|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on September 1, 2020|
Xinhua News Agency: Statistics show that for the month of August, China's non-manufacturing PMI came in at 55.2, and readings of this index have been higher than the 50 mark for six consecutive months. The subindex measuring business activity in the service sector rose to 54.3 in August from July's 53.1. We noticed comments from Wall Street Journal and Financial Times that suggest China's measures to enhance domestic consumption are working. Some scholars believe that before the global economic cycle is recovered, China's domestic economic cycle is running, and China's growth is relying more on domestic consumption. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: This is not a diplomatic matter, but it attracts a lot of attention from the international community. Despite the serious impact of COVID-19 this year, the Chinese economy has stayed strong and demonstrated great resilience and enormous potential. China's GDP expanded by 3.2 percent in the second quarter, making China the first economy to register positive growth. As you mentioned, the month of August saw growing demand in China's manufacturing sector and a recovering cycle of supply and demand. This indicates a brighter economic prospect as well as prominent outcomes in China's efforts to coordinate epidemic containment and socio-economic development. IMF forecasts put China as one of the few countries that will maintain positive growth in 2020. According to a latest survey, 99.1 percent of foreign companies in China will continue to invest and operate in China, and 89 percent of the surveyed EU businesses said they are not considering moving their industrial chains out of China. China remains one of the top three investment destinations for most European companies. All of these are, in a sense, a vote of confidence in China's development.
Given the changes in China's development stage, environment and conditions, we have set out the goal of fostering a new, dual-cycle development architecture with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other. This is not a closed domestic loop, but an open dual-cycle of both domestic and international growth. China will further tap into its domestic demand, expand opening-up and share more of its development dividends with the rest of the world. With lower level of tariffs, shorter negative lists, more convenient market access and a more attractive business environment, China will foster an open economy of a higher level, delivering more opportunities to the world.
Global Times: During an interview with a radio show on August 31, Pompeo said that "we will ban the Chinese Communist Party from stealing the information - your information, my information, your kids' information, whoever is using TikTok. We will prevent that information from being placed in the hands of the Chinese national security apparatus and the Chinese Communist Party...Our obligation is to make sure that our people's data doesn't end up in the wrong place...We're going to do everything we can to prevent them from having it." What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: Secretary of State Pompeo has indeed been practicing his own words "we lie, we cheat, we steal", which he blatantly said at a university in Texas. And he's a perfect example. He lies every day on issues of national security. How could TikTok, a social media app for young people to share light-hearted videos like singing and dancing, pose national security threats to the US? Pompeo has been playing up his "China threat" theory around the world, urging others to guard against China "stealing user data". But what about the track record of the US in this regard?
When it comes to telecom theft, the US always ranks the first in the world. In addition to pressuring the AT&T, Verizon and other carriers for data supplies, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been using fake base stations named Dirtbox in its wiretapping programs including the Boundless Informant since more than a decade ago. Through Dirtbox, they simulate signals of base stations to tap into and steal data from cell-phones. As Le Monde reported, thanks to Dirtbox, 62.5 million phone data were collected by the US in France.
Pompeo has been accusing TikTok, WeChat and other apps of being tools for the Chinese government's "infiltration". But in reality, the US is the one that is adept at turning apps into surveillance units. Leaked documents of PRISM have laid this bare. The NSA sees apps as "data mines" with huge reserves of data to be harvested and thus invests heavily to this end. Under the agency's pressure, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Google Map and even Angry Birds were forced to cooperate with it.
An "innovative move" by the US intelligence is to steal secrets through the app store. As revealed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the NSA and intelligence authorities of other Five Eyes countries initiated Project Irritant Horn, which hijacks Play Store to implant spyware on target smartphones or crack down on loopholes. With this program the Five Eyes managed to acquire massive amounts of data by stealing.
As for Clean Cloud, the US is the real gangster of "cloud theft". The Washington Post exposed that the NSA, along with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of the UK, launched a surveillance program called Muscular to frequently break into the cloud servers of Google and Yahoo. They even went so far as to intercept data and direct it to the agencies' own database. This was how hundreds of millions of personal information records were collected.
