Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 4, 2021
Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend a high-level dialogue with European entrepreneurs via video link in Beijing on February 5. He will make a speech and exchange views with the entrepreneurs.
CCTV: A event themed “Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land” was jointly held by China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland and the Xinjiang regional government via video link on February 3. Could you offer more information on that?
Wang Wenbin: A webinar titled “Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land” was jointly held by China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and the government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on February 3 to introduce Xinjiang’s socioeconomic development achievements and people’s living conditions there to diplomats from more than 50 countries, including nearly 20 ambassadors. The online event also attracted the participation of officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN human rights experts.
At the event, a series of video clips reflecting Xinjiang’s natural scenery, development achievements and people’s happy life were played for the audience. Abdureqip Tumulniyaz, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Head of Xinjiang Islamic Association and Principal of Xinjiang Islamic Institute, and Muhtiram Sherip, the Imam of Yanghang Mosque in Urumqi City, further introduced how religious freedom is guaranteed in Xinjiang. Representatives of graduated trainees from former vocational education and training centers attended the event and talked about how they got rid of extremist ideologies and how their lives have been changed after learning skills and graduating from the centers. Popular livestreaming broadcasters, “relatives” of “Family of Ethnic Unity” in which Han officials have paired up with families of Uyghur groups as friends, Uyghur mothers and workers told their personal stories on how Xinjiang has shaken off extreme poverty, developed e-commerce, protected traditional culture, offered free education and maternal and child health-care, and promoted solidarity and unity among people of all ethnic groups.
Russian and Pakistani ambassadors said that Xinjiang’s development and people’s happy life are really inspiring and helpful for the diplomatic circle in Geneva to get to know the real Xinjiang in an all-round and accurate way. Many diplomatic representatives recalled their visits to Xinjiang and spoke highly of the Chinese government’s commitment to promoting sustainable development, safeguarding social order, protecting human rights, and improving people’s livelihoods. They also expressed firm opposition to politicizing human rights issues and using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
Bloomberg: The Australian government is calling for the UN to be granted access to Xinjiang. They are looking for immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang. Does the foreign ministry have any comment about this statement from Australia?
Wang Wenbin: This morning, I went back to the readout of the special press conference held by the government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in Beijing on February 1. At the meeting, a senior official of the Xinjiang government said that Xinjiang is following the right path and everything it does is aboveboard and honest. There is nothing underhand. We welcome people from foreign countries, including relevant officials of the new U.S. government, to visit Xinjiang.
As for the UN’s visit to Xinjiang, I can tell you that China has extended invitation long ago to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and we are in communication on this with the UNHCHR. We welcome fair-minded foreigners to visit Xinjiang and learn the real situation there. At the same time, we are firmly opposed to interference in China’s internal affairs by any country or individual under the pretext of human rights, and to the hyping-up of the so-called “investigation” in Xinjiang by someone who is already convinced that we are guilty.
Global Times: The spokesperson of the US State Department said that he is deeply concerned about the report on systematic sexual assault and abuse against women in Xinjiang, and the Chinese government should allow international observers to immediately carry out independent investigations into these appalling charges. We have also noted that the BBC report said that it acquired the latest and detailed testimony pointing to the existence of systematic sexual assault and abuse against women in Xinjiang. Anti-China scholar Adrian Zenz said that the testimony collected by the BBC offers authoritative and ample evidence on these sexual crimes. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, I have already refuted the BBC report and cleared out the situation. Today, I have several more points to add.
First, there is no so-called “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. The vocational education and training centers set up in Xinjiang in accordance with laws are schools. They are no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK, or the de-radicalization centers in France. They are all active steps to realize preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization goals so as to cut off terrorism and religious extremism at the source. They are in line with the principles and the spirit embodied in a number of international documents on counter-terrorism, such as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. As for more details about the vocational education and training centers, we have talked abundantly about them, and you can also read a white paper titled Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang published by the State Council Information Office in August 2019.
Second, there is no so-called “systemic sexual abuse and mistreatment against women”. China is a country with rule of law. Respecting and protecting human rights is a basic principle of our Constitution, and it’s embodied in our legal system and government’s work. Since the founding of the PRC, we have achieved unprecedented progress in women’s liberation and development. Women of all ethnic groups enjoy political rights, rights relating to culture and education, rights of labor and social security, rights relating to property, right of person, and rights relating to marriage and family.
