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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on July 13, 2021

CCTV: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on July 9 that July 16 marks the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. She said that the document laid the legal foundation for Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, and practical cooperation across the board. The 20-year experience of steadily deepening bilateral ties shows that the Treaty has successfully withstood the test of time. The leaders of Russia and China have agreed that the anniversary of this document is the most important event in the countries' relations this year. Russia invariably strives to further implement the Treaty's potential and to deepen ties with China in the most diverse fields. What is China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: China and Russia have a high degree of agreement on the significance and role of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between China and Russia. Twenty years ago, the two sides signed the Treaty on the basis of a comprehensive review of historical experience and an accurate grasp of the overall trend of world development. The past 20 years since the signing of the Treaty have witnessed accelerated changes in the world landscape and turbulent international situations. Guided by the spirit of the Treaty, China-Russia relations have forged ahead with determination and become stronger as time goes by. They have become a model of major-country exchanges and a pillar of strength for world peace and stability. In a few days, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty. Facts have proved that the principles enshrined in the Treaty can stand the test of history and practice, and live up to the expectations of the two peoples and the international community.

During their video meeting on June 28, President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin jointly announced the extension of the Treaty and issued a joint statement, setting new goals and drawing a new blueprint for bilateral relations. Going forward, under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China and Russia will continue to work hand in hand and support each other, carry forward the vision of longstanding friendship enshrined in the Treaty, deepen strategic coordination and practical cooperation across the board, and make China-Russia relations in the new era more beneficial to the two peoples and the world at large.

Bloomberg: A couple of questions. First, the Financial Times reported that US President Joe Biden has apparently warned US companies of the risk of doing business in Hong Kong, which would be the first time the US has issued a business advisory of this kind on Hong Kong. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on this matter? Second question, White House officials are said to be discussing proposals for a digital trade agreement covering Indo-Pacific economies, as the administration seeks ways to check China's influence. The details of the agreement are still being drafted, but the pact could include countries such as Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. The deal could also set out standards for the digital economy, including rules on the use of data, trade facilitation and electronic customs arrangement. Does the Foreign Ministry have a comment on this matter?

Zhao Lijian: On the first question, I'm not aware of the situation. We always firmly oppose the US interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of the Hong Kong issue. The Basic Law of Hong Kong and other relevant laws clearly protect the rights and interests of foreign investors. Since the implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR last year, the society in Hong Kong has returned to the right track and the Pearl of the Orient has become even more shiny. The so-called advisory to be issued by the US side is a typical political manipulation with double standard.

As for your second question, I'm not aware of the situation. I want to stress that China always pursues openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation and is committed to working with neighboring countries to promote common development in the region. If what you said is true, the US act to build walls and counterbalance others in the region under the pretext of rule-setting violates the laws of the economy and the shared aspiration of countries in the region. This fully exposes its plot to gang up against China and contain its development and obstruct the common development of countries in the region. It is doomed to fail.

Macau Monthly: The US State Department submitted on July 12 the 2021 Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act Report to Congress, once again accusing China of "committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs...and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang". Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Here is a joke. In this US report there are the following words: "This Administration will defend and protect human rights around the world". How hilarious! The US government has a deplorable human rights record that continues throughout history to the present. Some in the US are in the habit of giving prescriptions to others when they themselves are sick. A report following such absurd logic is completely worthless.

Here is another joke. In the report the US accuses the Chinese government of committing "genocide and crimes against humanity" in Xinjiang. This is an outrageous and preposterous lie. It has revealed the true face of the US government to the Chinese people. The US image in the hearts of the Chinese people has collapsed and its credibility completely bankrupt. Speaking of "genocide and crimes against humanity", the US has a better claim to them than any other country.

The US should not forget the innocent African American lives taken by the brutal Tulsa race massacre 100 years ago, the Indians who were cruelly expelled and slaughtered during the Westward Expansion, or the desperate cries of people like George Floyd. Due to US indifference to human rights, over 600,000 American lives have been claimed by COVID-19, ethnic minorities live in fear of racial hate crimes, refugees and immigrants are left in miserable conditions, millions of children suffer from abuse, poverty and forced labor. The US even condoned its troops' illegal killing and abuse of foreign civilians in overseas military operations, of which there is iron-clad evidence.