According to New Zealand Herald, the US had conspired with the New Zealand intelligence to tap the data flowing in the Chinese consulate general in Auckland. To crack into other countries' data, the US has just spared no wire in a Chinese consulate, not to mention the undersea cables, "the intelligence gold mine". It is only natural that the US will take full advantage of them. Der Spiegel, a German magazine, reported over the years that the NSA has tapped into the "SEA-ME-WE-4", the longest submarine fiber-optic cable system connecting Europe and Asia. The Washington Post exposed some of the US' own fiber-optic cable-tapping programs, known by the names Oakstar, Stormbrew, Blarney and Fairview. The Associated Press wrote that the US Navy went out of its way to repurpose a submarine called the USS Jimmy Carter so they could tap fiber-optic cables.
In the 2009 Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review disclosed by the media, the US blithely acknowledges that its intelligence agencies should "conduct cyber operations" and other means against "research facilities" in other countries to help American corporations secure competitive advantages. Documents leaked by Snowden show that the US surveillance program, codenamed Stateroom, ordered the installment of secret signals intelligence equipment in around 100 foreign diplomatic embassies and consulates in other countries for spying purpose. "The Filthy Hypocrisy of America's Clean China-Free Internet" on The Intercept points out that the US vision for a clean network means a China-free network. The policy statement on a clean network is nothing but a piece of xenophobic and nonsensical hypocrisy, and its message is clear: If there's going to be a world-spanning surveillance state, it is the US. Another case in point is the Crypto AG scandal. As you all know, the half-a-century-old Swiss company was proved to be working for the CIA, and the Crypto devices it sold to over 120 countries were ironically tapping equipment.
A basic sense of integrity and honor is necessary for anyone. Faced with the iron-clad facts, we hope these senior US officials will immediately stop slinging mud at China.
Shenzhen TV: The Australian government will launch an inquiry into foreign interference in Australian universities and how China has recruited scholars in the Thousand Talents Plan. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I read reports on that, but I need to verify if it's true.
China is committed to developing relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference. Interfering in other countries' domestic affairs is not in the "genes" of China's diplomacy. As Australia is a close ally of the US, certain Australian people and forces seem to be "infected" with paranoia, dominated by China-phobia and conjectures, to the extent of losing all sense of rationality and justice that they make various accusations against normal educational and people-to-people exchange between China and Australia.
If Australia really wants to conduct serious research on foreign interference, I believe there are many clues. For example, as disclosed by media multiple times, those Australian institutions and individuals taking the lead in fueling hostility towards China have received funding from the US government, and one of them is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Some in Australia revealed that it has long been receiving funds from the US government and arms dealers. Besides, according to ABC News, among the members of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, a body meant to strengthen engagement between the two countries, two have been funded by the US Department of State. This is a fact that is both enlightening and thought-provoking.
During the past 20 years, trade volume between China and Australia has grown from less than 10 billion to 235 billion Australian dollars last year. Over 12,000 Australian companies have set up branches in China. Last year, the number of Chinese students in Australia nearly hit 230,000. Every year over 1.4 million Chinese tourists travel to Australia. China has been Australia's biggest trade partner for 11 years in a row and is now Australia's largest source of international students and tourists. And more promisingly, China has been Australia's most important collaborator on scientific research on account of the number of university research papers and mentions in the top 1 percent of most-cited articles. These are eloquent facts.
As an Australian proverb goes, "Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows." This fits so well with where we now stand. We hope the Australian government, politicians and all those with a rational mind in the country will keep their eyes on the bright future of China-Australia relations and on the sun, rather than on the dark clouds and disturbed by the shadows. We hope Australia will adopt a constructive China policy instead of a destructive one.
CNR: Reports say the University of North Texas decided to end its relationship with the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), asked for the revoke of visas of visiting scholars who receive funding from the CSC, and required those scholars to leave the country within a month. I wonder if you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I noticed reports on that. If it's true, it will be another example of the US undermining its people-to-people exchange with China. I also noticed some in the US have expressed concerns and criticism over this.
