Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on September 3, 2020
President Xi Jinping will address the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services on September 4 in Beijing.
At the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the virtual meeting of BRICS foreign ministers on September 4.
CCTV: The US State Department issued a statement on September 2, requiring senior PRC diplomats in the US to receive approval to visit US university campuses and to meet with local government officials. Cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people hosted by the PRC embassy and consular posts outside of mission properties will also require approval. What is China’s comment?
Hua Chunying: Since October last year, the US State Department has continuously imposed restrictions on Chinese embassy and consulates in the US and their personnel, impeding their normal performance of duties in the US. Relevant measures seriously violate international law and basic norms governing international relations, and seriously interfere with China-US relations and normal bilateral exchanges.
In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Consular Convention between China and the US, China and the US should fully facilitate each other’s diplomatic and consular personnel in their respective countries to perform their duties in accordance with law. China always provides convenience for US embassy and consulates in China and their personnel to conduct normal activities in China in accordance with laws and regulations. By contrast, in October last year and in June this year, the US State Department has twice requested Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel in the US to report their activities in advance. This time, its request for prior approval went even further as to restrict Chinese diplomats’ personal and social contacts with US local officials. These requirements are totally contrary to international law and basic norms governing international relations as well as the consular convention between China and the US. They are illegal, illegitimate and unreasonable. This reflects that the anti-China forces in the US have completely lost their rationality and self-confidence and have developed anti-China paranoia. They will continue to be strongly condemned and opposed by clear-minded people from all walks of life.
China-US relations are important to both countries and to the world. The two sides should keep communication channels open at all times. The Chinese diplomatic missions in the US will continue to maintain normal exchanges with all sectors of the US community. China will continue to support normal exchanges and cooperation between the two peoples. We urge the US State Department to immediately reverse the erroneous decision, stop obstructing normal personnel exchanges between the two countries and stop undermining bilateral relations. China will make a legitimate and necessary response in light of the development of the situation.
China Daily: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to make groundless accusations against China during his press conference on September 2 on the South China Sea, Tibet-related issues and cooperation between Chinese and US universities. What is China’s comment?
Hua Chunying: Pompeo’s fact-distorting and truth-reversing words reflect that the extreme anti-China forces in the US are using all means to smear China and deliberately undermine China-US relations and normal exchanges and cooperation. The evil intentions of Pompeo and others have been seen through by the world since long ago, and their regressive behaviors will continue to be strongly criticized and resolutely opposed by people of all walks of life.
China’s position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. China is firmly committed to safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, to peacefully resolving disputes through consultation and negotiation with other countries directly concerned, and to working with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. As a country outside the region, the United States is stirring up quarrels, provoking troubles and sowing discord between China and relevant countries in the South China Sea. The US is the primary perpetrator that creates tension and poses threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea. We urge the US side to stop being a saboteur of peace and stability and a spoiler of cooperation and development in the South China Sea.
Tibet has been China’s territory since ancient times, and its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no interference by any external forces. Since its peaceful liberation more than 60 years ago, Tibet has made historic progress in economic, social, cultural, ecological and other fields. We urge the US side to stop finger-pointing and interfering in China’s internal affairs on Tibet-related issues.
Exchanges and cooperation in the education sector between China and the United States are mutually beneficial. The allegation by US officials that China is infiltrating US schools is totally out of thin air. In their eyes, all Chinese students in the US are spies and all China’s exchanges with US universities are infiltration. This is all delusional. Following their logic, are all the large number of Americans living and working in China spies? And all these English learners in China, are they part of the US effort to infiltrate China? What the US officials did goes against the desire of the Chinese and American people to strengthen exchanges and cooperation and undermines the common interests of the two countries.
Once again, we urge Pompeo and other politicians to respect the facts, stop harping on anti-China remarks, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop obstructing and undermining normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States, and stop going further down the wrong path.
Beijing Daily: Reports say the US wants not only “diplomatic reciprocity” but also “reciprocity in media”. As we know, in May the US limited visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum three-month stay, and their visas haven’t been extended so far. Could you comment on this?
Hua Chunying: The US indeed talks a lot about reciprocity, but more and more people now understand the truth of “reciprocity” in the media sector in China and the US.
For a long time the US has been practicing a discriminatory visa policy against Chinese journalists stationed in the US. The Chinese journalists can only get single-entry visas, which means they need to re-apply every time they leave the US to visit their families in China or travel overseas. Since 2018 the US has been deliberately setting obstacles to Chinese journalists’ visa application. Besides the usual documents, Chinese journalists also need to submit large amounts of additional materials like their social media accounts, outbound travel records in the past 15 years, registration information and organization structure of their workplace in the US, as well as their social relations. This is not only far beyond the normal requirement of visa application but also in serious violation of their privacy. The US also cited many reasons including administrative review to prolong the process of visa review and approval, and to delay sometimes indefinitely and even deny visa issuance. Since 2018, about 30 Chinese journalists have had experiences. In March the US in effect expelled 60 Chinese journalists. On May 11, the US announced its decision to limit visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay starting from May 8. That is to say, on August 6, all Chinese journalists’ visas expired. All Chinese journalists stationed there followed the US requirement and submitted application for extension in advance. However, none of them have received a specific answer from the authorities whether the extension can be approved, which gives them a great deal of uncertainties. By contrast, most foreign journalists stationed in China are granted one-year press cards. Since December 2018, the US have demanded multiple Chinese media agencies register as “foreign agents” and “foreign missions”. It’s harder and harder for our reporters to cover news in the US. When in group press activities, they are often treated differently and sometimes even interrogated. The US also asked some Chinese media reporters to regularly submit certification of employment to the White House and removed some journalists from the list to send invitation emails for small-scale events. Besides, the visa application fee is also raised by the US under the pretext of “reciprocity”. Now Chinese journalists need to pay $1,037 every time they apply, while the visa and residency application fee for American journalists stationed in China is only about $350.