The US is in no position to criticize other countries' human rights conditions. No matter how some in the US go to great lengths along its misguided course to hype up lies on Xinjiang, their political conspiracy to disrupt Xinjiang and contain China will only end up in failure. The US had better direct more energy to actually resolving domestic human rights problems.

Indonesia Antara News Agency: Indonesia faces a worsening COVID surge. Yesterday, the other batches of China's Sinovac vaccines arrived in Jakarta. Indonesia is seeking more medical equipment supplies, such as oxygen generator, from other countries. What's your comment and will the Chinese government help the Indonesian government to contain the situation?

Zhao Lijian: Since COVID-19 broke out, China and Indonesia have been supporting each other and conducting anti-epidemic cooperation, especially vaccine cooperation, which has been a pacesetter for such efforts globally, and has become a fine example of major developing countries combating the virus in solidarity. China is following very closely the epidemic situation in Indonesia and feels for the Indonesian government and people in their trying moments. We stand ready to do our utmost to provide urgently-needed assistance. The two sides will soon hold the HDCM Secretary-General Special Meeting on Fighting against COVID-19 and Public Health Cooperation. I'm sure more concrete measures will come out of it.

Hubei Media Group: On July 12, the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted again the resolution on "the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights" submitted by China. Can you brief us on the relevant situation?

Zhao Lijian: On July 12, the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted the resolution on "the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights" submitted by China. The resolution reaffirms that development makes significant contribution to the enjoyment of all human rights by all; the aim of development is to constantly improve the well-being of the entire population; and countries should meet the aspiration of the people for a better life. The resolution welcomes the tremendous efforts and achievements made by countries in promoting sustainable development and eradicating poverty; calls upon all States to realize people-centred development of the people, by the people and for the people; calls upon all States to promote sustainable development to enable better enjoyment of human rights, and to promote equality of opportunity for development.

In their remarks, representatives of Venezuela, Pakistan, Cuba and Cameroon commended this important resolution draft submitted by China and thanked China for its lead role. They stressed that development is critical to countries, developing ones in particular, adding that without development, it would be impossible to achieve enjoyment of human rights and overcome the challenges brought by COVID-19. They said countries should step up international cooperation, uphold a people-centered approach, promote sustainable development, eliminate poverty and inequality and earnestly safeguard all human rights of the people.

Development is mankind's eternal quest and the key to all problems. Better development is the only way to better promote and protect human rights. The ongoing pandemic across the globe is dealing a heavy blow to the economic and social development and the enjoyment of human rights in countries. In the face of grave challenges, countries should enhance solidarity and cooperation in fighting the virus while vigorously promoting sustainable development and redoubling the effort of reducing poverty to overcome the negative impact of the virus on people's lives. This is the third time the Human Rights Council adopt this important resolution submitted by China. It is hoped that the resolution can galvanize the consensus for promoting sustainable development and the universal enjoyment of human rights.

China News Service: At the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, systemic racism and racial discrimination in Western countries have caught wide attention. Can China share more information on that?

Zhao Lijian: On July 12, an interactive dialogue on the protection of Africans and African descendants was held at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council. Developing countries condemned systemic racism and racial discrimination, and called on the international community to step up efforts to combat discrimination and violence against people of African and Asian descents.

China made a joint statement on behalf of more than 50 countries. It stressed that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent have long been suffering systemic racism, racial discrimination and hate crimes. Multilateral human rights bodies should take actions to treat both symptoms and root causes of systemic racism and structural racial discrimination, and eliminate legacies of slavery, transatlantic slave trade, colonialism and labor trafficking. The international community should work harder on racial discrimination and hate crimes targeting Asians and people of Asian descent. Political and public figures should stop making racist remarks. The rights of Asians and people of Asian descent should be fully guaranteed.