Since China and the US established diplomatic ties 41 years ago, exchange of students and other forms of people-to-people exchange has played an important role in enhancing mutual understanding and advancing stable development of relations between the two sides. Chinese students and scholars have contributed greatly to scientific and technological innovation and economic growth in the United States. Statistics from the US show that Chinese students, accounting for one third of all foreign students in the US, contribute over $15 billion to the country every year.
Regrettably, however, out of selfish gains and political motives, some extremist, anti-China forces have been suppressing China's strategic need of development, making numerous lies to stigmatize and demonize Chinese students, and even oppressing Chinese students in the US by abusing judicial power under baseless pretexts. Under such circumstances, I wonder how many Chinese parents can still see their children studying in the US without worrying.
Openness, inclusiveness and diversity were the basis of the US when it was founded. However, the US today is entirely different. It is filled with isolation, hatred and exclusion.
Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. This is a harsh lesson learned from history. We hope the US can view China-US relations more rationally and do more things conducive to bilateral people-to-people exchange. If the US insists on going down the wrong path, its own interests will be hurt in the end.
Beijing Youth Daily: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that "We're going to distrust and then we're going to go verify, and we aim to induce change in the Chinese Communist Party's behavior. America's people deserve it and our national security demands it." Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: The US diplomacy today has stooped to intimidation, lies and sanctions. The top US diplomat is making a living on attacking and smearing China and spreading rumors day after day. With their focus placed on the wrong thing, I believe they are now walking on an erroneous and dangerous path.
Pompeo is ambitious but as a Chinese saying goes, "it is important to know one's own limitations". China has a splendid civilization that has run uninterrupted for 5,000 years, and the CPC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. As a century-old party, it has 92 million members and nearly 20 million applicants for Party membership. According to independent polls conducted by Pew Research Center, Harvard University and other institutions worldwide, the Chinese people's overall support for the CPC and the Chinese government has been over 90% on average, ranking top in the world. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have united as one and achieved strategic success in the fight against COVID-19. As a survey by a Singapore-based research agency suggests, the Chinese people's support and satisfaction towards their government has hit a historical high amid the fight against COVID-19.
With regard to the US, I don't want to spend time talking about its epidemic response since there have been abundant American media reports on that. Eighty percent of Americans surveyed, which is an all-time high, say the country is heading in the wrong direction in surveys conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. People in many countries, including US allies, believe that the current US foreign policy is essentially posing the biggest threat to the world. Renowned scholars worldwide note that it's arrogant and preposterous for a country with a history of less than 250 years to believe that it can change a major country with a political civilization of more than 4,000 years.
Now the world is watching the US with great concerns over its severe racial discrimination, social division, and epidemic response. If those US politicians spreading hatred and division still have the slightest sense of conscience and responsibility for the nation and the people, they should rush to refocus on saving more American lives, and listen to the desperate cries from Floyd, Blake and other ethnic minorities. Instead of talking about the trustworthiness of other countries, Pompeo should first make concrete efforts to earn the trust of the American people.
South China Morning Post: Australian Foreign Minister said Cheng Lei, a host of Australian nationality, was detained in Beijing. Can you confirm that? Also, Chen Xiaodong is no longer serving as Assistant Foreign Minister. Can you tell us what his new post is?
Hua Chunying: I have no specifics for you, but as you know, China is a country upholding the rule of law, and the relevant authorities deal with matters according to law.
Regarding your second question, I'd like to first thank you for your interest in Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong. As diplomats, our posts often change. I think you'll soon know what his new duty is.
Kyodo News: Czech Senate speaker who is on a visit to Taiwan delivered a speech at the "parliament", in which he claimed visiting Taiwan is a correct decision. What's your comment?
Hua Chunying: China's position on the visit by the President of the Czech Senate is very clear. Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned the Czech Republic Ambassador to China and lodged stern representations over Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil's visit to Taiwan.
Tempted by the Taiwan authority, instigated by anti-China forces and driven by selfish gains, Vystrcil insists on visiting the Taiwan region regardless of China's firm opposition and solemn representations. This is open support for "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their activities and has severely infringed upon China's sovereignty and flagrantly interfered in China's domestic affairs. China strongly condemns the move.
