|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 24, 2021|
Xinhua News Agency: We noticed that Chinese embassies in many countries have issued new visa regulations on March 15, offering convenience to visa applicants who have been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccines produced by China. Does this mean China will only allow entry for foreigners who have been vaccinated with Chinese vaccines?
Hua Chunying: Recently, Chinese embassies and consulates have released information on providing relevant convenience to people who have received COVID-19 vaccines produced by China, which has come under much public attention. We oppose politicization of this issue by some western media. The relevant arrangement is made after thoroughly considering the safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines. We believe this is a meaningful exploration of facilitating international travel once mass vaccination is achieved. There are similar practices in other countries with purpose of facilitating personnel flow. One more point to highlight is that, providing convenience to those inoculated with Chinese vaccines does not affect the existing policy for those inbound personnel who are not inoculated with Chinese vaccines. In the meantime, necessary quarantine and observation measures for all inbound personnel will continue to be implemented.
CRI: Foreign Minister Lavrov told the press after his talks with State Council Wang Yi that Russia and China have taken another step forward in developing their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. Lavrov also said that Russia and China "reject the zero-sum geopolitical games and reject unilateral illegitimate sanctions that our Western colleagues resort to more and more often". Both sides agree that diplomatic coordination is the most important factor in handling international affairs. What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: People are paying much attention to the meeting between Chinese and Russian foreign ministers in Guilin. The landscape in Guilin is known as the best, so is the high-level China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. The press release of the meeting is already published. As you can see, this meeting is very successful, with important, rich outcomes.
China highly appreciates Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks on China-Russia relations. Amid the turbulent and changing international situation and the ongoing global epidemic, the China-Russia relationship is growing ever stronger. The two countries are true partners and friends who firmly support each other. We have built an impenetrable health community to fend off novel coronavirus and an invincible fortress to keep "political virus" at bay. Despite external impacts, our cooperation across the board has demonstrated strong resilience. Bilateral trade exceeded 100 billion dollars for the third year. China has been Russia's largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years. The two countries' cooperation has expanded in scale and improved in quality, with more than 1,000 activities being carried out within the framework of China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation. Our practical cooperation provides strong material foundation for our relations. With the well-being of the world in our mind, we have set an example of being major countries committed to equality, integrity, cooperation and law abidance. This stands in stark contrast to some countries that are obsessed with zero-sum game and unilateral sanctions. The international coordination between China and Russia also provides valuable stability and positive energy to the world. China stands ready to continue to work with Russia and the international community to uphold and practice multilateralism in real sense, promote greater democracy in international relations, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation among countries, and inject new impetus and stability into world peace and development.
Shenzhen TV: A few days ago, eight people, including a Chinese citizen, were killed in shootings targeting Asian Americans in the US city of Atlanta. On March 22, ten people, including a police officer, were killed in another shooting in the US state of Colorado. Nevertheless, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on the sanctions imposed by the US, UK, Canada and the EU on China, saying that the US will "defend the rights and dignity of the Uyghur people from China's abuse". What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: China opposes all forms of violence, and mourns the passing of the victims including a Chinese citizen. We urge the US side to take concrete and effective measures to protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities in the US.
As we can see from news, hardly had the hate crimes against Asian Americans in Atlanta been addressed when Colorado saw shooting of civilians. The frequent occurrence of racial discrimination and violent crimes reflects the US failure in safeguarding the human rights and security of its own people. We are saddened by the loss of life of the Chinese citizen in the above attacks, and sympathize with the American people who are suffering from the epidemic, racial discrimination and gun violence. We urge the US side to face up to these problems, truly honor its commitment to protecting human rights, and take concrete actions to protect the lives of the American people so that they will no longer live in violence and fear.
The statement made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is filled with absurdity. Xinjiang is a place that enjoys social stability, economic development, ethnic unity and religious harmony. Xinjiang residents of all ethnic groups including the Uyghurs, are living a peaceful and happy life, and enjoy more rights and dignity than ever before. Standing in sharp contrast are the minority groups in the US that are undergoing untold sufferings. Those lawmakers and politicians elected by the American people, don't they care to do something for their people? The first thing they should do is to make sure that people like George Floyd breathe freely, that Asian-Americans are free from the nightmare of discrimination and hate crimes and will no longer live in fear, that the tragedy of more than half a million Americans dying from this epidemic is put to an end, and that all Americans have the rights to life and health.
