Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on October 15, 2020
Reuters: The US administration on Wednesday appointed a senior US human rights official as a special coordinator for Tibetan issues, filling a post that’s designed to oversee human rights issues in Tibet. What’s the ministry’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Xizang’s affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. The US appointment of so-called “special coordinator for Tibetan issues” is a political manipulation to interfere in China’s domestic affairs and undermine Xizang’s development and stability. China firmly opposes it and has never acknowledged it.
People of all ethnic groups in Xizang are part of the big family of the Chinese nation. Over the past 60 years or so after the peaceful liberation, Xizang has enjoyed vibrant economic growth, a harmonious and stable society and prosperous cultural development, and its people of various ethnic groups are united, generous towards each other and living a better life. All residents, including Zang ethnic minorities, enjoy full religious freedom with their rights fully respected and protected. We believe Xizang’s future will be even brighter.
The US should stop interfering in China’s internal affairs or destabilizing Xizang under the pretext of Xizang related issues. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard our interests.
Shenzhen TV: Both Chinese and foreign media have covered celebration convention for the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. It has been reported that Shenzhen SEZ is a development miracle created by the Chinese people in the world history, a microcosm of China’s modernization process through reform and opening up, and a symbol of China’s growth into a global economic power. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: You just said that you are with Shenzhen TV. I believe you must be very excited about President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the celebration event. I was very excited when I watched the live broadcast of the convention.
As a new city built up from scratch by the CPC and the Chinese people after the rolling-out of the reform and opening-up policy, Shenzhen has now developed into an amazing city, like a wonderful canvas with socialism with Chinese characteristics on full display. Over the past 40 years, Shenzhen’s GDP has grown more than 10,000 times, and the once small fishing village has morphed into an international metropolis with global influence.
The construction and development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone is a product of China’s reform and opening-up policy, and it is also a microcosm of China’s achievements through this policy. And Shenzhen cannot develop into what it is today without the extensive participation of all countries around the world. Shenzhen adheres to the practice of “bringing in” and “going out” – making good use of both the international and domestic markets and resources thereof, attracting about 2/3 of the Fortune 500 companies to settle here with its openness and inclusiveness, and realizing the historic leap from reliance on import and export to all-around and high-level opening-up to the outside world. It is fair to say that these achievements are nothing short of a miracle.
Shenzhen has shown the world the majestic power of China’s reform and opening-up efforts and the bright prospect of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Looking forward to the future, China will unswervingly pursue a mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up and actively build a new dual-circulation development pattern with the domestic circulation as the mainstay and the domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This will not only enable China to draw momentum of development from the world, but also better benefit the world with China’s development. As a large developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, a labor force of 900 million and a market of the 120 million economic entities, China welcomes more countries in the world to participate in China’s economic construction and build a new win-win pattern of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
Reuters: The US State Department on Wednesday warned international financial institutions that if they do business with individuals deemed responsible for China’s crackdown in Hong Kong, they could soon face tough sanctions. What’s the ministry’s response to this?
Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes and strongly condemns the US side creating the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” and sanctioning Chinese personnel based on it. We have lodged solemn representations with the US side.
Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. No foreign country has the right to make irresponsible remarks or interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs. The US has grossly violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and further exposed its sinister motive to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s development.
China urges the US side to correct its mistakes and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and other China’s internal affairs in any way. If the US is bent on going this way, China will take resolute countermeasures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests and the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and the relevant personnel.
Global Times: US Secretary of State Pompeo said at a press availability on October 14 that the United States has covered most part of the WFP’s budget. America’s humanitarian leadership is alive and well and contrasts starkly with what China has done to the hungry around the world. What is China’s response?
Zhao Lijian: First of all, I would like to express our firm opposition to and strong rejection of Pompeo’s groundless accusations against China in his remarks. As the largest developing country and a responsible major country, China has long maintained good cooperation with the WFP, and actively provided funds within its capacity to the WFP to support its humanitarian assistance programs and improve global food security. Since 2016, the Chinese government has donated more than $155 million to the WFP, and the two sides have signed 16 agreements on emergency food aid donation, providing emergency food aid to more than 7.5 million people.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has responded proactively to the initiatives of the United Nations and other international organizations, provided technical support and material assistance to countries affected by COVID-19 and locust plagues at their request, and provided emergency food aid to more than a dozen countries. At the same time, we have supported the establishment of ad hoc warehouses by Chinese enterprises working together with the WFP, and have delivered large quantities of anti-epidemic materials to more than 100 countries and regions.
Food security is fundamental to human survival and is an important part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We call on all countries to strengthen cooperation and work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including on food security. Developed countries should fulfill their official development assistance obligations in full and on time, create an open and inclusive development environment for developing countries and provide them with more assistance. As a developing country, China will continue to work with the WFP and other parties to safeguard global food security and create a world free of hunger and poverty.