There is only one China in the world, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China, which is recognized by the international community. The one-China principle is the Czech Republic's foreign policy and the political basis for China-Czech ties. Vystrcil, as one of the country's leaders, has openly broken international consensus and breached the one-China principle which the Czech government has promised to uphold, severely violating international law and basic norms of international relations. China shall take necessary actions to safeguard its legitimate interests.
We urge those who openly challenge China's sovereignty out of selfish interest to heed China's solemn position and grave concerns, and not to underestimate the firm resolve of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and security. We also call on the Czech people to jointly prevent further harm to China-Czech relations caused by Vystrcil's malicious and shortsighted behavior.
CCTV: US Assistant Secretary of State David R. Stilwell told a virtual forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation that for nearly four decades, US has been guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the three joint communiqués between Washington and Beijing, and the Six Assurances provided by President Reagan to Taipei in 1982. The US has declassified the Reagan-era Six Assurances to Taiwan and they endure today. The latest US move is not a policy change, but significant adjustments well within the boundaries of the one-China policy. He added that the US and Taiwan are establishing a new bilateral economic dialogue to build on the momentum with Taiwan and support it in responding to the pressure from China. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The one-China principle is the political foundation and fundamental premise for the establishment and development of diplomatic relations between China and the US. The so-called Taiwan Relations Act unilaterally promulgated by the US and its so-called Six Assurances to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, seriously breach the basic norms governing international relations and grossly interfere in China's internal affairs. They are completely wrong, illegal, null and void, and the Chinese government is firmly opposed to them right from the start. The US should abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, rather than the Taiwan Relations Act or the Six Assurances.
I want to stress that the Taiwan question bears on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and China's core interests. No one should underestimate China's firm determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, make no attempts to change the nature of its relationship with Taiwan, stop conducting any official exchange with Taiwan, and refrain from moving further down the wrong and dangerous path.
FSN: A question about Cheng Lei. There are lots of reports speculating that her detention may be in some way linked to her nationality and to Australia's relationship with the US. What would you say to that?
Hua Chunying: Like I said, I'm not aware of the specifics related to Cheng Lei and I refer you to the competent authorities. China values our relations with Australia. That said, the development of bilateral relations requires efforts made by both sides. I'd like to stress one more thing. China always upholds the rule of law. Unlike some other countries, we don't practice unlawful deeds in the name of the law.
China News Service: The World Bank said in a statement that it has suspended issuing this year's Doing Business report because a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the previous Doing Business reports. Media say the revised ranking involves China and other economies. What is China's comment on that?
Hua Chunying: China has noted the relevant statement issued by the World Bank. We urge the World Bank to conduct internal investigations in accordance with the principles of fairness, objectivity and transparency and the rules and procedures of multilateral institutions, so as to earnestly safeguard the reputation of the World Bank and its member states, as well as the professionalism and credibility of the Doing Business report.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to improving its business environment, adheres to world-class standards, and continuously deepens reforms to delegate power, streamline administration and optimize government services so as to stimulate the vitality of market players and the creativity of social sectors. Last year, China has seen on average a net increase of 10,000 Chinese companies per day, and annual foreign direct investment registered a 2.4 percent year-on-year increase to US $138.1 billion. These real achievements are recognized and applauded by the international community. China will remain committed to deepening reform and creating a market-oriented and law-based business environment that meets international standards so as to create a favorable environment for high-quality economic development.
Prasar Bharati: Both India and China are saying that they are in regular touch through military and diplomatic channels. Still, after three months, complete disengagement is nowhere in sight. India has been consistently demanding that status quo of April be restored. I wonder if there is any comment from your side?
Hua Chunying: On the boundary issue that is left over from history, China always believes that a fair and reasonable agreement can be reached by the two sides through peaceful and friendly consultations. For some time, the two sides have been in touch and in talks at various levels and making efforts to seek peaceful settlement to the boundary issue and jointly safeguard peace and stability of the border areas.
But on August 31, in violation of the consensus reached by China and India through talks and meetings at various levels, the Indian troops again illegally crossed the LAC at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Mountain, which are in the western sector of the China-India boundary. Their flagrant provocations again led to tensions. The Indian side has severely undermined China's territorial sovereignty, breached bilateral agreements and important consensus, and damaged peace and tranquility in the border areas, which runs counter to the recent efforts made by both sides for de-escalation of tensions on the ground. China firmly opposes such a move and has lodged stern representations with the Indian side. We urge India to immediately stop all provocations, withdraw its troops who illegally crossed the LAC, and refrain from any moves that may escalate tensions or complicate matters.
