|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 26, 2021|
CRI: Chinese ambassador to Germany Wu Ken said in an interview with WirtschaftsWoche that China has invited representatives of the EU and its member states to visit Xinjiang, but is still waiting for their reply. Can you confirm this invitation extended by China? Why hasn't the visit been made yet?
Wang Wenbin: China welcomes people from all over the world to visit Xinjiang. Over the past years, more than 1,200 diplomats, journalists and religious personnel from over 100 countries visited Xinjiang and saw the region with their eyes, knowing that what they witnessed was entirely different from some Western media reports. China welcomes the EU officials and EU member states' diplomats stationed in China to visit Xinjiang, and has extended multiple invitations and made meticulous arrangements to satisfy their request to the best extent, showing the maximum sincerity and flexibility. Regrettably, however, the EU side has been postponing the visit, raising unreasonable demands and even asking to see criminals sentenced for engagement in separatist activities. It made us feel that the EU side doesn't have the interest in visiting Xinjiang if China doesn't take orders from it. This is apparently a provocation that neglects Chinese laws and interferes in China's judicial sovereignty. Xinjiang's door is wide open to the world, and China's invitation and sincerity remain unchanged. However, the visiting delegation shouldn't be an "investigation task force" with the presumption of guilt.
NOS: Yesterday the Dutch House of Representatives passed a motion calling China's actions in Xinjiang "genocide". It was the first European parliament to do so. What's your response to that? Is there indeed a genocide going on in Xinjiang? Also, as you were referring in your first answer to the EU, would you be willing to give meaningful access to Xinjiang to truly independent observers? Does this motion have any consequences for the relationship between China and the Netherlands?
Wang Wenbin: Some facts first. Since 1978 to 2018, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang grew from 5.55 million to 12.71 million. That means the Uyghur population in Xinjiang more than doubled over the past four decades or so. Between 2010 and 2018 alone, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang increased by 25 percent. This figure is higher than the total population growth rate in Xinjiang and 10-plus times higher than that of the Han population during the same period. I would like to ask lawmakers in the Dutch parliament who supported the so-called "motion": with the above-mentioned numbers in mind, how do they justify the passing of the so-called "motion"?
This motion of the Dutch House of Representatives disregards facts and legal common sense. It represents an intentional effort to smear China and a blatant interference into China's internal affairs. China strongly condemns and firmly rejects that.
In essence, Xinjiang-related issues are about countering violent terrorism, radicalization and separatism. They concern China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security. A few years ago, Xinjiang witnessed thousands of violent terrorist cases, bringing sufferings to hundreds and thousands of innocent people. In this context, the Chinese government firmly cracked down on terrorism and took preventative counter-terrorism measures to achieve de-radicalization through education. The Xinjiang region of China has been earnestly implementing the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which is consistent with the principles and spirit of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Thanks to the efforts of the local people of all ethnic groups, there has been no violent terrorist case for more than four years in a row in Xinjiang. The region now enjoys social stability and a sound development momentum, and the local people are living a safe and happy life. Facts have proved that there has never been any "genocide" in Xinjiang. This is a lie of the century deliberately concocted by extreme anti-China forces, and a ridiculous farce to smear and defame China.
I would like to reiterate that Xinjiang-related issues are purely China's domestic affairs. We are firm in upholding national sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope the relevant personnel in the Netherlands can hold an objective and just position, respect China's core interests and major concerns, stop their erroneous practices immediately and uphold the big picture of bilateral ties with concrete actions.
On your second question, I already stated our position earlier. We are ready to provide and we have indeed been providing convenience to those who want to come and see Xinjiang as what it is with an unbiased mind. Xinjiang's door is always open. For diplomats of the EU and its member states who are stationed in China and wish to visit Xinjiang, our invitation stands, and so does our sincerity. But the visits are not supposed to be investigation based on presumption of guilt.
NOS: Can I assume then that there will be no consequences for the relationship between China and the Netherlands as of now?
Wang Wenbin: I'd like to reiterate that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and China is determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope the Netherlands can view Xinjiang-related matters in an objective manner and uphold the big picture of bilateral relations through concrete actions.
