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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 21, 2019

Invited by Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, from November 22 to 26, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will lead the Chinese delegation to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nagoya, Japan, pay an official visit to Japan, and co-chair with Foreign Minister Motegi the first meeting of high-level consultation on cultural and people-to-people exchange between China and Japan.

Q: You just announced State Councilor Wang Yi's attendance atthe G20 foreign ministers' meeting and his visit to Japan. Can you tell us more details about his visit and your expectations of it?

A: The G20 is a major platform for international economic cooperation. The international order is currently undermined by unilateralism and protectionism, and the world economy faces greater risks and uncertainties. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will present China's in-depth and thorough views on the world economy, trade, finance and development during discussions on promoting free trade and global governance, sustainable development and Africa in this G20 foreign ministers' meeting. We expect this meeting will help all parties strengthen confidence in upholding multilateralism, firmly grasp the direction of G20 cooperation going forward and work together to address global challenges. On the sidelines of the meeting, State Councilor Wang will also have bilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts for better collaboration an bilateral relations.

During his visit to Japan, State Councilor Wang will meet with the Japanese leaders and representatives from various sectors, have talks with Foreign Minister Motegi, jointly launch the China-Japan high-level consultation on cultural and people-to-people exchange and co-chair the first meeting of this mechanism. State Councilor Wang's visit will be an important step for closer high-level exchange and communication between China and Japan. Through this visit, we hope our two countries will strengthen dialogue, consolidate consensus, manage differences, expand cooperation and jointly keep and build up greater positive momentum for bilateral relations.

Q: Now that the US House of Representatives has passed this Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Could you offer details on how China would react? Yesterday you said that China would take strong countermeasures. Could you offer details on what these are? And could they possibly derail the ongoing trade talks?

A: We strongly condemn and firmly oppose the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by the US Congress. China has made stern representations to the US side.

By passing this act, the US will undermine not only China's interests but also its own interests in Hong Kong. We urge the US to grasp the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it's too late, and immediately take measures to prevent this act from becoming law. The US should immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs.

China will have to take strong countermeasures if the US is bent on having its own way. No one should underestimate China's determination to defend its national sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement the "one country, two systems" policy, and to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Regarding the trade issue, China's position remains clear. We hope the US will work with China to meet each other halfway and find a proper settlement on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. This will be good for the economy of our two countries and beyond.

Q: I'm wondering if you could give us a readout of the meeting that Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaomin had with the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab? And can you clarify when the Chinese side expects to summon UK representatives, because yesterday you said that China would be doing so, summoning the UK side to speak about Simon Cheng's allegation of torture that he has made?

A: I wonder whether you've noticed that the Chinese embassy in the UK already issued a readout on Ambassador Liu Xiaoming's meeting with Foreign Secretary Raab.

I shall stress that the police guaranteed all his lawful rights and interests when Simon Cheng was under detention and he confessed all his offenses.

Yesterday, some of you asked about UK Foreign Secretary Raab summoning Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, and I said I was not aware of that then. But I also said the Chinese ambassador would by no means accept the so-called concerns or representations raised by the UK over this case. Instead, the Chinese ambassador will lodge representations with the UK to express our indignation and concerns.

If you read through the readout issued by the Chinese embassy, you will find my judgment correct. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming lodged representations to the British side then and there. He pointed out that Simon Cheng is a Chinese citizen in Hong Kong, and the case involving him is entirely China's domestic affair. The Chinese police handled the case in accordance with law. The UK's so-called representations are simply unjustifiable. He also expressed indignation and strong opposition to the UK's repeated wrong words and deeds regarding Hong Kong.

Follow-up: Through Simon's account though, what had happened is very different from what the Shenzhen police and the Foreign Ministry have said. Can you comment on the allegations that he made?

A: Like I said yesterday, in August, the police of Luohu District, Shenzhen offered some statements on the case. Simon Cheng was placed under a 15-day administrative detention by police in Shenzhen for violating Article 66 of the Public Security Administration Punishments Law. The police handled the case in strict compliance with law and guaranteed all his lawful rights and interests.

I want to draw your attention to the fact that Simon Cheng confessed all his offenses.

Q: I just want to ask a follow-up question on the bill on Hong Kong passed by the US House of Representatives. The next step for this bill is that it will go to Donald Trump in the White House. Has the Chinese side communicated directly with the White House or does it intend to in regards to stopping this bill?

A: Like I said in my previous answer, we strongly condemn and firmly oppose the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by the US Senate and House of Representatives. China has made stern representations to the US side. We urge the US to grasp the situation, pull back before it's too late, and prevent this act from becoming law.

Q: About cultural and people-to-people exchange between China and Japan. As you announced, State Councilor Wang will chair the first meeting of China-Japan high-level consultation on cultural and people-to-people exchange. I know this year is also the China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year. My question is, how do you evaluate such exchange in bilateral relations between China and Japan?

A: People-to-people exchange has played an unique and important role in the development and improvement of China-Japan relationship. The 2019 China Festival was concluded just recently in Tokyo, during which many Japanese experienced the Chinese culture with enthusiasm. This testifies to the fact that close ties have been forged between our peoples.

You may also recall an activity for friendship between the Chinese and Japanese youngsters, during which as many as 3,000 young Japanese men and women visited China in 1984, which was a highlight in our bilateral relations. In this China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year, our two sides have decided to send 30,000 young people to each other's country for cultural exchange and mutual learning in the next 5 years.

As close neighbors facing each other across a narrow strip of water, China and Japan have all along enjoyed wide-ranging and in-depth cultural and people-to-people exchange. In 2018, 12 million visits were made between our two countries, and every week there were over 1,400 direct flights made between us. China and Japan have more than 250 pairs of sister cities. I believe closer cultural and people-to-people ties are what our two peoples aspire for.

As I announced, one important item on State Councilor Wang's agenda during the upcoming visit is to launch the China-Japan high-level consultation on cultural and people-to-people exchange with the Japanese side and co-chair the first meeting of this mechanism. The two sides will discuss collaboration in culture, education, sports, tourism, media, film and TV programs, youth- and women-related programs, as well as sub-national cooperation. We will jointly plan for exchange programs for the year 2020 with a view to a new pattern of cultural and people-to-people exchange featuring diversification and interaction.

By carrying out the China-Japan high-level consultation on cultural and people-to-people exchange, China is ready to work with Japan to forge closer ties, greater mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples, so that our bilateral relations will be more solid, resilient and heart-warming.

The Foreign Ministry and the People's Government of Qinghai Province will hold an event to present Qinghai Province in the MFA South Building at 4:30pm on November 26. The event will be themed "China in the New Era: Beautiful Qinghai, from the Source of Three Rivers to the World". State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and address the event. Secretary of the CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee Wang Jianjun and Governor Liu Ning will also deliver speeches to present the province. Foreign diplomats in China are invited to speak at the event and mingle with our guests.

Endowed with the source of three major rivers, Qinghai has devoted a lot of efforts in ecological conservation in recent years. Achievements have been made in advancing high-quality development and life. In the upcoming event, you will get to know Qinghai's economic growth, social development, ethnic solidarity and harmonious interaction between man and nature in the past seven decades. Qinghai is a province of green development and beautiful homeland, boasting sound ecology and a happy life style. We hope this event will help people know more about the province and facilitate more cooperation. You are most welcome to cover this event.

As we will host this event to present Qinghai, our press conference will be in recess next Tuesday, November 26, and it will be resumed on the next day which is a Wednesday, November 27. During the recess, if you have any questions, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson's Office via email, fax and WeChat.

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