Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on January 20, 2021
Beijing Daily: Recently many countries have said they’ve acquired vaccines from China. Quite a few leaders have received the jabs openly. What’s your comment? How do you see the prospect of international vaccine cooperation?
Hua Chunying: We always maintain that as the virus respects no borders and all mankind are connected with a shared future, solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon against the pandemic. The international community already agrees on this.
Vaccine is our silver bullet for epidemic prevention and control and for our ultimate victory against the virus. The international community is now focusing on such cooperation. President Xi Jinping’s pledge at the 73rd WHA, that China’s vaccines, once developed and deployed, will be made a global public good and help to realize the accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines in developing countries, has been well received worldwide. The idea of making COVID vaccines a global public good, recognized and supported by increasing number of countries, has been incorporated in the outcome documents of many important international organizations.
China is among the front-runners in vaccine R&D, with one Chinese vaccine given conditional approval for general public use and several others currently undergoing clinical trials of various stages. They are important pillars buttressing China’s fight against the pandemic and participation in international vaccine cooperation.
Right now, public vaccination is underway in China with priority groups being the first to receive the shots. While striving to meet our huge domestic demand, we’ve been trying our best to advance vaccine cooperation with other countries through various means, especially with developing countries, to offer them much-needed support and help, in concrete steps to implement President Xi’s commitment.
First, Chinese companies are conducting joint vaccine R&D with partners in a dozen countries, including clinical trials and co-production. As a result of such cooperation, Chinese companies have offered vaccines to partner countries. Mutually beneficial cooperation of this kind has not only promoted vaccine R&D on the Chinese side, but also contributed to making the vaccines more affordable and accessible in developing countries.
Second, for countries that are in urgent need of vaccines, have certified Chinese vaccines, or authorized their emergency use, Chinese companies have started to export vaccines or to discuss relevant cooperation with them, most of which being developing countries. The UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, among others, have authorized the use of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.
Third, China has formally joined WHO-backed vaccine programme COVAX, supports G20 in promoting international vaccine cooperation, and upholds the role of multilateral cooperation in advancing the global equitable distribution of vaccines.
So far, over 40 countries have asked to import Chinese vaccines. As the production capacity expands, China will be able to gradually offer more to countries in need.
The international community speaks highly of China’s efforts to promote international vaccine cooperation. Many countries believe that China is acting on its pledge of making vaccines a public good. Currently Chinese companies are actively discussing cooperation with COVAX. We are ready to contribute to accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines in developing countries through this initiative. The general public in those partner countries have also expressed thanks for offering them support and easing their immediate difficulties despite the high demand at home. Many state leaders have set an example for their people by receiving Chinese vaccines, including, as you may have noted from media reports, Turkish President Erdogan and Vice President Oktay, Seychelles President Ramkalawan, Jordanian Prime Minister Khasawneh, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Bahrain Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman. Serbian President Vucic went to the airport for the arrival of Chinese vaccines and expressed his readiness to get vaccinated. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Facebook that he would be the first in the country to receive a shot of the China-made vaccine. Peruvian President Sagasti also said he would like to be inoculated with the Chinese vaccine.
The virus is still wreaking havoc around the world, and it is no time to slacken our prevention and control efforts. All need to pitch in if we are to meet the demands of all countries, especially developing ones. We look forward to seeing concrete actions from all sides to distribute more vaccines to developing countries and promote vaccines’ equitable distribution and use worldwide, so that the day that sees our final victory over the virus will come sooner.
Bloomberg: I’d like to ask if Sinopharm and Sinovac has sought WHO pre-qualification for their coronavirus vaccine? Are these companies or is the Chinese government negotiating for these shots to be procured by COVAX and distributed to developing countries through the COVAX facility?
Hua Chunying: I’d like to thank you for your interest in the progress of China’s vaccine R&D. As we said earlier, China encourages vaccines companies to work together with multilateral institutions such as WHO to contribute to accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries. To my knowledge, relevant vaccine companies are holding close communication with WHO and conducting substantive cooperation on applying for pre-qualification for WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL). You will need to ask the competent authorities for detailed information on the progress.