Beijing Youth Daily: The spokesperson of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) confirmed yesterday that Mr. Xie Zhenhua now serves as China's special envoy on climate change. Has the special envoy had any contact with U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry?
Wang Wenbin: The appointment of Xie Zhenhua as China's special envoy for climate change demonstrates the high importance China has attached to coping with climate change. Mr. Xie has got in contact with his U.S. counterpart Kerry and the two sides have started dialogue and consultation. China stands ready to work with the United States and the international community to strengthen cooperation on addressing the challenge of climate change, jointly advance the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and boost global green and low-carbon development.
PTI: Yesterday in the telephone talks between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, both sides mentioned the establishment of hotlines. Can you provide any details? Is this going to be between the two foreign ministries or between the ministers or periodic contacts? When is it going to be established?
Wang Wenbin: As you mentioned, Chinese and Indian foreign ministers had a phone conversation yesterday and we published a press release on that. The specifics you asked about will be discussed by both sides.
Prasar Bharati: Regarding the talks between Chinese and Indian foreign ministers, they talked about the implementation of the Moscow agreement and the disengagement from all the friction points. So I was just curious whether you have any update on the disengagement in the other areas after the completion of the first phase, and when it is going to begin?
Wang Wenbin: Chinese and Indian front-line troops have completed disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, and the situation on the ground gets much better. Both sides should cherish the hard-won result, consolidate current progress, keep the momentum of talks, further ease tensions, improve the border management and control mechanism, advance boundary negotiations and enhance mutual trust, so as to realize peace and tranquility in the border areas.
China Review News: U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted an unbinding resolution condemning actions by the Chinese central government and local authorities in Hong Kong that they said violated rights and freedoms in the city, including the promulgation and implementation of the national security law for HKSAR. The resolution encourages the Biden administration to work with other countries to hold the Chinese government accountable. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China's position on Hong Kong-related matters is consistent and clear. Since the national security law entered into force, Hong Kong has been experiencing a major turnaround from chaos to order. People in Hong Kong are no longer under the threat of turbulence and violence, and their legitimate rights and freedoms can be better exercised in a safe environment. Nearly three million Hong Kong residents signed a petition in support of the legislation, and almost 70 percent of residents believe Hong Kong has become safer and more stable after the legislation's entry into force, testifying to people's endorsement of the national security law. The accusations in U.S. Congress' relevant resolution on HKSAR's national security legislation are in total negligence of facts and Hong Kong residents' will. The United States has dozens of laws on national security, but it rejects China's national security law for Hong Kong. Such blatant double standard only reveals its hypocrisy.
Hong Kong is part of China and its affairs are purely China's domestic affairs that allow no foreign interference. We urge the US side to observe international law and basic norms governing international relations, discard double standard, earnestly respect China's sovereignty and Hong Kong's rule of law, and stop pushing the Hong Kong-related resolution and interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Hong Kong-related matters.
NHK: The US White House has not made a final decision on participation in the Winter Olympics in Beijing, a White House spokeswoman said on February 25. Do you have any comment on that? Also, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes against militia groups backed by Iran in eastern Syria on Thursday. Do you have any response to that?
Wang Wenbin: Politicization of sports goes against the spirit of the Olympic Charter and harms the interests of athletes of all countries. The whole international community, including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, oppose the wrong moves to boycott the Olympic Games or change the host. Rumors stop with the wise. Facts will prevail over lies. We are confident that with the concerted efforts of all parties, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will be an extraordinary event.
On your second question, we read reports on that. We call on relevant parties to respect Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and avoid further complicating the situation in Syria.
AFP: The U.S. Trade Representative nominee Katherine Tai said yesterday that she plans to continue using tariffs as a trade negotiation tool, including with China. What's the foreign ministry's response to this?
Wang Wenbin: The Ministry of Commerce recently took questions on China-U.S. economic and trade relations from the press, and I suggest you check the readout. You may also refer to the competent authorities for specific questions on China-U.S. economic and trade issues. I would like to reiterate that the China-U.S. economic and trade ties is mutually beneficial in nature. With interests closely intertwined, China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice for both sides.