The vocational education and training centers strictly follow the Constitution and law, guarantee the basic rights of trainees, and forbid any insult or abuse on them. At the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s press conference in Beijing on February 1 and the “Xinjiang Is A Wonderful Land” webinar co-held on February 3 by China’s permanent mission to the UN Office at Geneva and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, there were female graduates talking about how they got rid of extremist ideologies, learned labor skills and lived a normal life. You may read media reports on it.
Third, regarding Xinjiang’s economic and social development, the Chinese side has published eight Xinjiang-related white papers, and the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has held 25 press conferences. More than 1,200 diplomats, journalists and representatives of religious groups from more than 100 countries have visited Xinjiang. In the face of these facts and truths, all the lies and disinformation cooked up by anti-China forces will collapse.
We hope that certain people in the US administration will respect Xinjiang’s achievements in stability and development, heed the call of Xinjiang’s 25 million people of all ethnic groups, respect facts, and act responsibly, instead of being misled by fake news produced by certain media. We firmly oppose any external interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues, and will resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests.
Recently we’ve seen so many badmouthing disinformation against Xinjiang and China. Several names have repeatedly come up in them, like the BBC.
In a BBC interview with a Uyghur woman named Zumrat Dawut on July 17, 2020, the latter came up with all sorts of testimonies. However, they all turned out to be lies. For example, she claimed to have been detained in a “re-education camp”, but the fact is she never studied in any vocational education and training center in Xinjiang. She also claimed she was forced to undergo “forced sterilization” with a hysterectomy, but the fact is when she was giving birth to her third child in the maternity wards of a women and children’s hospital in Urumqi in March 2013, she sighed a childbirth consent form voluntarily, requesting “to have a cesarean section and tubal ligation”, and then the hospital conducted operation as she required. She was never sterilized, not to mention a hysterectomy. She also claimed that her father was detained and investigated several times by the Xinjiang authorities and died recently from unclear causes. However, the fact is that her father stayed with the family until he died of heart disease on October 12, 2019 and was never detained or investigated. Zumrat Dawut’s two elder brothers have offered clarifications on all these.
This woman has become an actor and a tool for anti-China forces’ attacks on and hyping up of Xinjiang.
Another familiar name is Adrian Zenz. Adrian Zenz is a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a far right-wing organization established in 1983. He makes a living from fabricating Xinjiang-related rumors and slanders against China. His reports and remarks have been proven to be falsehoods by facts. He fabricated a so-called “Karakax (Moyu) List” where the most frequently cited internment reason was a violation of birth control. In fact, most of the people on the list are local residents of the Moyu county, who have been leading a normal life there. Only a very small number of people who have been affected by religious extremism and committed minor crimes have received vocational education and training in accordance with the law. In his reports, normal police recruitment in Xinjiang is depicted as preparing enforcement personnel for so-called “detention operations”; the “Fanghuiju activity”, which is meant to learn people’s needs and difficulties by paying visits to households and which is also well-received among all ethnic groups, is described as making preparations for “detention operations”; boarding school and pre-school education which is to fully ensure children’s education is imagined as “means to take care of the left-behind children” whose parents were taken away by “detention operations;” and ethnic minorities choosing of their own volition to work outside their villages is portrayed as “forced labor.” Such far-fetched, ridiculous fabrications have only revealed that nothing is off-limits for him when he lies to serve his purpose, and his arrogance and unhinged state are fully exposed.
When these facts and truths are out, next time people hear and see reports from BBC and Adrian Zenz on Xinjiang, a question mark will naturally come to their minds – “Will this be another lie about Xinjiang?”
CCTV: Gavi said that the goal of COVAX aims to distribute at least 330 million doses of vaccines to poorer countries in the first half of this year. As you announced China’s plan to offer 10 million doses to COVAX yesterday, we’d like to have more details on that. How will this be arranged? What about the prices of these vaccines?
Wang Wenbin: As I said yesterday, at the request of the WHO, China has decided to offer 10 million doses of vaccines to COVAX, mainly to meet the urgent need of the developing world. The containment situation faced by all countries is still very serious, and China is also facing a huge domestic demand for vaccines. But still, we will do whatever can be done to promote the equitable distribution of vaccines. Vaccine should be made a global public good accessible and affordable to people in the developing countries, instead of a luxury for the privileged. We hope that all countries, with the capacity to do so, will engage actively and take real steps to support COVAX, and ensure timely vaccine access for the developing world. For mankind to achieve the final victory over the virus as early as possible, every member of the international community should pitch in.
