti-epidemic work.
Impacted by COVID-19, China and Islamic states have shared weal and woe and fought side by side. At the most trying moment, Islamic states have lent precious support to us. China has also reciprocated their support by helping them combat COVID-19. Besides this batch of supplies to the OIC Secretariat, in the first half of this year, China has provided 60 million masks, six million testing kits, over 2000 ventilators and 10 million protective gowns, goggles and gloves, to 54 Islamic states through bilateral means and shared anti-epidemic experience and technologies without any reservation. All this has been widely applauded by the Islamic side. China stands ready to continuously strengthen cooperation with Islamic states and OIC, jointly combat the pandemic and make contributions to global public health cause.
I want to stress that mutual assistance between China and Islamic states are made out of friendship and genuine feelings, with no political strings attached.
Beijing Daily: The number of China-Europe freight trains has registered a significant increase and surpassed 5000 in the first half of this year. Could you give us more details on the operation of the China-Europe freight trains amid the pandemic?
Hua Chunying: Trade has fallen due to impeded logistics worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Against such backdrop, land transportation routes like those operated by China-Europe freight trains have shown strong vitality. The regular and steady operation of China-Europe freight trains is conducive to cross-border flow of goods and services and the resumption of work and production of businesses, thus mitigating COVID-19’s impact on China-EU cooperation on supply and industrial chains. This new artery is indeed playing its role in international transportation.
Despite the pandemic, the number of China-Europe freight trains has increased. According to statistics from China State Railway Group the freight trips between China and Europe rose 36 percent year-on-year to 5,122 during the first six months this year, and the figure hit a record monthly high of 1,169 in June. As I understand the China-Europe freight trains have transported 27,000 tons and 3.67 million pieces of anti-epidemic materials to European countries, up 41 percent year on year, which were sent to Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Lithuania and other countries, where some goods were then transferred to other parts of Europe. This has efficiently and effectively promoted the anti-epidemic cooperation between China, Europe and other countries along the route and the freight trains have become a key “cargo lifeline” and “bond of solidarity” in the fight against COVID-19.
The freight train service is an important outcome of the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Europe. Going forward, China stands ready to work with other parties to maintain the normal, orderly operation of the freight train service, further improve its capacity and profitability, and expand transnational logistics cooperation with Europe and other countries along the routes.
China Daily: Reports say China’s total imports and exports with ASEAN continued to grow in the first six months this year and ASEAN has become China’s largest trading partner. Can you confirm it and give us more details?
Hua Chunying: At the press conference of the Information Office of the State Council yesterday, the spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs (GAC) already gave a detailed account of the situation. The first half of this year witnessed a growth in China’s imports and exports with ASEAN and ASEAN has emerged as China’s largest trading partner. In the meantime, China has been ASEAN’s biggest trading partner for the 11 consecutive years. More remarkably, amid a pandemic that continues to wreak havoc around the globe, the total trade volume between China and ASEAN has grown by 5.6 percent, which demonstrates the huge potential of trade cooperation between the two sides.
This year, China and ASEAN countries have joined hands in fighting against the epidemics and committed to scale new heights in our friendly cooperation in this course. In May, China and ASEAN countries issued the China-ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Joint Statement on Combating the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Enhancing ACFTA Cooperation with commitment to maintaining stable industrial and supply chains and advancing socio-economic recovery and development, which demonstrates the high level of our mutual trust and collaboration.
In face of the downward pressure in world economy, China stands ready to continue strengthening communication with ASEAN countries, coordinating anti-epidemic cooperation and socio-economic development, seeking stronger complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN development plans, promoting new progress in regional cooperation, and injecting new impetus into building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
Bloomberg: Earlier today China promised strong countermeasures against the US for its actions on Hong Kong including sanctions on personnel and entities. We are wondering if there’s any further information on the specifics?
Hua Chunying: In disregard of China’s serious representations, the United States recently signed into law the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” passed by its Congress. The Act maliciously denigrates the national security legislation for Hong Kong, and threatens to impose sanctions on China. It seriously violates international law and the basic norms underpinning international relations. It constitutes gross interference in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs. The Chinese government firmly opposes and strongly condemns this move by the United States.
