China Daily: The 2021 UN Chinese Language Day in Vienna held by the Permanent Mission of China in Vienna on July 5. Could you offer more details?
Wang Wenbin: The Permanent Mission of China in Vienna held the 2021 UN Chinese Language Day in Vienna under the theme of "cherishing traditions for colorful future". Ambassadors and senior diplomats from 70 countries and international organizations, and senior officials from international organizations in Vienna attended the event. Previously, the Permanent Mission of China to the UN, the Permanent Mission of China to the UN Office at Geneva and the Mission of China to the African Union had all held celebrations for the 2021 UN Chinese Language Day in various forms including museum tour, lecture, workshop, traditional Chinese culture performance and Chinese-language video competition for foreigners.
We've celebrated the 12th UN Chinese Language Day this year, which was created by the UN in 2010. The Chinese language, written in Chinese characters, embodies the wisdom of the Chinese civilization and is the wealth of all mankind. Chinese, one of the six working languages of the UN, is spoken by the largest number of people in the world. Over the years, the use of Chinese has ensured the effective work of the UN and promoted cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the rest of the world. The Chinese language, with its profound cultural heritage and rich cultural implications, is attracting more and more foreign learners. By the end of 2020, more than 180 countries and regions have introduced Chinese language education, and more than 70 countries have included Chinese in their national education systems. More than 20 million people abroad are learning Chinese, and the cumulative number of Chinese learners and users is close to 200 million. The Confucius Institute, Confucius Classroom and other Chinese language education institutions have also played an important role in helping people around the world learn Chinese and understand China.
Human civilization derives its splendor from diversity and thrives on mutual learning. Language is an important carrier of cultural exchange and mutual learning between civilizations. We are pleased to see that more and more people around the world are learning and using the Chinese language, and more and more questions are raised in Chinese at our regular press conference. We will continue to provide necessary convenience and assistance for friends from other countries to learn Chinese.
Kyodo News: July 11 marks the 60 anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the PRC and the DPRK. The treaty stipulates that it is automatically extended every 20 years. Will this also be the case this year? Considering that the international landscape has changed a lot, don't you think the articles in the treaty should be amended? The new DPRK ambassador to China arrived in China in February. When will China appoint a new ambassador to the DPRK?
Wang Wenbin: According the stipulations of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the PRC and the DPRK, it remains in force unless agreement is reached on its amendment or termination.
As to your second question, the signing of the treaty is a strategic decision made with foresight by the older generation of leaders of the two countries and a major event in the history of bilateral relations. The treaty aims to strengthen China-DPRK friendly cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability. Over the past 60 years, guided by the spirit of the treaty, China and the DPRK have supported and cooperated closely with each other, which has not only given strong impetus to their respective socialist cause, but also made important contributions to regional and world peace and stability.
Under the new circumstances, China is ready to work with the DPRK to inherit the fine tradition and be future-oriented. We will earnestly implement the important common understanding reached by our top-level state and party leadership, follow the requirements of the changing times and common aspiration of the two peoples, push forward the traditional friendship and cooperation, so as to better benefit the two peoples and make contributions to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond.
In state-to-state relations, the rotation of ambassadors is a normal arrangement. I don't have any information to offer with regard to your question about the timing of the rotation of Chinese ambassador to the DPRK.
Bloomberg: Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Age newspaper that he is rejecting Chinese investment deals that he would have approved in recent years because Australia is dealing with "a different China under President Xi Jinping". Frydenberg said that he sees a harshness in their approach that appears to be "unyielding". Does the foreign ministry have any comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: I want to point out that China has never done anything that undermines Australia's sovereignty and interests. We urge relevant people in Australia to discard Cold-War mentality and ideological bias, respect basic facts, view China and China's development in an objective and rational light, and stop hyping up the so-called China threat theory or making irresponsible remarks out of selfish political calculations.
CCTV: We've seen many reports of African political leaders and media rebuking the allegation that China has created debt traps in Africa. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We've stated our position repeatedly on relevant issues. China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries. China also actively supports the G20 consensus on extending the DSSI to the end of this year, and takes part in multilateral debt management appropriately on a case-by-case basis. In addition, China's non-official financial institutions have also taken debt service suspension actions in a comparable manner with reference to the DSSI provisions.
China has long been following the principle of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests in dealing with issues like lending and debt suspension. We translate the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith into concrete actions. The measures China has taken strongly boosted local socioeconomic growth and helped ease their debt burden, receiving the recognition and welcome of relevant countries including those in Africa. President Kagame said recently that China has never forced any country to borrow from it. Presidents of countries including Namibia, Kenya, Senegal, Botswana all openly voiced support for China-Africa investment and financing cooperation. Kenya's People Daily stressed that Chinese loans were all used on specific projects for development cooperation. Gerald Mbanda, a senior media practitioner in Rwanda, exposed with facts and data that Western countries including the US are spinning narratives about China creating debt traps in Africa out of political reason aimed at "creating hatred between African countries and China".
I also noticed a topic trending on Quora: "What happens to African countries when they can't repay their debt to China?" African netizens posted that "people from some western countries who never before cared about Africa have suddenly turned themselves into the protector of Africans, and appear to be concerned about the possibility of Africa being exploited, while in actual fact their concerns spring out of jealousy".