As for the prices of the vaccines, vaccines produced with different technologies will cost differently. But one thing for sure is that China will honor its pledge of making vaccines a global public good and offer its vaccines at fair and reasonable prices.
Reuters: Taiwan has opened a representative office in Guyana. Do you have any comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: 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. We hope relevant party will abide by the one-China principle, refrain from any form of official exchanges and establishment of official institutions with Taiwan, take concrete actions to correct the error and eliminate the negative effects. We solemnly warn the DPP authorities that any attempt to solicit foreign support and engage in separatist activities in the international arena will never succeed.
Associated Press: In Turkey, there’s recently been an uptick of the number of Uyghur Chinese citizens who have been sent to deportation centers. At the same time, China has ratified an extradition treaty with Turkey, and Turkey is expected to debate it in parliament soon. The three sub-questions are: first of all, some people suspect that this extradition treaty is aimed at extraditing Uyghurs to China. What is your comment? The second question is, some people in Turkish parliament have said that vaccines from China have been delayed in their shipment to Turkey, and they suspected that China intentionally delaying the vaccines to Turkey is to put pressure on Turkey to pass the extradition treaty. Is that the case? If so, could you explain what exactly the nature of this deal is?
Wang Wenbin: First of all, I can tell you that on December 26 last year, the 24th Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress of China decided to ratify the extradition treaty between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Turkey, which was signed by China and Turkey in Beijing in May 2017. The conclusion of the extradition treaty between China and Turkey is conducive to consolidating the legal basis for bilateral judicial cooperation, providing institutional guarantee for the joint fight against transnational crimes. It will also help with better protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and Turkish citizens and enterprises, and promoting the development of China-Turkey relations, which serves the interests of both sides.
I can also tell you that on the issue of vaccine cooperation, China and Turkey have conducted rapid and effective cooperation on anti-epidemic supplies, epidemic control experience sharing, vaccine clinical trials, among other aspects, which has won the support of the Turkish government, political parties and all sectors of society in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and leaders of the National Movement Party (MHP) and the Good Party have been inoculated with the Chinese vaccine, showing their full trust to the Chinese vaccine while making positive comments on the vaccine cooperation between China and Turkey.
So the speculation you just mentioned is groundless.
Bloomberg: President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that she knows of “no reason” why Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies shouldn’t stay on restricted lists. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on Ms. Raimondo’s statement?
Wang Wenbin: I made clear China’s position at this podium yesterday. I want to reiterate that the previous U.S. administration and some anti-China politicians, in order to maintain the US monopoly and hegemony in science and technology, abused state power and resorted to all means to crack down on Huawei and other Chinese high-tech enterprises. This negates the market economy principles the U.S. side has claimed to champion and reveals its hypocrisy in touting so-called fair competition. We urge the U.S. side to stop abusing the concept of national security and oppression of Chinese companies.
Yonhap News: US President Biden and ROK President Moon Jae-in talked over the phone today, reaching agreement on realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Both believe it’s necessary to formulate a framework strategy towards the DPRK. They also discussed strengthening the US-ROK alliance. Do you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Korean Peninsula issue is consistent and clear. Under current circumstances, we hope relevant parties will make active efforts to address their respective legitimate concerns in a balanced way, advance the political settlement process and realize lasting peace and stability on the Peninsula. We also hope that the development of ROK-US relations will be conducive to promoting regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.
Reuters: The UN Secretary-General has urged the world to make sure the military coup in Myanmar that happened earlier this week fails. Does China support the UN Secretary-General and agree that the coup should fail?
Wang Wenbin: As Myanmar’s friendly neighbor, China hopes that parties in Myanmar will put people’s will and interests first and properly handle differences within the constitutional and legal framework through dialogue to safeguard political and social stability. At the same time we also believe that the international community should foster an enabling external environment for the proper resolution of differences in Myanmar. Whatever actions taken by the UN Security Council shall contribute to Myanmar’s political and social stability, promote its peace and reconciliation, and avoid escalating the conflict and complicating the situation.