The enactment and enforcement of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is fully consistent with the relevant provisions of the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR. It provides the institutional and legal safeguards for the sound and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems”, and serves to uphold sovereignty, security and development interests of the country as well as the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. The Law is unanimously supported and endorsed by all the Chinese people including the people in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is China’s special administrative region. Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. No foreign country has the right to interfere. China is firmly resolved to uphold its sovereignty and security, safeguard the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and oppose external meddling in Hong Kong affairs. The US attempt to obstruct the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong will never succeed. In order to safeguard its legitimate interests, China will make necessary response and sanction the relevant individuals and entities of the United States. We urge the US side to correct its mistakes, not to enforce the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act”, and stop interfering in Hong Kong and other internal affairs of China in any way. If the US side insists on going in the wrong direction, China will respond resolutely.
PTI: Do you have any update on yesterday’s talks at the commander-level between Indian and Chinese militaries?
Hua Chunying: Chinese and Indian border troops held the fourth round of commander-level talks on July 14. Building on the common understanding reached at the previous three rounds of commander-level talks and corresponding implementation work, the two sides achieved progress in further disengagement between border troops as well as easing the situation at the western sector of the China-India boundary. We hope India will work with China to implement our consensus with concrete actions and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.
Reuters: The New York Times said on Tuesday that it will move its Hong Kong-based digital operations to Seoul. Editors said China’s new security law has created a lot of uncertainty about what the new rules will mean for their operations and journalism. What’s China’s comment?
Hua Chunying: The New York Times’ arrangements for its staff and operation are its own affairs. We don’t comment on foreign media agencies’ internal arrangements.
I will just stress that as the Chinese side repeatedly stated, the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR only targets four categories of criminal activities that seriously undermine national security. It punishes a very small number of criminals and protects the vast majority. The rights and interests of Hong Kong citizens and foreign institutions and personnel in Hong Kong including foreign media will not be affected at all. As long as they comply with the law and conduct their work in accordance with laws and regulations, they have nothing to worry about.
We welcome foreign media to work in China. My colleagues and I have been doing our best to provide convenience for their life and work in China. We hope a certain country will reciprocate this by facilitating Chinese journalists’ life and work.
AFP: Just want to ask if visa policies for foreign journalists in Hong Kong will face any changes following the passage of the national security law? I understand that Article 54 of the law mentions strengthening the management of foreign news agencies.
Hua Chunying: Visa affairs are a sovereign right. The HKSAR government has the right to process visa applications in accordance with “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law.
Reuters: US President Trump on Tuesday said during an interview that he is not interested in talking to China about trade when asked whether phase two trade talks were dead. Are phase two trade talks dead?
Hua Chunying: You said President Trump was not interested in trade consultations with China. I’m not sure if he really meant it. As for the phase two trade talks, I don't have any information and refer you to the competent authority.
Reuters: Another question regarding Huawei and the UK. I wonder if you think UK companies in China should be concerned regarding any potential future measures taken by China after this Huawei ban?
Hua Chunying: Without any solid evidence and under the excuse of non-existent risks, the UK has decided to gang up with the US in discriminating against and excluding the Chinese company. I have just made our position perfectly clear. It is about the Chinese investment in the UK facing greater threats. It is about whether we can still feel confident about the openness, fairness and non-discrimination of the British market. China will evaluate this development in a comprehensive and serious manner and take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate and legal rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.
We have a saying in China which basically means “you reap what you sow”. All the decision and actions come with price tags. I have also noted that many British enterprises, like the British Chamber of Commerce and British telecom companies, have publicly voiced their opposition to this ban. The British government should take this issue seriously. Does it want to act in its own way of its own volition or is it OK with being a subordinate and a cat’s paw for the US? The responsibility to make a choice that best serves its people’s interests rests squarely on the shoulders of the British government.