Finally I would like to stress that scapegoating other countries cannot cover up a botched pandemic response at home. The damage to multilateralism and international cooperation caused by unilateralism and withdrawals from international treaties and organizations is witnessed by all. On all these issues, the world can see clearly and the international community has a fair judgment.
Bloomberg: There have been media reports that the US State Department is seeking to blacklist China’s Ant Group. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China consistently opposes the bullying practice of the United States by abusing national security concept and state power to wantonly suppress foreign businesses. The United States should earnestly respect market economy and fair competition principles, abide by international trade rules, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies investing and operating in the United States. China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese businesses’ legitimate rights and interests.
The Paper: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese government of violating the human rights of its own people at a press conference on October 14. In addition, Pompeo also spoke at the International Republican Institute (IRI) about issues such as Falun Gong and religious freedom in China. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection and promotion of human rights, adheres to the people-centered concept of human rights, and protects the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Chinese citizens in accordance with law.
Actions speak louder than words. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 71 years ago, especially since the beginning of reform and opening-up, China has made remarkable achievements in its human rights cause. During the third round of the Universal Periodic Review of human rights at the UN Human Rights Council, more than 120 countries fully recognized China’s tremendous achievements in promoting and protecting human rights and commended China’s important contributions to the world human rights cause through its development and progress. China has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the fifth time. According to a survey by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Chinese people’s overall satisfaction towards the Central Government exceeds 93%.
The United States, by contrast, has a terrible record on human rights and religious freedom. There have been numerous scandals of racial discrimination, police brutality and prisoner abuse. US gun violence crime rate has been the highest in the world for years, causing on average tens of thousands of deaths per year. The US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council as early as 2018 and has yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other important human rights conventions. The religious situation of ethnic minorities in the United States is worrisome. Polls show that 75 percent of Muslims in the US believe there is serious discrimination against their community in the United States. The number of mosques in the United States nationwide is less than one tenth of that in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. What right does the US have to make wanton accusations against other countries?
Out of ideological bias and political expediency, Pompeo has repeatedly slandered and smeared China, even endorsing a cult like Falun Gong. We urge Pompeo to respect the facts and stop fabricating all kinds of China-related lies. Otherwise, he will only further damage his own credibility and the image and interests of the United States.
South China Morning Post: NASA announced the signing of the Artemis Accords with seven other countries to set rules for exploring the Moon. China and Russia are not part of the Accords. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijiang: The exploration of the Moon is an important step in man’s never-ending quest for the universe. China has always been committed to the peaceful use of outer space. Exploration and peaceful use of outer space is the common cause of all mankind and should benefit all mankind.
China supports discussions on a legal system for space resource exploration on the UN platform within the framework of existing outer space rules to ensure that relevant activities are in line with the purposes and principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. China is ready to continue international exchanges and cooperation with other parties in lunar exploration and work with other countries to make greater contribution to mankind’s peaceful use of outer space and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
China Review News: Recently, the Australian media published an article saying that the so-called “academic and neutral” reports on Xinjiang by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and other institutions and scholars actually lack factual basis, have no academic value at all, and are essentially creating and disseminating false information. The article said that although ASPI claims to be an independent and non-partisan think tank, it is actually funded by Australian and U.S. defense and foreign affairs departments as well as major Western military enterprises. What is China’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time I was asked such a question, nor the first time that the Chinese and foreign media have disclosed the true nature of this so-called “think tank”. This institute has widely criticized for some time, including by righteous people in Australia. Take ASPI’s so-called Xinjiang report as an example, which cites satellite photographs and so-called “eyewitness evidence” to prove the existence of “detention facilities for ethnic minorities” in Xinjiang. But the so-called satellite photos are only an interactive map, and evidence from “eyewitness” cannot be vindicated and traced back to its origin. The report says there are “detention centers” in Tulufan and Kashi cities in Xinjiang, but the fact is that the so-called “detention centers” in Tulufan are actually the buildings of the local administrative offices, and the “detention centers” in Kashi are actually local high school campuses, all of which are marked out on Google and Baidu maps. You all can check on them. This shows that the relevant institute is fabricating and spreading China-related lies, rumors and false information to stigmatize and demonize China and harm the image and interests of China.
A man without credibility cannot establish himself in society. Likewise, ASPI, together with the false information and malicious rumors it made to discredit China, will only be relentlessly unmasked by facts and truth again and again, and its ill intentions will find no place to hide under the glaring light of justice. It is believed that more and more people of integrity in the international community will choose to side with facts and truth, practice objectivity and justice, and reject lies.