AFP: Nine US lawmakers have nominated Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement for the Nobel Peace Prize. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to people who have truly contributed to safeguarding and promoting world peace and development. Meddling in China’s internal affairs by using Hong Kong as a cover or hyping up the Nobel Peace Prize to bolster anti-China elements seeking to disrupt Hong Kong will only hurt the image and reputation of the United States. A word of advice to the few US politicians: view China in an objective and rational light, stop using Hong Kong-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and do more to promote China-US relations.
Reuters: The U.S. warship McCain transited the Taiwan Strait on February 4th, according to the US Navy, marking the first time since President Biden was inaugurated that this has happened. Does the foreign ministry have any comments?
Wang Wenbin: China paid close attention to and monitored from start to end the passage of the US military vessel through the Taiwan Strait.
China will continue to stay on high alert and is ready to respond to all threats and provocations at any time, and will resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope the US side will play a constructive role for regional peace and stability, rather than the opposite.
South China Morning Post: According to Japanese media reports, member of the LDP and House of Representatives Takashi Nagao expressed concern over China’s Coast Guard Law which came into effect the other day and is planning to head to the waters of Diaoyu Dao in support of fishing activities of fishermen in Okinawa Prefecture. Japanese and British foreign and defense ministers expressed strong concerns over the above-mentioned law in a two-plus-two meeting yesterday. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: First of all, I would like to say that formulating the Coast Guard Law is a regular legislative activity in China, which is in line with international practice and what other countries do. China’s legislative process is open and transparent. We hope relevant countries can view it in an objective and correct way instead of hurling groundless suspicions and accusations.
Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory. China firmly upholds territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China and Japan should manage differences through dialogue in accordance with the four principled consensus between the two countries and safeguard peace and stability in relevant waters.
In the meantime, I also want to point out the fact that the cooperation between relevant countries should ensure that it does not harm the interests of a third party, the mutual trust between regional countries or regional peace and stability. China is firm in its resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and stands ready to continue to properly handle differences with countries concerned through consultation and negotiation.
Phoenix TV: Today is exactly one year away from the opening of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. On February 3, seven US Republican senators introduced a resolution, alleging that “China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang” and urging the International Olympic Committee to rebid the 2022 Olympics so they can be hosted by another country. What’s your comment?
Wang Wenbin: A handful of US politicians are politicizing sports against the spirit of the Olympic Charter. China is firmly opposed to this. We have noted that relevant sides in the world including the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) all reject the wrong practice of politicizing sports.
Today we start the one-year countdown to the opening of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Even as the outbreak of COVID-19 cast a pall over our world, China never stopped preparation for the Games. Currently China has successfully contained the epidemic at home and realized economic recovery, creating a favorable condition for hosting the Beijing Games. While strictly enforcing prevention and control measures, we strive to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and make steady progress in preparation. To date, construction of 12 competition venues in three zones have been completed as scheduled, organization work is proceeding in an orderly manner, support teams are being assembled, international exchange and cooperation is deepening, and efforts in sustainable development and heritage are also making progress. Just as President Xi Jinping stressed during a phone call with IOC President Bach, China will surely complete all preparation work as scheduled and be ready in all aspects to ensure the Games will be a full success. As Beijing becomes the only city to host the Summer and Winter Olympics, it will make unique contributions to the international Olympic Movement. We have every reason to believe that after 365 days, friends filled with passion from all over the world will gather in China for a great Olympic event!
The issues Xinjiang face are about terrorism and separatism, not about human rights, ethnicity or religion. The “genocide” allegation is the lie of the century concocted by extremely anti-China forces. It is a preposterous farce aiming to smear and vilify China. It is a mad show put together by certain people as they are about to meet the end on their anti-China path. These groundless accusations and attacks couldn’t be further from the truth. They only exist in these people’s ugly political plots and are doomed to end in the dustbin of history.
From 2010 to 2018, the population of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang increased by 2.5469 million, or 25.04 percent, much higher than the 2 percent growth rate of the Han population over the same period. At present, Xinjiang enjoys social stability and people are leading fulfilling lives. There has been unprecedented progress in socioeconomic development and improvement of livelihood. For over four years in a row, Xinjiang has not seen a single violent terrorist case. Besides, the number of criminal cases and events jeopardizing public order and public security has seen a dramatic drop. Residents’ average life expectancy has grown from over 30 years six decades ago to 72. The “genocide” label can by no means be pinned on Xinjiang. No matter how anti-China elements try to fool the world with their tricks, they cannot stop China’s development, nor can they escape the reckoning of history or the punishment of justice.