China Review News: Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry on July 14 released preliminary economic data for the second quarter showing the GDP shrank by a record 41.2 percent on-quarter. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Singapore faces the most serious recession since its founding. China and Singapore earlier announced the launch of a green lane. Will China take further measures to help Singapore’s economic recovery amid ongoing prevention and control efforts?
Hua Chunying: Due to the impact of COVID-19, all countries face downward economic pressure to varying degrees. China is working with countries in the region including Singapore to promote economic recovery and bring life back to normal amid ongoing prevention and control efforts. China and Singapore took the lead in launching a fast lane to facilitate essential personnel exchange and unblock regional supply chains and industrial chains. It has become a new highlight in bilateral relations, demonstrating the strategic and forward-looking nature of China-Singapore relations and adding new dimension to our all-round cooperative relations.
Yesterday President Xi Jinping held a telephone call with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, reaching important consensus on the development of bilateral relations in the next stage. China stands ready to work with Singapore to build on the momentum of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, implement the leaders’ consensus, coordinate joint efforts to fight the virus and develop the economy, and deepen BRI cooperation to advance economic development in both countries and contribute to regional economic recovery.
Reuters: If other countries adopt a similar policy to the UK and decide to ban Huawei, should they also expect retaliatory measures?
Hua Chunying: Your question concerns the abilities of various countries to make the right decision. Huawei has established good cooperative relations with more than 170 countries. A question was just asked about US President Trump admitting publicly that he has put pressure on other countries to quit cooperating with Huawei if they want to cooperate with the US. This is a naked threat, and everybody sees that clearly. I believe that most of the world’s leaders have the wisdom to make their own judgment and take the right action based on the merits of the case in the best interests of their countries and businesses. We have full confidence in it.
As you can see, despite the US crackdown, Chinese companies have not stopped growing. We do not want to retaliate against any country for taking adverse measures against Chinese companies because it chooses to succumb to US intimidation. What we want is cooperation with all countries on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and win-win results, which is what people of all countries aspire to. Retaliation is not what we pursue, but win-win cooperation is. You can tell the British government that they are a minority, that they are against the international community.
TASS: US Assistant Secretary David Stilwell for East Asian and Pacific Affairs said “nothing is off the table... there is room for that” when asked if sanctions were a possible US response to Chinese actions in the South China Sea. What is your response?
Hua Chunying: Stilwell’s remarks simply prove once again that the US side has been leaving no stones unturned in muddying waters in the South China Sea, driving a wedge between China and regional countries, and undercutting the efforts by China and ASEAN nations to preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea. The US has eaten its words on not taking a position on the sovereignty of the South China Sea. On the one hand, it dispatches large fleets of advanced military vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to flex muscles and stir up troubles. On the other hand, it issued a statement aiming to undermine regional countries’ efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, which will only further expose its hypocrisy and hegemony to the world. The US refuses to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), cannot stop itself from withdrawing from one international treaty and organization after another, and only chooses to comply with international law when the occasion serves its own interests. It has fully revealed its true nature as a hypocrite and bully.
I read this written by US Defense Secretary Esper, “Goodwill and best wishes do not secure freedom. Strength does.” If countries rely on nothing but strength, how can the world order be any different from the “law of the jungle”? Without goodwill, a country with greater strength becomes a greater threat. I believe everyone is well aware now of who is the guardian of peace and anchor of stability, and who is the rabble-rouser and the source of chaos.
On the issue of the South China Sea, China will continue firmly upholding our sovereignty, security and legitimate rights and interests, and maintaining our friendly cooperation with regional countries. We hope the US will not go further down the erroneous path. It should behave like a major country and play a constructive role for regional peace and stability.
As the most developed country with the greatest strength and the only superpower in the world, the US wantonly imposes sanctions or threatens to sanction others, which is just pathetic. We hope “sanction” is not going to be the biggest and shiniest label that the US wants itself to be remembered by. It should earnestly reflect on its policies. Speaking of sanctions, China is not afraid of them. However, as an old Chinese saying goes, “a tree wants to enjoy a moment of tranquility but the wind keeps blowing.” If the US wants to make a storm, then just let the storm rage with greater force.