CCTV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on March 23 that "we join our partners in calling on Beijing to immediately release the two arbitrarily detained Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Human beings are not bargaining chips." What is China's response?
Hua Chunying: He is quite right. Indeed, human beings mustn't be used as bargaining chips. I would like to ask the US side to match its words with deeds, and release without delay Ms. Meng Wanzhou, who has been arbitrarily detained for 845 days, and ensure her safe return to the motherland!
JoongAng Ilbo: According to news from the US side, North Korea fired two missiles on March 21. What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: I have read relevant report. China has been following developments on the Korean Peninsular, and calls on all parties concerned to work together to maintain the situation of detente, and promote political settlement of the Peninsular issue through dialogue and consultation.
Global Times: In a joint statement on March 23, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate their call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers. Do you have any comment on this?
Hua Chunying: The door to Xinjiang is always open. In 2019, over 200 million visits were made to Xinjiang. We welcome any unbiased foreigners to visit Xinjiang, but firmly oppose any so-called "investigation" and "accountability" with presumption of guilt, and stand against anyone using this for political maneuver to pressure China.
Speaking of "accountability", I wonder how is Australia doing with those investigations into their soldiers' grave crimes in Afghanistan that were exposed not long ago? Have they held the perpetrators accountable and punished them to do justice to the innocent victims? Will Five Eyes countries including the US and the UK, and the EU consider sanctions on Australia?
Besides, in Australia, there was the infamous White Australia Policy, under which genocide was committed against aboriginal people and 100,000 aboriginal children were forcibly taken away from their families. Did the Australian side hold accountable those who caused pain to the Stolen Generation?
China Daily: After China announced sanctions on relevant EU entities and personnel, France, Germany and other European countries summoned Chinese ambassadors to lodge representation and said the sanctions were unacceptable. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: The ins and outs of relevant matter are crystal clear, The EU imposed sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity under the pretext of the so-called human right issues in Xinjiang on the basis of lies and disinformation. It is the EU side that initiated groundless provocations first. China was only making just and justified reactions. The European side willfully smeared and attacked China, and even wantonly imposed sanctions on the basis of disinformation, but wouldn't allow China to make responses and reactions. This in itself is double standards, which is bullying and hypocritical. China does not provoke trouble, but we will not flinch from provocations or be blackmailed by others. China does not accept some EU countries' unjustifiable moves of summoning Chinese ambassadors. Our diplomats have already stated China's stern position and lodged stern representation.
Bloomberg: There's an official statement from Paraguay that said that some people offered the government there access to Chinese-made vaccines in exchange for Paraguay agreeing to shift its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC. The statement said that it's unclear if those people were acting on behalf of the PRC government. Can you confirm that? And do you have any other comments on this?
Hua Chunying: I don't know where you got this information. I would like to point out that vaccines bring hope for saving lives. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has remained committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind and a global community of health for all. China is among the first to pledge that vaccines will be made a global public good and to act on that, and has worked hard to make vaccines accessible and affordable in developing countries. At the request of some countries, China has provided help to them on vaccines. Relevant cooperation has been open and aboveboard.
As for what you mentioned about Paraguay, it is a typical example of malicious disinformation. I understand that some people in Taiwan have made some petty moves behind the scenes. I would like to take this opportunity to stress that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. This is not only a historical and legal fact, but also a consensus of the international community. We urge those in Taiwan to stop political manipulation or slander in any form, as all these attempts are doomed to fail.
AFP: China's ambassador to France was summoned by the French foreign ministry on Monday over a series of tweets targeting French lawmakers and a researcher, but Ambassador Lu postponed the meeting by a day. I think he cited scheduling issues in a tweet. Does the foreign ministry have any explanation or any comments on the situation?
Hua Chunying: France and some other European countries summoned Chinese ambassadors to lodge so-called representations. I just made clear China's position on this. The ins and outs of the matter is very clear. Chinese ambassadors including the ambassador to France stated China's stern position and refuted groundless accusations.
As for the French foreign ministry's statement that China should not attack academic freedom and freedom of speech, I would like to point out that academic freedom, freedom of speech and parliamentary democracy does not mean one can practice rumor-mongering, smearing and defamation against other countries in a baseless, willful and unscrupulous manner. France should check relevant personnel's rumors, slanders and denigration against China.
