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Press Release of the Embassy
Why should PNG-China relations be pondered?

When reading The National 's Opinion on June 30 entitled PNG and China – a relationship to ponder, we were stunned by the wild rhetoric. The author of the article apparently has a deep prejudice against China and the cold war mentality still lingers strongly in his mind. It seems to us that he is advocating the severance of the diplomatic ties between Papua New Guinea and China. It is perilous and against the trend of the times. New China grows from a semi-feudal and semi-colonial state to a prosperous developing one. She initiated and adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. She has diplomatic relations with more than 160 countries the world over. She is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations and a staunch force in preserving world peace and promoting common development.

Since its founding, the People's Republic of China has made great progress in its efforts to build its democratic and legal systems, and people's civil rights and political rights are maintained and guaranteed by law. China's Constitution clearly states that "All power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people." The organs through which the people exercise state power are the National People's Congress and local people's congresses. Deputies to the people's congresses at all levels are elected in line with the constitutional procedure, and are responsible to and accept supervision from the people.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to human rights and made unremitting efforts in this regard. China has joined 18 human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right. It must be pointed out that some western countries have not joined this Covenant now.

China is a developing country with a long history and a huge population. To promote democracy in such a country, China cannot copy the model of the developed Western countries, nor can it follow the example of other developing countries. China can only proceed from its own reality and explore a road with its own characteristics. China guarantees, according to law, that citizens enjoy extensive basic freedoms and rights. The Constitution clearly states that citizens enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, assembly, association, procession, demonstration and religious belief. And most importantly, the Chinese government has always put the people's rights to subsistence and development first, focused on economic construction, and improving the living standards of its people. The GDP of China in 2002 reached 1.3 trillion US dollars, which ranks China the sixth in the world economy. How could China achieve such eye-catching economic miracle in two decades' time without giving full play to the creativity of enthusiasm of its people.

But we never impose our social system and ideology on others, nor allow other countries to impose theirs on us. China advocates that countries should surmount their differences in social system and ideology, respect one another, seek common ground and shelve differences and enhance their mutually beneficial cooperation. China's socialist democracy enjoys strong vitality and superiority, and the Chinese people have full confidence in the road to development they have chosen and will press ahead with political development under socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Freedom of religious belief is a basic right enjoyed by all Chinese citizens. China is a country with a great diversity of religious beliefs. Citizens of China may freely choose and express their religious beliefs, and make clear their religious affiliations. There are over 100 million followers of various religious faiths, more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. At present, China has 14 million Christians, 22,000 clergy and more than 16,600 churches. They run their own affairs independently.

All normal religious activities are protected by law as the affairs of religious bodies and believers themselves may not be interfered with. Nevertheless, "Falun Gong" is not religion but a pernicious cult. The founder of "Falun Gong" Li Hongzhi claims that he is the reincarnation of Buddha. He said the world was to explode and it was him who had postponed its explosion. He accused the human beings as the rubbish falling down from the universe, and claimed that only by practising "Falun Gong" can one go to the heaven. He boasted that he had pleaced a wheel of law in the abdomen of every  "Falun Gong" practitioner which rotated under his command to accumulate energy to eliminate disasters and cure diseases. So "Falun Gong" practitioners do not need to have medince when they fall ill. As a result, many practitioners refused to see doctors or take medication for their illnesses, sometimes going so far as to injure or kill themselves.

Li Hongzhi also accused those who prevent practitioners from believing and practising "Falun Gong" are demons who should be killed. It happened that some "Falun Gong" practitioners even killed their parents and spouses, causing grave disaster. So far "Falun Gong" has caused more than 1600 deaths in China. In accordance with law and the wish of the people, "Falun Gong" was banned by the Chinese government. "Falun Gong" is no difference than the "People's Temple", the "Branch Davidians", and "Aum Shinrikyo". In order to protect people's lives and to maintain social stability, the banning of the cult organizations is the only way out for any responsible government.

Tibet is part and an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. For more than 700 years the central government of China has continuously exercised sovereignty over Tibet. As early as in the 13th century, the famous Italian scholar Marco Polo described Tibet as a province of China. During the Indian Prime Minister's visit to China in June 2003, he reiterated the Indian government's position that Tibet is part of the territory of China and it would not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India.

Taiwan has also been part of China's sacred territory since ancient times. The Taiwan question is in essence a struggle between the forces for and against division, and between the forces for and against "Taiwan independence". There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is a province of China. This fact is recognized by more than 160 countries in the world including Papua New Guinea. China will unswervingly implement the fundamental policy of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems". Both the mainland of China and Taiwan belong to one China. China's state sovereignty and territorial integrity tolerate no separation. The early reunification of China is the common aspiration of all the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan.

China is implementing an independent foreign policy of peace. To strengthen its solidarity and cooperation with numerous developing countries is one fundamental element of China's foreign policy. China and these countries share common historic experiences and are faced with the common tasks of maintaining national independence and economic development, and safeguarding world peace and stability. China is still a developing country. Though recent years have witnessed significant improvement of China's overall national strength, when it comes to the per capita GDP, there is not much difference between China and PNG. Nevertheless, China stands ready to offer assistance within its capacity to many developing countries, to help them develop national economy and improve people's living standards. Although China's aid is limited, it is provided sincerely and without any conditions attached.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, the Chinese Government has within its ability provided PNG with economic assistance and quite a few technical and development projects. The Sir John Guise Stadium built and renovated by the Chinese Government has become an ideal venue for sports and social gathering. We helped upgrade the Taurama Military Hospital and also sent a medical team of specialists to work in the POM General Hospital at our expenses. The recent years have seen a more robust growth of China's aid of technical and development projects of agriculture, such as the cultivation of wheat, dry rice, juncao (mushroom), vegetables and livestock. The total amount of China's economic aid has accumulated to hundreds of millions of Kina. We are very pleased to notice that all the aid projects provided by the Chinese Government have already benefited the PNG people. Do these Chinese aid in any way harm the interest of the PNG people? Why the PNG people should ponder the sincerity and benefit of these Chinese aid?

The Chinese aid has been widely recognized and highly commended by the PNG Government and its people. More importantly, since China and PNG established diplomatic relations 27 years ago, substantial achievements have been registered in the friendly bilateral relations, especially in the field of trade and economic cooperation. While the Sino-PNG relationship is entering a new era of development, we couldn't help asking what are the motives of the provocative and presumptuous allegations on the newspaper. Where does the author wish to guide the Sino-PNG relationship to by these irresponsible comments?

We would like to take this opportunity to remind the good readers to be vigilant against any activities aiming at undermining the 27-year-old friendship between China and PNG. It is our sincere hope that the local media will report on China and its relations with PNG in a just and objective way, so as to further enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries. As the saying goes, seeing is believing. We warmly welcome all Papua New Guineans including the media friends to visit China to see for themselves what new China looks like and could share their impressions and opinions with all the readers of The National.
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