Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 12, 2020
CCTV: The 21st session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on August 11 passed the decision of the Standing Committee of NPC for the sixth Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to continue to discharge duties. It clearly stipulates that the sixth LegCo of the HKSAR will continue to discharge its duties for no less than one year until the commencement of the seventh LegCo. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The NPC Standing Committee, in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, has decided that the sixth Legislative Council will continue to discharge duties. It provides solid legal foundation for the LegCo to continue performing its duties and is conducive to upholding constitutional and legal order in the HKSAR, the administering by the HKSAR government and the normal operation of the society. The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR expressed staunch support in their respect statements.
I want to stress that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and the LegCo election is China’s sub-national election. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and there’s no place for interference from foreign government, organization or individual.
China Daily: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a speech at National Taiwan University on August 11: “The Chinese Communist Party had the chance to warn the world and work with the world on battling the virus. But they chose not to... the People’s Republic of China did not live up to the binding obligations it had under the International Health Regulations, betraying the cooperative spirit we need for global health... if this virus had emerged in a place like Taiwan or the United States, it might have been snuffed out easily”. I wonder if China has any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: We must repeat this solemn message to the US side again that China firmly opposes official exchanges between the US and Taiwan under whatever pretext. On issues concerning China’s core interests, certain individuals in the US must not have any illusions or imagine they can get away with inappropriate behaviors. Those playing with fire will end up burning themselves badly.
We also remind the DPP authorities in Taiwan to stop pursuing its misguided course. A dead end will meet them if they so willingly choose to act like self-important puppets with strings in foreign hands and seriously believe that they have a chance at independence by taking advantage of the epidemic.
With regard to COVID-19, we’ve released the timeline showing clearly China’s effective response. Since the very beginning of the outbreak, China has been acting in an open, transparent, and responsible manner and earnestly fulfilling its duties and obligations under the International Health Regulations. With the most comprehensive, stringent, and thorough measures, we contained the spread of the virus while engaging in international cooperation in prevention and control. Putting people and life front and center, the Chinese government’s epidemic response can stand the test of time and history. China’s tremendous sacrifice for and contribution to the global fight has been witnessed by all.
Turning to the US, confirmed cases passed five million and deaths over 160,000. In the face of such a grave situation, the principal US health official, instead of manning the front-line and devoting himself entirely to bringing the virus under control, has walked out on the millions of people suffering at home, all for a political posturing faraway in Taiwan. I wonder if this official knew that during his three-day visit, more than 150,000 new cases were confirmed in the US and over 2,000 lives lost. Their ridiculous stunts this time just make us more convinced that for them, American people’s lives are nothing compared with their selfish political gains.
Secretary Azar, I’m afraid, is directly responsible for the unchecked spreading of the epidemic in the US. We wonder why he is so blatant to even speak ill of China’s anti-epidemic efforts. If he entered a world competition of “who performed the worst in managing this epidemic”, he will almost surely come out on top. He lashed out against China because he wanted to make China a scapegoat to cover for US officials’ incompetence. Stopping these political shows and focusing on saving American lives, this is what he should do as the health secretary. Azar claimed that if this virus had emerged in a place like the United States, it might have been snuffed out easily. We can’t wait to see him working wonders and bringing the epidemic situation at home under control as soon as possible.
Bloomberg: Two questions relating to the China-US phase one trade deal. First, reports say that Beijing will push for measures related to TikTok to be included on the agenda. I’d like you to confirm this if possible. The second part of my question is about White House top adviser Larry Kudlow, who said the trade deal is fine. I’d just like to know if you have some comments on Mr. Kudlow’s remarks.
Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the trade deal is clear and consistent. As for the specific details, I would refer you to the competent authorities.
I want to add a few words on TikTok. It is simply a platform for the American public to showcase their talent and spread joy. It has nothing to do with national security. Without any solid evidence, some people in the US have been abusing the concept of national security to suppress non-American enterprises. These US moves are “utterly disgraceful”.
In the era of globalization, all parties should flourish together through scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation. It shall never be the case that whoever excels will be terminated. Some self-serving people in the US prefer to wield their sticks of sanctions to hit others, which will inevitably end up hurting themselves.
Phoenix TV: President Trump said in an interview that he hasn’t spoken to the Chinese leader in a long time since the epidemic broke out. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The novel coronavirus is the common enemy of mankind. China believes that countries should join hands to fight the virus instead of politicizing and pinning a label to the virus. Shifting the blame to China can never drive away the virus or cure the sick.
China and the US can and do have communications at various levels and in many fields based on mutual respect.
Reuters: Senator Kamala Harris was named as Joe Biden’s running mate ahead of the upcoming US election. She’s called for increased pressure on China over human rights but has rejected Trump’s tariffs on China. Does the ministry have any comment on her new position?
Zhao Lijian: As we said many times, the election is US internal affair and we are not interested in commenting.
On the specific matters mentioned by the relevant person, China’s position is consistent and clear.
Reuters: Indian tax authorities raided the premises of some Chinese entities and their associates as part of a money laundering investigation. The authorities said this in a statement on Tuesday. It said that they were involved in money laundering. What is the ministry’s comment on it?
Zhao Lijian: I am not aware of the situation. What I can tell you is that the Chinese government always requires Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations when conducting cooperation with foreign countries. At the same time, the Chinese government is committed to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens. We hope the Indian side will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese enterprises’ operations in India.
Bloomberg: A question regarding the proposed visit by the mayor of Prague to Taiwan. He will be joined by the Czech senate president. Do you have any comment on the proposed visit?
Zhao Lijian: China consistently opposes official exchanges between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with China.
I also want to stress that the renewal and reunification of the Chinese nation is an unstoppable trend. Anyone who attempts to resist this trend and to split China is doomed to fail and their names will go down in history as anathema.
AFP: A question regarding some reports. China and the US will have a meeting soon to see how the implementation of the phase one trade deal is going. Can you confirm this?
Zhao Lijian: I just responded to a relevant question. You need to ask the competent authorities regarding the details of the China-US trade deal.