Shenzhen TV: On February 25, the UN Human Rights Council held an Interactive Dialogue on the country-specific resolution on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some western countries used this Dialogue to criticize Sri Lanka's human rights situation, demand Sri Lanka carry out thorough investigation into human rights violations during its period of internal conflicts and pursue accountability, and ask the OHCHR and special procedures to step up supervision and intervention. Do you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: As a friendly neighbor, China sincerely hopes that Sri Lanka will maintain political stability, national solidarity and unity, and that it will make greater achievements in national development. China commends the efforts taken by the Sri Lankan government to promote and protect human rights, advance sustainable socioeconomic development, improve people's livelihood, guarantee the rights of vulnerable groups, and continue to promote national reconciliation and combat terrorism.
China consistently opposes politicizing and applying double standard on human rights and using so-called human rights issues to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. All countries should adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect other countries' sovereignty, political independence and efforts to promote and protect human rights, and reject moves that interfere in others' internal affairs and exert political pressure. All countries should address differences in the human rights sector through constructive dialogue and cooperation, thus jointly promoting the sound development of the international human rights cause.
Bloomberg: Bloomberg has reported that India has shipped more doses of free virus vaccines around the world, especially to poorer countries, compared with China. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We welcome and certainly hope to see more countries pitching in to provide vaccines to the international community, in particular to the developing countries, as this will strengthen the global cooperation on defeating COVID-19.
On top of overcoming domestic problems, China has been offering vaccines to other countries as a concrete step to deliver on President Xi Jinping's pledge to make vaccines a global public good. China has provided and is providing vaccine assistance to 53 countries, and has exported and is exporting vaccines to 27 countries.
China will continue to cooperate vaccine-wise with relevant countries in various ways to take the world closer to the final victory against the pandemic. We hope that capable countries will contribute to promoting vaccine accessibility in developing countries as well as equitable distribution and application worldwide.
The Paper: The UK, EU, Germany, the US and Canada have recently been abusing the platform of the UN Human Rights Council to launch unwarranted accusations on China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We firmly oppose the practice of several countries and institutions to make and spread lies on Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong to smear China in negligence of the truth. It is their usual trick to politicize human rights issues and use them as tools to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. It obstructs international dialogue and cooperation on human rights and tramples on the world human rights development cause.
The CPC and the Chinese government pursue a people-centered vision on human rights, regard the rights to subsistence and development as the primary basic human rights, coordinate efforts to improve all people's political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and strive to uphold social equity and justice and promote well-rounded human development. It is proven by history and reality that China's human rights cause is consistent with our national conditions, serves our people and has achieved remarkable progress. It demonstrates that our human rights development path is viable and beneficial. China's human rights situation is at its historical best, a fact that is recognized by all those without bias.
Yesterday at a grand gathering to mark our nation's poverty alleviation accomplishments and honor model poverty fighters, President Xi Jinping announced China has secured a complete victory in the fight against poverty. The final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty, 28 ethnic groups with relatively small populations have shaken off poverty, and China has completed the arduous task of eradicating absolute poverty. Since the reform and opening up began, altogether 770 million rural population has been lifted out of poverty by the current poverty criteria. Following the World Bank criteria, the Chinese population lifted out of poverty accounts for over 70 percent of the world's total. Many once-impoverished people said farewell to one-rope bridges in mountainous regions, bitter and salty water, and homes made of mud and straw, and embraced modern transportation, clean drinking water and sturdy brick homes. This is a miracle in mankind's history of poverty eradication.
Ending absolute poverty is China's historic achievement and a Chinese solution, both theoretical and practical, to poverty issues worldwide. It is our important contribution to world's human rights development cause and a strong fightback against several countries' distortion and slanders of China's human rights situation.
RIA Novosti: US military forces yesterday conducted air strikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria, which reportedly claimed several lives. I wonder if China has any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I will repeat my answer to the same question raised by that Japanese journalist. China calls on all relevant parties to respect Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and avoid further complicating the situation in Syria.