The Chinese representative pointed out in the intervention that Africans and people of African descent still face systemic racism and racial discrimination in the U.S., the UK, Canada and EU member countries. They face serious discrimination and violence from law enforcement and judicial bodies and justice cannot be upheld. In recent years, discrimination and hate crimes against Asians and people of Asian descent surged rapidly in the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia and EU member countries. This has to do with inflammatory remarks made by certain politicians and media. The international community should not stand idly by and should not allow discrimination and violence to continue to harm Africans and people of African descent, and Asians and people of Asian descent.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet pointed out that "behind today's systemic racism and racial violence lies the absence of formal acknowledgement of the responsibilities of States and others that engaged in or profited from enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, and colonialism." Relevant countries should take concrete measures, change discriminatory systems and measures, hold perpetrators accountable for racism crimes and provide reparations to victims to realize racial justice and equality at an early date.

The African group, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab group, the Gulf Cooperation Council, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Indonesia, Vietnam, Belarus and others all condemned systemic racism and racial discrimination, urging relevant countries to fully and effectively implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, eliminate legacies of historical issues such as slavery, transatlantic slave trade and colonialism, end police brutality, prohibit the spread of speeches inciting racial discrimination, and earnestly protect the human rights of all, including Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent, and indigenous groups.

We urge relevant Western countries to address the international concerns seriously, deeply reflect upon their issues of systemic racism and racial discrimination and take concrete measures to resolve them. By doing this they will be making tangible contributions to domestic protection and promotion of human rights and also to the progress of the international human rights cause.

TASS News Agency: According to Russian media, Chinese Consul-General in Russian city of Vladivostok said that the two countries are planning to announce the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccines in September. On Monday the Consulate-General of China in Vladivostok denied media reports. Are there any discussions on mutual recognition of vaccines between Russia and China? When mutual vaccine recognition can possibly happen?

Zhao Lijian: We noticed that China's Consulate-General in Vladivostok already released information about this on its website. I don't have anything to add on that.

Beijing Youth Daily: It is reported that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced that it had signed advance purchase agreements (APAs) with Sinopharm and Sinovac on July 12. Could I have China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: China has been strongly supportive and actively engaged in the COVAX program, and has announced supply of vaccines to the COVAX, mainly for the urgent needs of developing countries. Ever since their vaccines were granted WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on May 7 and June 1 respectively, Sinopharm and Sinovac have immediately started coordination efforts to ensure production, and reached out to Gavi on vaccine supply. Under the recently signed purchase agreement, the two Chinese manufacturers will supply 110 million doses of vaccines to the COVAX over the next four months, with options for additional doses. This is another concrete step taken by China to honor its commitment to make vaccines a global public good, promote equitable distribution of vaccines and contribute to the global fight against the epidemic.

As COVID-19 is still ongoing in many parts of the world, vaccines serve as the most powerful weapon against the disease. As the largest developing country and a responsible member of the international community, China never seeks its own interest at the expense of others, and rejects vaccine nationalism. Instead, we uphold the vision of a global community of health for all, and actively promote international vaccine cooperation with concrete actions, making real contributions to ensuring accessibility and affordability of vaccine in developing countries. To date, China has provided more than 500 million doses of vaccines and concentrates to over 100 countries and international organizations in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the South Pacific, which is equivalent to one sixth of the total global output, making China the largest supplier of vaccines to developing countries.

China will continue to make contributions to the equitable access of vaccines in developing countries. We also call on countries that are able to do so to take concrete actions sooner than later to help developing countries obtain vaccines, so as to secure an early victory against the epidemic.

CCTV: Matthew Palmer, Special Representative for the Western Balkans and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, said during a recent visit to Montenegro that China is engaging in "debt trap diplomacy" in Montenegro and the Western Balkans and warned the country to be wary of commercial exchange with China. Do you have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: China and Montenegro enjoy long-standing friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 15 years ago, the bilateral relations have been growing smoothly with the two countries respecting each other's core interests and major concerns. We conducted productive cooperation in such fields as transport infrastructure on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, which is of great significance to Montenegro's economic and social development and the improvement of people's wellbeing. China sets great store by its relationship with Montenegro and hopes the two sides can work together to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation to deliver more benefits to the two peoples.