The Chinese government supports vaccine companies in joining COVAX and actively facilitates this. I understand Chinese companies including Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino have all submitted formal application to join the initiative. The Chinese government has also been in close communication with the sponsors including WHO. In a word, China stands ready to work together with all sides to promote the equitable distribution of vaccines across the world, contribute to the joint global response, and protect the safety and health of people in all countries.
Macao Monthly: Pompeo spoke time and again on the so-called human rights and birth control issues of Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang on the website of the US State Department and on his Twitter account. Some media outlets say Pompeo has been spurned and ridiculed by U.S. allies, calling him the worst Secretary of State in U.S. history. What is your comment on that?
Hua Chunying: I really don’t want to waste any time describing Pompeo, his character, all the lies he told, rumors he spread, and the poisonous remarks he made, of which I think you all have had enough. I think for Pompeo and his likes, history will pass a fair verdict on the damage he has inflicted on his own credibility as well as the image and reputation of the United States during his tenure as the country’s top diplomat.
Beijing Youth Daily: It has been reported that many respondents to a survey of 15,000 people in 11 European countries, commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, and released on January 19, believe that the American political system is “broken” and that “after electing Donald Trump president in 2016, Americans can no longer be trusted”. I wonder if you have a comment?
Hua Chunying: This serves to show that people can tell right from wrong and justice will prevail. No matter how the likes of Pompeo lie, cheat, spread hatred and confrontation, pursue diplomacy of lies, intimidation and coercion, they cannot escape people’s fair judgement.
Looking back on this U.S. administration, people can judge it squarely and history will make a just evaluation.
CNN: Pompeo just released a statement declaring on behalf of the State Department a determination that China has committed crimes against humanity and genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang. What’s your comment on this? Some say this may trigger international responses. For example, some countries may boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Hua Chunying: Pompeo’s venomous lies in the past several years are too numerous to be counted, and the matter you mentioned is only one of those ludicrous fabrications. To us, Pompeo’s so-called “determination” is nothing more than a piece of waste paper. This notorious liar and cheater is making himself a doomed clown and a joke of the century with his show of lies and madness just before the curtain falls.
Crimes against humanity and genocide are clearly-defined in international law. “China committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang” is a completely false allegation and a malicious farce fabricated and hyped up by certain anti-China, anti-communist forces, with Pompeo being a fanatical pioneer. Such a thing only exists in the ugly political conspiracies of Pompeo and his like. It has never happened, is not happening and will never happen in China!
With great patience, China has time and again elaborated on the facts and truth regarding China’s Xinjiang region. China published eight white papers and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region held 23 press briefings to present with solid figures and facts a life of stability, solidarity and harmony enjoyed by all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. In 2019, domestic and foreign travelers made over 200 million trips to Xinjiang. The region has received 1,200-plus diplomats, journalists and representatives of religious groups from more than 100 countries, who witnessed unity, amity and happiness among various ethnic groups as well as the scenic views of Xinjiang.
The life expectancy of Xinjiang residents grew from 30 to 72 years over the past six decades or so. The Uyghur population increased by 25.04 percent from 2010 to 2018, higher than the increase of the whole Xinjiang population, which stood at 13.99 percent, and much higher than the growth rate of the Han population, which was 2 percent. Languages, traditional cultures and customs of all ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have been well protected and inherited. All residents fully enjoy their rights, including the right to subsistence and development.
China’s Xinjiang has been faithfully implementing the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and lawfully taking preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures, which effectively protected Xinjiang’s security and stability and residents’ safety. There hasn’t been any violent or terrorist case over the past four years or so. China protects workers’ rights and has made a lot of efforts to provide training opportunities and jobs for people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, so as to encourage, assist and support them in shaking off poverty and living a better life through diligence and hard work. During the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government also puts people and life front and center and takes resolute, scientific and decisive measures to protect the safety and health of all people including Uyghurs to the greatest extent possible.