Prasar Bharati: Both the Indian and Chinese sides have been saying that the other side has taken provocative steps. To clear the confusion among us, can you throw some light on it?
Hua Chunying: What India said may differ from what China said, but there's only one simple truth.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China more than 70 years ago, we have never initiated a war or conflict, and never taken an inch of land that is not ours. In fact, China's border troops have been strictly abiding by the LAC and they've never trespassed. The Indian side should respect facts and take concrete actions with the good will of preserving China-India relations, so as to jointly preserve peace and tranquility of the border areas.
We've noted that some Indian media have reported extensively on India deploying more troops in the border areas. If proven true, such a move runs counter to the shared wish of the two peoples, which is to live in peace and ensure a sound and steady development of China-India relations. We hope that India will take China's concerns seriously and take concrete actions to ensure the peace and tranquility of the border areas and the sound development of China-India relations.
Beijing Daily: We have noted that US Assistant Secretary David Stilwell said in a video forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation yesterday that the recent changes in US policy are mainly due to the growing threat from Beijing. We have also noted that the Washington Post published an article yesterday criticizing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for manipulating US foreign policy to achieve his political ambitions, which has caused the most serious damage to US foreign policy in decades, making him the worst secretary of state in US history. What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: The remarks by David Stilwell are meant to confuse right and wrong. The first duty of a diplomat should be to promote mutual understanding and friendly cooperation. Yet regrettably, the US foreign policy today has turned into diplomacy of coercion, sanctions, lying and scapegoating.
Some senior US diplomats are making their living by attacking and smearing China. They are busy fabricating lies, spreading hatred, interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and even blatantly associating with separatists and terrorists for the purpose of suppressing other countries. They disregard international rules, trample on fairness and justice, and too often withdraw from international agreements and organizations. The US now becomes the biggest perpetrator undermining the existing international order. This is both a misfortune for the US and a threat to the world. I also read the report you mentioned. Even the American press has felt distressed about and been fed up with the administration's diplomatic performance.
A person should at least have some integrity and honor, and a country should at least have some sense of responsibility. We hope the US can behave like a major country and shoulder its due responsibilities. If it cannot step up to play a more positive role for world peace and stability, then the least it can do is to restrain itself from making trouble.
Reuters: The Pentagon said last Friday that another 11 Chinese firms have been added to a list of those that are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, potentially laying the ground for new sanctions on these firms. Do you have any comment on this?
Hua Chunying: This again proves that the US foreign policy becomes nothing but diplomacy of sanctions. It is pathetic that they are busy all day lying, cheating, shifting the blame, smearing China, threatening to impose sanctions, and announcing sanctions against other countries.
China has made clear our position on multiple occasions on the US unwarranted oppression against Chinese companies. The US identifying 11 Chinese companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military lacks both legal basis and evidence. We firmly oppose that. The US has time and again stretched the concept of national security and abused national power to suppress certain Chinese companies, which is in serious violation of market principles and international trade rules, of which the US is a self-claimed champion.
I'd like to stress that Chinese companies that do business overseas have been strictly observing laws and regulations of their host countries, including the US. They are committed to market principles and the rule of law. With the respect for market rules and norms, Chinese companies are ready to continue conducting win-win cooperation with other countries. We hope the US will stop suppressing certain foreign businesses under the pretext of national security. I don't think such moves will do any good to the United States itself.
China Daily: Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee passed away on August 31 at the age of 85. How does China comment on his role in promoting the development of China-India relations during his tenure? Will China express its condolences to the Indian side?
Hua Chunying: Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was a veteran statesman and leader of India. He visited China multiple times and contributed to the development of China-India relations. As we recall, in 2014, he and Chinese leader announced the decision to build a closer developmental partnership. His death is a loss to the Indian people and to the friendly cause between China and India. We express our deep condolences over the passing of former President Pranab Mukherjee and our sincere sympathies to his loved ones.