|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 8, 2021|
CCTV: On March 5, the Republic of Belarus delivered a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council to support China's position and measures on Hong Kong-related issues and oppose Western countries' exploitation of such issues to interfere in China's internal affairs. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: On March 5, on behalf of 70 countries, Belarus delivered a joint statement at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council to reiterate their support for China's practice of One Country, Two Systems in the Hong Kong SAR. The statement said that Hong Kong was lifted out of chaos and stability was gradually restored after the national security legislation took effect. Stressing that non-interference is an important principle of the UN Charter and a basic norm governing international relations, and Hong Kong SAR is an inalienable part of China and its affairs are China's internal affairs, the joint statement urges the relevant parties to earnestly respect China's sovereignty and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs. Besides, another 20-plus countries also voiced support for China's position and measures on Hong Kong-related issues in their respective remarks at the Human Rights Council.
China is committed to the principle of One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy. The Central Government's relevant measures for Hong Kong will better protect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, promote Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, and contribute to the steadfast and successful implementation of One Country, Two Systems. Hong Kong is China's Special Administrative Region and its affairs are an integral part of China's internal affairs which allow no interference by any country, organization or individual.
Once again, the UN Human Rights Council was echoed with calls for justice jointly uttered by a great number of developing countries. It is crystal-clear that facts speak so much louder and justice will always prevail. China is determined in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, in implementing One Country, Two Systems, and in upholding prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. We urge the relevant parties to strictly observe international law and basic norms governing international relations, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs in any way.
China News Service: Yesterday at a press briefing on the margins of the "two sessions", State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about the foreign ministry's efforts in helping overseas Chinese fight COVID-19, including the distribution of Spring Festival packages. Can you give us more details on that?
Zhao Lijian: Our overseas compatriots had a tough time last year. As State Councilor Wang Yi noted yesterday, the Party and the government care deeply about the life and health of each and every Chinese national abroad.
As we know, as of March 1, about 500,000 Spring Festival packages were delivered by 244 Chinese diplomatic missions in 163 countries. The packages provided by different embassies and consulates vary in their content, which include blind boxes of cultural and creative products, some daily necessities, traditional Spring Festival cuisines, and hand-written greeting cards in envelopes decorated with hand-drawn flowers. The Spring Festival packages, traveling long distances, delivered anti-epidemic materials, solicitude, warmth and most sincere holiday wishes from the motherland to our compatriots overseas.
With the pandemic still on-going, we will continue serving the people. We will launch a "spring sprout" program and roll out health certificates for international travelers and a Chinese consular services app to facilitate safe and orderly flow of personnel and better protect the safety and health of overseas Chinese.
ZDF: In Western countries, especially in the United States, there are political discussions about whether the Olympic Games should be boycotted in China because of human rights issues. So how do you respond to that? And how would China react towards countries that want to boycott China for human rights issues and the Winter Games?
Zhao Lijian: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be another significant contribution China makes to the Olympic Movement. All winter games lovers are looking forward to taking part in the games in Beijing. China will complete all preparation as scheduled and host a simple, safe and excellent Winter Olympic Games.
China firmly opposes politicization of sports and interference in other countries' internal affairs with human rights as a pretext. The countries you mentioned, out of political motives, are attempting to disrupt, hamper and undermine the preparation and hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Such irresponsible practices will hurt athletes, won't get the backing of the international community, and are doomed to fail.
Global Times: Houthi forces in Yemen said in a statement late March 7 that they fired eight ballistic missiles and used 14 drones to attack oil and military facilities in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh as well as regions in the east and south of the country. I wonder if China has a comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China always opposes attacks targeting civilians and civil facilities. We support Saudi Arabia's efforts to safeguard security and stability and call on relevant sides to refrain from taking actions that escalate regional tensions.
AFP: I have a question on the international health certificates mentioned by Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday. Are there plans to make these travel certificates available to foreigners in China in addition to just Chinese citizens?
Zhao Lijian: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday that China will launch its version of electronic health certificate for international travelers. The pandemic is still with us, but the world economy needs to be restarted and people-to-people exchanges resumed with no more delays. As countries are stepping up vaccination efforts, mutual recognition of vaccination has become part and parcel to mutual recognition of health codes among countries. To help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel, the Chinese side has decided to roll out the Chinese version of health certificate for outbound Chinese travelers. The certificate will be available in two formats, digital and in paper, with the certificate-holder's NAT and IgG anti-body test results and vaccination status on record. All the information will be encrypted in a QR code that can be verified, decrypt-ed and read by a public key provided by the Chinese side.
China stands ready to discuss with other countries on establishing mutual recognition mechanisms for health codes information on the basis of accommodating each other's concerns and friendly consultations. This will facilitate the issuance of visas, thus making cross-border travel much easier and contributing to the healthy, safe and orderly people-to-people exchanges.
Bloomberg: Also in relation to yesterday's address by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. At that time, he said that Beijing was ready to work with Washington. He said he hope that the United States will move in the same direction and remove all of its unreasonable restrictions on bilateral cooperation as early as possible and stop creating new obstacles. My question is, are there any specific actions that China can take to improve the relations between the two countries.
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday, State Councilor Wang Yi answered questions from the media and elaborated on China's position on China-U.S. relations. I would like to stress again, we are committed to developing a relationship with the United States featuring non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. We are also determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope the U.S. side will view China and China-U.S. relations in an objective and rational manner, keep up with the trend of the times, and replace its obsolete zero-sum thinking with rational and pragmatic policy towards China. Building on the telephone conversation between the two heads of state, China and the United States should work together to focus on cooperation, manage differences, bring China-U.S. relations back on the right track, and deliver greater benefit to the people of our two countries and the world.
As for the specific question you raised, State Councilor Wang Yi has also made very clear statement. The list of areas where the two countries can and should cooperate is very clear. Building on the telephone conversation between the two heads of state, China and the United States should work together to focus on cooperation, manage differences, and bring China-U.S. relations back on the right track.
Follow-up: So it seems like the action is on the U.S. side and everything should be on the U.S. side. Is there any specific actions that China can do to improve the situation?
Zhao Lijian: I think that's your interpretation. Building on the telephone conversation between the two heads of state, foreign ministries of the two countries should work together to focus on cooperation, manage differences, bring China-U.S. relations back on the right track of sound and steady development at an early date. As we all know, the previous U.S. administration took various retrogressive moves against China-U.S. relations, which caused serious damage to bilateral relations. From this perspective, I would say that the U.S. government has a greater responsibility to take initiatives and measures. We hope that the U.S. side will meet China halfway and make joint efforts.
The Paper: Philippine Foreign Secretary Locsin tweeted that "you know it is as much arbitrary detention of a foreign national in state to state relations to detain a Chinese woman executive who beat you in business-even if her detainers wear wigs rather than military caps". Some say that these words were meant to criticize Canada on its detention of Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: There are enough facts to show that the Meng Wanzhou case is a political event through and through. This whole event was man-made by the U.S. administration, not for any legal reasons, but to crack down on China's hi-tech companies and thwart China's progress in the scientific and technological fields. The Canadian government has been acting as an accomplice for the US side, and its move is the best illustration of arbitrary detention of foreign citizens. The international community sees and understands this clearly. We urge the Canadian side to immediately redress its mistakes, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and ensure her safe return to China.
Zhao Lijian: Today is the International Women's Day. In China we have an old saying which goes like "Anything a man can do, a woman can do it, even better." I would like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all the ladies here and around the world. Wish you all the best in your work and everyday life.