As President Xi Jinping points out, on mankind's journey in pursuit of happiness, no country or nation should be left behind. All countries and nations are entitled to equal development opportunities and rights. China will continue to uphold the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, work with African countries and the international community to implement the Initiative on Partnership for Africa's Development, and contribute more to African countries' development and rejuvenation.
Yonhap News Agency: The Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs Liu Xiaoming had a phone conversation with the US special representative for North Korea. The two sides talked about the peninsular issue. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment? What is the significance of this phone conversation?
Wang Wenbin: On July 6, the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs Liu Xiaoming had a phone conversation with Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea policy at the latter's invitation. The Chinese side stated its position on the Korean Peninsular issue and views on the review results of the US policy on the DPRK, highlighted the need of advancing political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue based on the dual track approach and the phased and synchronized principle. The US side should attach importance to the DPRK's legitimate and reasonable concerns, and support the reconciliation and cooperation between the DPRK and the ROK. The US side expressed its commitment to the political settlement of the Peninsular issue, hope to resume dialogue and contact with the DPRK at an early date, and support for the improvement of relations between the DPRK and the ROK.
Recently, China has maintained communication with parties involved at different levels on the Peninsular issue. Special Representative Liu Xiaoming has been actively engaging in communication with various parties since he took office. China's position on the Peninsular issue is clear and consistent. The Peninsular affairs are on China's doorstep, and China will continue to play a constructive role until lasting peace and stability is realized on the Peninsula.
AFP: Yesterday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Uyghurs who claimed they were detained in internment camps in Xinjiang. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: As we've stressed time and again, issues relating to Xinjiang are not about ethnicity, religion or human rights, but about fighting violent terrorism, extremism and separatism. The crimes of "abuse", "atrocity" or "genocide" can never be attributed to China. US lies and rumors have been exposed by the fact and truth that Xinjiang enjoys stability and prosperity and residents there are leading happy and fulfilling lives. The US attempt to use human rights as a cover to mess up Xinjiang and contain China's development will never succeed.
RIA Novosti: Japanese media earlier reported that the draft of Japan's new cybersecurity strategy for the first time has indications of possible "threats" from China and Russia. It says there are indications that China is conducting cyber attacks to steal information from military-related and high-tech companies, while Russia is pursuing military and political goals. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Japanese side disregards plain facts and maliciously hypes up the so-called threat from neighbors. This is just another example of its lying diplomacy. I noticed that a researcher pointed out earlier that the country that has poor relations with all its neighbors is Japan. The Japanese side should really reflect upon itself and do more things that can help improve political mutual trust with neighboring countries and safeguard regional peace and stability, instead of making an issue out of neighbors to serve its sinister agenda.
As to cybersecurity, the whole world knows which country is obsessed with cyber theft of secrets, tapping and surveillance. This is no secret for anyone. Japan is barking up the wrong tree by smearing China and Russia on this issue. Why is it deliberately fabricating lies? Is it acting under orders to deflect attention from someone?
The Paper: According to reports by US media, a recent poll shows that 69% Americans believe that racial injustice remains a problem in the US, and 60% say they now think racial injustice is a bigger problem than they thought it was before the events of the past 12 months. An academic from the University of California says that racism is a core feature of American social life. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. In the US, racism is a systemic and persistent existence covering every aspect. Racial discrimination is a deep-seated problem of the US society and a serious human rights issue.
It is reported that about 60% African Americans say they have been regularly discriminated against when applying for jobs or shopping, and many often experience discrimination when applying for housing or a loan or claiming insurance. In the US, among persons who are fully vaccinated, 64.3% are White people while only 8.6% are African Americans. What is even more shocking is that African Americans are three times more likely to be killed by the police than Caucasians. Besides African Americans, US racism practices against other minorities such as American Indians, Asians, Latinos and Muslims are also rampant, which have drawn much criticism from the international community.
Racial discrimination in the US is also reflected in its laws. It is difficult for the victims of racial discrimination to protect their rights through legal means. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first US immigration law that discriminated against a specific ethnic group, and its impact lingers till this day. The US has no national standards for hate crimes and no legislation to curb hate speeches and violence online. When it acceded to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, under the guise of "freedom of speech", the US made reservations to the Convention's provisions prohibiting the incitement and spread of racial discriminatory speeches. The UN has repeatedly urged the US to withdraw the reservations, only to be ignored by the US.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech 58 years ago, when asked "when will the devotees of civil rights be satisfied", his first answer was: "We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality". While the choking cry of "I can't breathe" by George Floyd remains a sobering call, another 89 African Americans were gunned down by the police this year by May 21. We hope the US government can face up to its own human rights issues, take concrete actions, and improve the legal mechanism, rather than make irresponsible remarks on others' human rights conditions. Only in this way can Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s wishes truly come true.
Prasar Bharati: Last week, some foreign students who are pursuing studies in China wrote an open letter, asking when China will allow entry of students from other countries especially when the next semester is going to begin in September?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government always attaches high importance to the issue of foreign students coming to China for their studies. On the basis of ensuring safety amid COVID-19, we will consider in a coordinated manner arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies.
