Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 18, 2020
CCTV: The medical team sent by the Chinese government to Azerbaijan returned home on August 17. Can you give us some details about their work on the ground? What has China done to help Azerbaijan in fighting the virus?
Zhao Lijian: The medical team to Azerbaijan, consisting of experts selected by the Sichuan Provincial Health Commission, was organized by the National Health Commission. All ten members of the team selected from the West China Hospital of Sichuan University possess rich experience in epidemic prevention and control.
The team of experts arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on August 4. Over the past two weeks, they visited local hospitals, test labs and blood banks in Baku, Jalilabad and Sumgayit, held group seminars with relevant departments and medical experts to analyze the current epidemic situation, epidemic prevention measures and treatment process, helped train local medical personnel, and shared China’s anti-epidemic experience with them unreservedly. Their work illustrates the traditional friendship between China and Azerbaijan, demonstrates the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and has won acclaims from the government and people of Azerbaijan.
China and Azerbaijan have friendly and cooperative relations. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have been supporting each other to overcome difficulties together, reflecting profound bilateral friendship. China will continue providing as much help as we could to Azerbaijan, and will continue enhancing international cooperation to fight the virus. With concerted efforts, we believe the pandemic will be defeated at an early date.
Bloomberg: Following the restrictive measures announced in May, the US Commerce Department declared further restrictions on Huawei. These were aimed at cutting Huawei’s access to commercially available chips. These changes add 38 Huawei affiliates in 21 countries to an economic blacklist. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes the deliberate smearing and suppression of Chinese enterprises including Huawei by the US side. For some time now, the US has been abusing national security concept and state power to impose all sorts of restrictive measures on Chinese companies like Huawei without producing any solid evidence. This is stark bullying.
What the US has done shows clearly that the market economy and fair competition principle it claims to champion is nothing but a fig leaf. Such practice violates rules of international trade, disrupts global industrial, supply and value chains, and will inevitably damage America’s national interests and image.
I’d like to stress that the more hysterically the US tries to keep Huawei and other Chinese companies down, the more it proves they are doing great and the US is bringing hypocrisy and bullying to a whole new level. Many successful businesses of other countries have suffered the same treatment in the past. The shameful behavior of the US has been and will continue to be rejected by countries in the world.
The US claims that Huawei threatens US national security, which is totally baseless. Let’s take a look at the facts. Over the past 30 years, Huawei has developed over 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions, and served 228 Fortune 500 companies and more than three billion people all over the world. Not a single cyber security incident like those revealed by Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks has there been. Not a single tapping or surveillance operation like PRISM, Equation Group or ECHELON has there been. And not a single country has produced evidence of any backdoors in Huawei products.
The US is really the top empire of hackers in this world. American companies Cisco and Apple admitted years ago that there are security loopholes and backdoors in their equipment. US intelligence has long been running indiscriminate, illegal surveillance programs on foreign governments, businesses and individuals including those of its allies. Even American citizens don’t have any secrets to speak of. These are open facts.
We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes and stop smearing China and suppressing Chinese companies. The Chinese government will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests.
The Paper: China’s Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday it is launching an anti-dumping investigation into some wines imported from Australia. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: This is a normal anti-dumping investigation. As we learnt, the Chinese competent authorities received application for anti-dumping investigation from the Chinese wine industry on July 6. After examination according to law, the application was considered to meet the statutory requirement and then an investigation was initiated on August 18. The Chinese competent authorities will conduct the investigation in a legal, fair and just manner.
FSN: Could you elaborate a little bit more what that criterion is? The Australian side said that it does not sell wine at below market price. What is the basis for the investigation? Some reports say that the move is politically motivated. How do you respond to that?
Zhao Lijian: I made very clear China’s position on this case. If you are interested in the details of the investigation, please refer to the competent authorities.
On China-Australia relations, we have repeatedly stated that China’s position on developing China-Australia relations is consistent and clear. A sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the common interests of both countries, but it calls for the joint efforts of both sides. We hope the Australian side will work with China in the same direction, earnestly uphold the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and do more things that are conducive to China-Australia mutual trust and cooperation and in line with the spirit of our comprehensive strategic partnership.
AFP: Do you have any response on Taiwan opening a representative office in Somaliland?
Zhao Lijian: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm governing international relations and the consensus of the international community. China firmly opposes the establishment of official institutions or any form of official exchanges between Taiwan and Somaliland. The Democratic Progressive Party’s frantic search of support for its separatist activities in the international arena will never succeed.
Bloomberg: Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said in a recent interview that she is having trouble using credit cards after the US imposed sanctions targeting Chinese officials and their supporters in the city. At the same time, many Chinese lenders with operations in the US have turned cautious about opening new accounts for the 11 people sanctioned, as Bloomberg reported. These banks include Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China rejects illegal US sanctions against the relevant officials in Hong Kong, and this position is clear and consistent.
Reuters: Earlier this year the Chinese Ambassador to Australia said that Chinese people would reconsider drinking Australian wine if relations between the two countries turn sour. Just now you said that this probe is a normal case of investigation. Is it coincidence that this probe was launched after the Ambassador said those words? Is China worried that launching this probe will further damage China-Australia relations?
Zhao Lijian: I made clear China’s position. This is a normal anti-dumping investigation. There’s no need to read too much into it.
AFP: Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers have requested the release of classified documents by Canadian authorities. But the Canadian government said yesterday that it has already handed over all relevant documents. What is your response?
Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the Meng Wanzhou case is consistent and clear, which has been stated on multiple occasions.
I’d like to stress that the Chinese government is determined in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and companies. We support our people and companies in upholding their rights and interests through legal means. Regarding the specifics you mentioned, you may ask the Canadian government. Why can’t they present the pertinent evidence and documents? What on earth is going on between them and the US government?