I think people connect empathically with each other, and you might put yourself in our shoes. We at the MFA Information Department does our best to make your life and work in China as convenient as possible. We do this for all foreign journalists in China, including US journalists. In order to best protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and American journalists, we have had many consultations with the US side in good faith and with goodwill. But the United States has outrageously taken the visa extension issue as a hostage to demand that the more than 10 journalists of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times, whose press cards were taken back, be allowed to return to China, while no Chinese journalists have got visa extension.
Things happen for a reason. Those journalists from the three US media outlets were asked to hand back their press cards because it is our justifiable and necessary reaction to the unreasonable expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists by the US side. If the US wants such reciprocity, China is also willing to get even with them on all this.
The essence of the media issue between China and the US is the US political persecution and suppression against the Chinese media out of the Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It is an important part of the US crackdown on China in all aspects and fields. It does no good to the normal exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and American people. It also undermines the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the journalists of the two countries.
We hope that the US side will realize the gravity of this issue, change its discriminatory practices against the Chinese media, and protect the safety and rights of Chinese journalists stationed in the US. If the US keeps moving further down the wrong path, China has no choice but to make a justifiable and necessary reaction to firmly uphold its legitimate rights.
CCTV: Do you have more information on the upcoming virtual BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting?
Hua Chunying: The BRICS mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to step up solidarity and cooperation and uphold shared interests. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the BRICS leaders, the BRICS countries, following the BRICS spirit of open, inclusive and win-win cooperation, have conducted various and fruitful exchange and cooperation. The BRICS countries have continuously strengthened solidarity and mutual trust, expanded pragmatic cooperation, deepened people-to-people exchange and increased international influence, making the BRICS a model of cooperation mechanism between emerging major countries.
The BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting is an important mechanism for BRICS cooperation and a key part of the three pillar areas of such cooperation. Facing the complex international landscape, it is of significant importance for BRICS foreign ministers to hold a virtual meeting to exchange views and coordinate position on the current international situation, commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN and hotspot issues of mutual interest, to send out strong messages of jointly addressing global challenges, supporting multilateralism and the UN’s role, and promoting global economic recovery in a post-COVID era. China will actively participate in this meeting. We hope and believe this meeting will achieve positive outcomes and inject positive energy into world peace and development.
NHK: There were protests following the implementation of a new bilingual education policy in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Can you confirm that? Former Mongolian president Elbegdorj made comments on this in social media. Do you have any response?
Hua Chunying: The relevant reports are political speculation with ulterior motives.
The national common spoken and written language is a symbol of national sovereignty. It is every citizen’s right and duty to learn and use the national common spoken and written language. This is true not only in China, but also in the rest of the world. It is enshrined in China’s Constitution, the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and the Education Law.
The Chinese government, in accordance with relevant laws, promotes the use of the national common spoken and written language in ethnic minority areas, upholds the principle of equality in the spoken and written languages of all ethnic groups, and guarantees according to law the freedom of all ethnic groups, including the Mongolian ethnicity, to use and develop their own spoken and written languages.
The Education Department of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has released relevant information on unified textbooks. In recent years, the National Textbook Committee has organized experts to compile textbooks in Chinese language and literature, politics and history, which have been used in all primary and secondary schools nationwide since 2017. Starting this year, six provinces and autonomous regions, including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, have also started using these textbooks. The unified textbooks of the three subjects will not affect the setting of courses of other subjects in schools teaching ethnic languages. The class hours, textbooks, and teaching language of the Mongolian language and literature class will remain unchanged, and the current bilingual education system will not be changed.
I wonder if any other country in the world has enacted special laws and taken concrete measures like China to protect the rights of ethnic minorities to use their own spoken and written languages?
New York Times: What is the position of the Chinese government on the independence movement in the Malaita region in the Solomon Islands?
Hua Chunying: This is an internal affair of the Solomon Islands. China doesn’t interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. We believe the government of the Solomon Islands can handle its internal matters.
CRI: The intra-Afghan talks are expected to be held soon in Doha, capital of Qatar. What is China’s comment on this and what does China expect from it? Will you send officials to the talks?
Hua Chunying: The intra-Afghan talks are key to the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan. As the country’s biggest neighbor and sincere friend, China has been following the latest developments and supporting the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle. We hope relevant parties in Afghanistan can put the interests of the country and people first, abandon differences, move in the same direction and work out a fundamental solution through dialogue and negotiation to realize lasting peace and stability.
Comprehensive, lasting peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without the broad consensus and support from the international community, especially the regional countries. Promoting peace and facilitating talks is a shared responsibility of all members of the international community, not a job to be done by one or two countries. The whole international community must work toward the same goal to achieve early outcomes of the intra-Afghan talks and steady progress in the peace and reconciliation process. China will continue playing a constructive role to this end.