AFP: If my question was not so clear earlier, there's also a part that we wanted to clarify as to the postponement of the Chinese ambassador to France when he was summoned, on the timing, as to whether or not there's an explanation or any comment on why there was such a delay of a day as opposed to sort of an immediate response that would be expected typically.
Hua Chunying: All Chinese ambassadors have their own schedule. I believe Chinese embassy in France has made it clear to the French side.
China Review News: The European Parliament decided to cancel a review meeting for the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) over China's sanctions on the EU. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I have but one comment to make: the China-EU investment agreement is not a "gift" or favor bestowed by either side, but is mutually beneficial.
Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, on March 23, the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Chinese-initiated resolution on "Promoting Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights". Could you give us more details?
Hua Chunying: On March 23, the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted the resolution on "Promoting Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights" submitted by China. The resolution calls on all countries to uphold multilateralism, carry out constructive dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights, strengthen technical assistance and capacity building, and promote win-win cooperation with a view to build a community with a shared future for mankind. The resolution also advocates international cooperation in fighting COVID-19 and ensuring the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.
The COVID-19 epidemic reminds us once again that all countries must strengthen consultation and cooperation, uphold and practice multilateralism, so as to effectively address global challenges, and promote world peace and development. China's initiative to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights echos the common aspiration of the international community, and will help enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust, and strengthen solidarity. It will also help ward off attempts to politicize human rights and exploit the issue as excuses to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. It will lead to dialogue and cooperation in the real sense among all parties, and bring us a step closer toward the goal of promoting and protecting human rights.
Bloomberg: Yesterday the Chinese embassy in Canberra put out a statement which I'll read to you. "We call on Australia to reflect upon and address its own problems, in particular the killings of innocent civilians by Australian overseas military personnel, the worsening situation of racial discrimination, the long-standing insufficiency in the protection of the rights of aboriginal peoples as well as the inhumane treatment of detainees in the off-shore detention centers." You spoke about that just now as well. Can you please expand on these points that the embassy has raised and tell us more about what China thinks should be done?
Hua Chunying: Our position is very clear in Canberra and in Beijing. The Australian side should know very well what problems they have in history and now. They should also be clear about what concrete actions they need to take to put things right.
Bloomberg: So your comments recently, today, previous days, the statement on Australia, recent statements on the EU, Canada and the US, show that human rights, international human rights is becoming a more and more important, more and more a focus of your foreign affairs work. Yesterday you spoke about historical atrocities and you also spoke about recent humanitarian crisis in Syria. Can we expect the Chinese government to play a more active role in international human rights work, including pointing out human rights failings in other countries?
Hua Chunying: The recent developments just show that some countries have attempted to politicize the issue of human rights and use it as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. But those countries have even forgotten the serious crimes they perpetrated in the past and the ongoing domestic human rights problems they're facing.
China always maintains that all countries should learn from each other and make progress together through dialogue and exchanges in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. Human rights should be embodied in concrete actions. It means the governments of various countries should take concrete steps to ensure that their people enjoy a better life and protect their rights to life and health, among others. Human rights should not be used as a tool to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Bloomberg: I have one more question. There's an apparent contradiction between your comments on the human rights situation in specific countries, such as Canada, Australia, other countries and the Chinese government's repeated statements that no other countries have the right to comment or interfere in Chinese domestic affairs. How do you explain that contradiction?
Hua Chunying: May I know your nationality?
Journalist: I am Australian.
Hua Chunying: That explains why you are asking this question. China's position is not contradictory at all.
The accusation against China on Xinjiang by Australia and several US allies are based on nothing but lies. We all know what role the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has played. If government leaders of a country don't believe the voice of the 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and actual situation on the ground, but rather choose to believe lies of the century fabricated by a handful of anti-China elements with the purpose of containing and suppressing China's development, do you think such things should be allowed?
As an Australian, you know very well whether there were policies to slaughter and assimilate the aboriginal people in the history of your country. You also know whether the more recent crimes conducted by some Australian soldiers in Afghanistan are a fact. China sticks to non-interference into other country's domestic affairs. But why can't us point out Australia's mistake when the country shys sway from its own problems, and groundlessly accuses China on the basis of lies, rumors and disinformation even though the Australian defence force already released an investigation report. If you are confident enough, and if you don't have those problems, what are you afraid of?