Pompeo’s lies on Xinjiang and other matters are not only major insults on the 1.4 billion Chinese people including 25 million Xinjiang residents, but also major insults on the judgment of American people and the international community. What’s worse, he has betrayed and challenged humanity’s morality and conscience. Pompeo’s neglect of truth and pursuit of lies reflects not only his own despicable character, but also some American forces’ ill intention to interfere in China’s internal affairs, undermine China’s stability and security, and contain China’s development under the pretext of human rights in Xinjiang, which is an entirely fabricated issue serving to smear China and the CPC. But Pompeo and his like should know this: our peaceful and prosperous Xinjiang will not be dragged through mud by their smearing and slander; the 1.4 billion Chinese people of 56 ethnic groups, united closely as seeds of a pomegranate, will not be slowed for a second by their petty distractions in our journey towards the great national rejuvenation. Justice may be late, but it will always catch up. There is no better place than the dustbin of history for Pompeo and all his vicious lies and influence. History will deliver a fair verdict on them and the day of reckoning will come.
As for the ripple effects you asked about, including the possibility of some people boycotting the Winter Olympics, my answer is very clear. China is not the only victim to Pompeo’s poisonous lies and rumors. CNN is also a victim, right? Many American people and the upcoming U.S. administration also loathe their lies and rumors. I believe you have your fair judgment on the credibility of people like him. All normal, rational people with a sober mind can draw conclusions based on facts.
They should realize that Pompeo’s lies and rumors are based on the fabrications made by anti-China scholar Adrian Zenz and Australian Strategic Policy Institute. I believe the U.S. media have a clear understanding of what they have done. For instance, as revealed by an American website, rumors on Xinjiang are part of their publicity blitz against China, including spreading rumors to slander and even demonize China. In particular, they hyped up biased and baseless fallacies to coordinate with anti-China forces in the United States to smear Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts, testifying to the fact that they have no credibility at all. Their fellow countrymen in the United States and Australia have pointed out their lack of integrity, which brings shame to their home country.
If you are interested in the truth of what’s happening in Xinjiang, we surely welcome your visit to China to see Xinjiang with your own eyes, hear the voices from over 25 million Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups, and get to know the mind of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. We’d like to have exchanges and dialogue with them based on equality and mutual respect, so that they can understand the truth. I believe most people in the international community can make independent judgment on this based on facts.
Regarding the Winter Olympics, the preparations are being smoothly carried out. We have confidence that it will be an extraordinary gathering.
CNN: Your answer just now put only Pompeo in the cross-hairs who only has a few hours left in office, but the Xinjiang issue seems to be a bipartisan consensus in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden also answered a similar question in 2019, saying that what happened in Xinjiang is the world’s greatest violation against human rights, and said the United States cannot remain silent on this issue. So it is not just about Pompeo. The new U.S. administration may not choose to change course or reverse relevant policy on this issue. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: As I just said, we are all victims of the lies, rumors and poison that have been unleashed by Pompeo and a few other politicians in Washington over the years. So I think we are on the same page here. What Pompeo accused about Xinjiang is simply non-existent. Then there are those who are simply buying the rumors spread by this U.S. administration and lack a basic understanding of the facts. But as long as they mean no malicious slander or attack against China, they are welcome to have exchanges with us based on equality and mutual respect and to visit China and see for themselves the joy, unity and harmony people of all ethnic groups are enjoying there.
The severe damage to China-US relations over the past four years is caused precisely because this administration has made fundamental mistakes in its strategic perception of China and has viewed China as its biggest strategic competitor, leading to various means to interfere in China’s internal affairs and every effort to suppress, slander and smear China. I don’t think this serves the interests of the people in China or the United States. It’s not the wish of those in the United States who want to see a healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations. I think the new administration should serve the wishes of the people, view China in a rational and objective light, and work with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to put China-US relations back on the track of healthy and stable development as soon as possible.