I would like to stress that the attempt of certain countries with ill intentions to hype up the so-called "debt trap" in the cooperation with China will garner no support. The true intention behind the false accusation of "debt trap" is to sow discord between China and relevant countries. Anyone with impartial attitude on this issue will come to an objective conclusion.

Shenzhen TV: A report by the NHK on July 8 showed that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) found through its recent investigation of the nuclear waste storage area of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that the lids of two containers became loose and fissure appeared. The density of radioactive substances of the water inside was up to 79,000 becquerel per liter. The areas around the storage were also contaminated to different degrees. This is the third time since March this year that the nuclear waste containers in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has leaked. What is China's comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: As a Chinese saying goes, "do not make the same mistake more than three times". Since March this year, there have already been three disclosed leakages of the nuclear waste containers. We don't dare to imagine how many leakages are left undiscovered or hidden.

In April this year, Japan has unilaterally made the wrong decision to release the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water into the sea. Over the past three months, the Japanese side has disregarded doubts and concerns both at home and abroad, abandoned international responsibility and obligation, distorted facts frequently, and tried to talk its way out of responsibility. Moreover, the Japanese side has done little while the nuclear waste leakage of the Fukushima power plant keeps happening. How is this not worrying and concerning? Putting one's own economic interests above the shared interests of the entire humanity as Japan did challenges the bottom line of human conscience, harms the public interest of the international community and the health and security of people across the world. The Japanese side should reconsider its wrong decision at an early date and give a responsible explanation to the international community.

After China, the ROK and other stakeholders called for it repeatedly, the IAEA has decided to put together a technical working group on the disposal of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear incident which experts from China, the ROK and Russia will join. The Japanese side should show its sincerity and cooperate with the working group comprehensively, act with a great sense of responsibility for global public interests and prudently handle relevant issues in an open, transparent and scientific manner.

Phoenix TV: On July 12 local time, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic of Cuba said in a televised address along with main government officials that the anti-government action on July 11 is by no means accidental. He said a few anti-Cuba elements are disrupting the peaceful life of Cuban people under the pretext of improving livelihood, and demanded that the US stop its embargo on Cuba. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We noted that after demonstrations took place in parts of Cuba on July 11 local time, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic of Cuba immediately went to the site to listen to the call of the people and delivered a televised address on July 12.

As the Cuban side pointed out, the US embargo is the root cause of Cuba's shortage of medicines and energy. For the 29th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution with an overwhelming majority calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the US, which shows the widespread call from the international community. The US should fully lift its embargo on Cuba and play a positive role in helping the Cuban people overcome the effects of the epidemic.

China firmly opposes foreign interference in Cuba's internal affairs, firmly supports what Cuba has done in fighting COVID-19, improving people's livelihood and upholding social stability, and firmly supports Cuba in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions. I'd like to stress that China stands ready to work with Cuba to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state and is firmly committed to deepening friendly relations between the two countries.

Prasar Bharati: Indian and Chinese foreign ministers are in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe for the SCO foreign ministers' meeting tomorrow. Is any bilateral meeting expected between the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers' meeting?

Zhao Lijian: During the SCO foreign ministers' meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have exchanges with foreign ministers of other SCO member states on major international and regional issues and cooperation in various sectors under the SCO framework under the current situation, and make the political preparations for the SCO summit later this year.

As for your specific question, we will release information in a timely manner. Please stay tuned.

CRI: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia on July 9 released country reports on human rights situation, which points out that the United States continues to grossly violate human rights both inside and outside the country. The freedom of the media in the United States, to which Washington declares adherence, is sliding into complete degradation. The level of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other manifestations of such discrimination and xenophobia continues to rise. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports. As a matter of fact, we have also shared the facts of US human rights abuses on multiple occasions.