Beijing Youth Daily: Recently Eswatini has seen a spate of protests and riots and the situation is still developing. How do you comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: China is highly concerned about the situation in Eswatini and hope the country will realize economic development and improvement of people's livelihood. As COVID-19 continues to spread in Africa, Eswatini still faces a daunting task of fighting the virus and reinvigorating the economy. China stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Eswatini including vaccines to help its people tide over the difficulties.
We also noted that the US, UK and the EU got Taiwan authorities to join them in a statement on the situation in Eswatini. The Taiwan region is part of China's territory and the one-China principle is a universally recognized international norm of international relations. We urge relevant countries and organization to abide by their commitment and stop attempts to create "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan" in the world.
Phoenix TV: White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said at a forum that it's possible for China and United States to coexist in peace; the US does not support Taiwan's independence, but will respond if China takes steps "antithetical to the maintenance of peace and stability". He also said that Beijing is becoming increasingly assertive. Do you have a response?
Wang Wenbin: I think you raised two questions, one on China-US relations and another on China's foreign policy.
On China-US relations, I'd like to say that China's development and progress isn't the result of other's gift or charity, but comes from the hard work of the Chinese people. We hope the US side will adopt a rational and practical China policy, focus on cooperation, manage difference and bring bilateral relations back onto the track of sound and stable development.
China's position on the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. There is but one China in the world, and the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. We urge the U.S. side to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, tread carefully on Taiwan-related issues, and stop sending wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces to avoid damaging China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
On China's foreign policy, General Secretary Xi Jinping just elaborated on it at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC. We hope relevant people in the US will find time to read the transcript carefully. Here I would like to stress a few points.
First, as China grows, the strength for peace in the world also grows. The Chinese nation does not carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes. China remains committed to the ideas of peace, concord, and harmony, an independent foreign policy of peace and a path of peaceful development. We offer Chinese solutions and contribute to political settlement of hotspot issues to safeguard regional and global peace and stability. We always safeguard world peace.
Second, China's development drives global growth. China's development cannot be achieved isolated from the world and global prosperity cannot be realized without China. We adopt a basic national policy of reform and opening-up, uphold an opening-up strategy of win-win cooperation, pursue an ecological-friendly, green and low-carbon development path and work for high quality BRI cooperation. With China's fresh development we offer new opportunities for the world. We always contribute to global development.
Third, what China pursues is the common progress of humanity. China works for the cause of human progress, and stands ready to join hands with all progressive forces to carry forward the shared human values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom. We will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation, to open up rather than close our doors, and to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games. We will oppose hegemony and power politics, and safeguard the international order.
Fourth, China defends international fairness and justice. Chinese people uphold justice and are not intimidated by foreign power. We welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. We will not, however, accept condescending preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us. We will remain committed to the path that we have chosen for ourselves. China will not infringe upon other countries' sovereignty or interfere in other countries' internal affairs. Neither will we allow other countries to do that to us. This is not only to protect China's legitimate rights and interests, but also to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the vast developing world and the basic norms governing international relations.
People's Daily: According to reports, in a letter published by The Lancet on July 5, 24 internationally-renowned scientists rebuked the so-called "lab leak" theory some US politicians are trying to sell. They said that "the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory-leak source of the pandemic remain without scientifically validated evidence". Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I note reports on that. The WHO-China joint mission report clearly states that "a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely". Regrettably, we've seen for quite a while that some in the US are engaging in more and more overt political manipulation. From discrediting China's anti-epidemic achievement to hyping up the China "lab leak" theory, from vilifying the authoritative WHO joint mission report to muffling scientists and experts upholding objectivity, from drawing on intelligence apparatus to investigate to clamoring for a so-called independent investigation that excludes China, these people have but one aim: to shift the blame for their failed epidemic responses to China.
With all their sleight of hand at political manipulation, they cannot alter the fact that it is the US politicians who dismiss science and politicize epidemic response that should be held accountable for the loss of more than 600,000 American lives.
Nor can they alter the authoritative conclusion reached by the WHO joint mission that a global perspective is needed to carry out origin-tracing in multiple countries and regions instead of one area only.
The international community respects science and upholds justice. This trend will not change, either. Attempts to politicize origin-tracing to scapegoat other countries will only end up in failure.
AFP: The main opposition party in Britain, the Labor Party, urged ministers and the royal family to snub the Beijing Winter Olympics unless China allows the UN to probe into rights abuse claims in the Xinjiang region. What is your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We've stressed on multiple occasions that allegations of the so-called "forced labor" and "human rights abuses" are lies of the century concocted by a handful of anti-China individuals.
China firmly opposes the politicization of sports, and the interference in other countries' internal affairs by using human rights issues as a pretext. Attempts to disrupt, obstruct and sabotage the preparation and convening of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games out of political motivation are extremely irresponsible, and will only harm the interests of athletes of all countries and the international Olympic cause. All sectors of the international community, including the governments and Olympic committees of many countries, and the International Olympic Committee, have all expressed their clear opposition to this wrong practice.