China News Service: Australian and New Zealand Foreign Ministers said in a joint statement on March 23 that they share the deep concerns of the US, Canada, the UK and the EU and welcome their sanction measures. You answered a similar question yesterday. Are you worried about these countries ganging up on China?
Hua Chunying: Like I said yesterday, we're not worried at all. The United States and its allies of the Five Eyes have taken coordinated steps to gang up on China. The way they act reminds us of the Eight-Power Allied Forces. But they are obviously mistaken about the era we're are in. They are living in 2021 with the outdated thinking from the age of the late Qing Dynasty at the end of the 19th century. They don't understand China or the world. Today's China is no longer what it was 120 years ago. The Chinese people are not to be trifled with. Once they are provoked to anger, things can get very tough.
The United Nations have 190-plus member states. The Five Eyes allies cannot represent the international community. As a Chinese proverb goes, "A just cause rallies abundant support while an unjust one has little." China is above-board and open and remains committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with all countries in line with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Take a look at a world map, you will find China have friends all over the world. Why should we be worried?
The Globe and Mail: Earlier this week, China announced sanctions against entities and individuals in the European Union. Has China also sanctioned people or entities in Canada?
Hua Chunying: I stated China's position yesterday, China is unequivocal and resolved in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests, and rejecting any foreign interference. We will make necessary, just and justified reactions to those who undermine China's sovereignty and dignity.
TV Tokyo: Yesterday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China offered foreign media an opportunity to take Chinese vaccine. What is the purpose of this measure? What effect does the Chinese government expect from this activity?
Hua Chunying: Did you get vaccinated yesterday?
Hua Chunying: So what do you think our purpose is? The reason for this arrangement is that many foreign journalists have told my colleagues and me that, considering their needs for health and in work, they hope to get inoculated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines in China as soon as possible and hope that the Chinese side will provide help on this. The Information Department of the Foreign Ministry has always provided support and convenience for foreign journalists working and living in China. In response to their concerns and out of care for their health, we have communicated and coordinated with relevant Chinese departments to have foreign journalists and their families of eligible age vaccinated on an informed and voluntary basis with expenses and risks undertaken by themselves.
Foreign journalists were very eager to sign up after they got notified, and nearly 150 foreign journalists of 71 foreign media outlets from 27 countries got vaccination yesterday. It was safe and smooth. Many of them were grateful to my colleagues and said this is a gift in the spring, they also conclude that Chinese vaccines are safe. A Japanese friend said that he wanted to suggest that other foreign journalists in China get inoculated too.
As a matter of fact, the profession of foreign journalists is sensitive in nature. For example, some people worry that China has propaganda purposes. That's why we didn't film or report anything during the vaccination, which I believe you have noticed. We are not aiming for publicity. Since you put up this question, I hope you got a satisfactory answer. Our only goal is to address the concerns of foreign journalists in China, care more for your health, and make it easier for you to work and live here.
The Globe and Mail: Just to follow up on an earlier answer you gave to my colleague here. You spoke out about assimilation policies in Australia. Does the Chinese government believe that assimilation is a legitimate government policy or does it constitute a violation of human rights?
Hua Chunying: They are totally different things. There really is no comparison to make. The groundless accusation on Xinjiang made by some countries, including Australia and Canada, are based on lies and rumors.
Some politicians in your country might say that their allegation is based on "credible" information. Even though China has given sufficient facts and vivid examples of Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups living a peaceful and happy life, some politicians in these countries would rather believe in lies cooked up by a few individuals, than heed the voice of 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They would rather join the clumsy show directed by a fraction of anti-China forces, than to acknowledge the basic facts of development and progress of Xinjiang. This only shows that they never really care about the truth, but are just keen on political manipulation in an attempt to create a so-called "Xinjiang issue" to undermine security and stability in Xinjiang, and hold back China's development. They will be met with firm rejection by the Chinese people and find no support from people speaking for rationality and justice in the world.
Now, what should be done is to stop being obsessed with this issue and really reflect on themselves. If one always uses a magnifying glass to look at others, while keeping it away from themselves, they will never make any progress.