I want to stress as a Chinese proverb says, "The best way to hide a misdeed is not to commit it." The sins and wrongdoings the US government has committed in the field of human rights are too numerous to record. Even if the US government avoids any mention of that and seems forgetful, those countries whose people are living in misery due to the US sanctions, bullying and wars will never forget it. Journalists who have been silenced and harassed by the US will never forget it. The minorities who are persecuted by racial discrimination in the United States who cannot breathe freely will never forget. Each and every practice of US' human rights violations has long been documented, with iron-clad evidence that is indisputable.

The reports released by the Russian side once again shows that the international community has long seen through the "human rights" disguise of the US, and it is high time that the US stopped its clumsy performance as the so-called "defender of human rights" and put aside the big stick of human rights it has wielded arbitrarily. The US should also spend more time listening to the voices of Asians and other ethnic minorities, indigenous people, refugees and immigrants at home, and seriously examine and correct its own human rights abuses such as genocide, racial discrimination and forced labor. The international community will wait and see how the US will correct its mistakes.

SCMP: Japan released Defense of Japan 2021 white paper on Tuesday, which referred to the importance of stability around Taiwan for the first time. What is China's response?

Zhao Lijian: Recently, the Japanese side has been making issues out of China, grossly interfering in China's internal affairs, making groundless accusation of China's normal national defense and military activities, pointing fingers at China's legitimate maritime activities and playing up the so-called "China threat". This is extremely wrong and irresponsible. China deplores and rejects this.

I must stress that, Taiwan is part of China and the Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair. China never allows interference in the Taiwan question in any form by any country. China must and will be reunified. A complete reunification of China is most beneficial to regional peace and stability.

Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. By conducting patrol and law enforcement activities in waters off Diaoyu Dao, China is exercising the inherent right of China as prescribed by law. The Coast Guard Law is just a routine piece of domestic legislation. It is not targeted at any specific country. And it is totally in line with international law and international practice. In fact, many countries, including Japan, have enacted similar laws and regulations long before China. Enough with Japan's "lying diplomacy" and double standard!

The "Indo-Pacific Strategy" aims to stoke bloc confrontation and create cliques for geopolitical game. It marks the comeback of Cold War mentality and retrogression and should be tossed into the dustbin of history. Will Japan first solve the problem of its flagrant discharge of nuclear contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean before touting the idea of "free and open Pacific"?

We once again urge Japan to approach the relevant issues with the right mentality, and show its respect for China's sovereignty and sincerity in upholding regional peace and stability.

Global Times: According to reports, violent attacks occurred in the Cota 905 neighborhood in the southwestern part of the Venezuelan capital Caracas, resulting in the death of 4 police officers and 5 civilians. The Venezuelan police cracked down on the gangs involved in the case and killed over 20 criminals. President Maduro accused external forces including the US, Columbia and Spain of joining up with extreme right-wing elements in Venezuela to organize the attacks. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China opposes all forms of foreign intervention, radical violence and terrorist acts. We firmly support the effort of the Venezuelan government to uphold national peace and stability. We hope the international community can play a constructive role in facilitating the proper settlement of this issue through dialogue, so as to help Venezuela come back to the normal track of development at an early date.

Bloomberg: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is using a trip to Brussels to urge EU members to help confront China and Russia. She is to say in a speech, "together we need to counter threats to the principles of openness, fair competition, transparency, and accountability". She accused China of unfair economic practices, malign behavior, and human rights abuses. Does the ministry have a comment on this matter?

Zhao Lijian: China deplores and categorically rejects the remarks of Treasury Secretary Yellen. We always firmly support multilateralism and the multilateral trading regime with WTO at the core and conduct international economic and trade cooperation following the principles of equality and mutual benefit. We never bully others or wantonly impose sanctions, practice "long-arm jurisdiction" or willfully suppress foreign companies. The word "unfair" has nothing to do with China. Those who cherry-pick mechanisms and rules under the multilateral trading regime and go all out to smear and malign other countries based on lies, rumors and disinformation are being unfair in the true sense of the word.

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