|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 7, 2021|
CCTV: The US announced on Monday that it “will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games” given the PRC’s ongoing “genocide” and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: The US has been fabricating the biggest lie of the century about so-called “genocide” in Xinjiang, but it has long been debunked by facts. Based on its ideological biases as well as lies and rumors, the US attempts to interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will only expose its malicious intention and lead to greater loss of moral authority and credibility. Speaking of “genocide”, this label fits the US better than anyone else for the evil crimes it committed against Native Americans.
The US practice gravely violates the principle of political neutrality enshrined in the Olympic Charter, runs counter to the Olympic motto of “together” and stands on the opposite side of global athletes and sports fans. China deplores and firmly opposes the remarks of the US side and has lodged stern representations with the US and will respond with firm countermeasures.
The Winter Olympics is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation. According to Olympic rules, officials are invited by their respective National Olympic Committee to attend the Olympic Games. Whether the US officials will come to the Beijing Winter Olympics and root for their own athletes is the US’ own business. Despite not even being invited, the US side linked its officials’ attendance with the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang, going down the wrong path further by distorting facts while deceiving themselves as well as others. The US political agenda wins no support and is doomed to fail.
The Beijing Winter Olympics is a major event for global winter sports athletes and lovers. They should be in the spotlight. The international community including the IOC highly recognizes China’s preparation, and foreign athletes including a great number of American athletes are eager to come to China for the Games. We believe that under the guidance of the Olympic spirit and with joint efforts of all sides, we will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics to the world.
The US should stop politicizing sports, and stop disrupting and undermining the Beijing Winter Olympics, lest it should affect bilateral dialogue and cooperation in important areas and international and regional issues.
MASTV: Japan staged a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour 80 years ago today, which triggered the Pacific War. Do you have anything to say on this occasion?
Zhao Lijian: Today is a commemorative day of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII and the outbreak of the Pacific War. The war of aggression launched by Japanese militarism has inflicted untold sufferings on the people of regional countries, especially the victimized countries in Asia, and left them with indelible painful memories. Over the past decades, the international community has been watching whether Japan will show a sincere and correct understanding of that history. Several decades on, Japan still owes an explicit explanation to its Asian neighbors, including China. Several decades on, some in Japan are still denying and even beautifying the history of aggression and colonial rule. Recently, certain Japanese politician went so far as to claim that “a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency”. Today, nearly a hundred Japanese lawmakers paid a high-profile visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, where convicted WWII Class-A war criminals are honored. Rather than learning historical lessons, they only seek to revive the specter of militarism.
History cannot be denied and travesty of justice cannot be tolerated. China firmly opposes any wrong act to backpedal, defends international fairness and justice, safeguards world peace and stability, and upholds the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law. The Japanese side should adopt a right attitude, deeply reflect upon the Japanese militarism’ Fascist atrocities and crimes against humanity and win trust from people around the world with concrete actions.
Xinhua News Agency: On December 5, Su Yiming and Gu Ailing claimed World Cup titles in snowboard men’s big air and freeski big air events respectively in Steamboat, the US. This is the first time that Chinese riders have won the championship in these two categories. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: I’d like to extend my congratulations to the two Chinese athletes and hope they can present great performances in the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Chinese athletes’ thorough preparation epitomizes the preparation work for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. So far, construction on all 12 competition venues in Beijing has been completed, where operation teams and personnel are all set. The Beijing competition zone has held six competitions including the speed skating World Cup, the Yanqing competition zone has held five competitions including the sled World Cup, and the Zhangjiakou competition zone has held freeski and snowboard cross World Cups. These successful events have received positive remarks from international sports organizations and participating athletes.
China has reiterated on multiple occasions that the Beijing Winter Olympics is a stage for athletes to compete for excellence, and a grand gathering where the international community strengthens solidarity and deepens friendship. For some time, many foreign dignitaries, officials of Olympic committees as well as delegations and athletes have expressed their support for the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in China. It is explicitly stated in the recent G20 Rome Leaders’ Declaration and at the 13th ASEM Summit that the participating parties “look ahead to Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics 2022”. The Dakar Declaration adopted at the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the joint statement of the China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting also expressed support for the Games. The 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution on Olympic Truce for the Beijing Winter Games, which was co-sponsored by a record number of countries in recent years. These have all sent a strong message to the world that the international community has strong faith in a successful Beijing Winter Olympics.
We believe under the guidance of the Olympic spirit and with joint efforts of all sides, we will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics to the world and promote the development of the international Olympic cause.
FSN: The UK is debating an extension to the BNO visa scheme today that would potentially see more Hong Kongers allowed to go there. Could we hear China’s response to that?
Zhao Lijian: China has elaborated its position on the so-called BNO passport issue many times. China opposes the UK’s interference in its internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs. What the UK is doing brings no good to anyone and is doomed to fail.
People’s Daily: When responding to criticism from China and Russia that the “Summit for Democracy” is inciting division, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said the summit will be an occasion to “discuss how we can work together to protect democracy around the world, to stand up for democracy around the world. That’s nothing we’re going to apologize for, no matter what the criticism is”. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The US claims that the so-called Summit for Democracy is aimed at upholding democracy. Then we have some questions for the US. With the most abundant medical resources and most advanced medical technologies, the US has registered over 800,000 deaths from COVID-19 and nearly 50 million people have suffered. Both numbers are higher any other country in the world. This amounts to a human rights tragedy. Is this how the US upholds democracy?
In the US society, racism is deeply entrenched, white supremacy is rampant, and ethnic equality remains beyond reach. Is this how the US upholds democracy?
Since 2001, wars and military operations launched by the US in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria and other countries have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced tens of millions. The exported American democracy does not fit in other countries and the US is notorious for launching “color revolution”. Is this how the US upholds democracy?
Relevant polls and reports show that 45% of Americans think democracy isn’t functioning properly at home, 52% of American young adults believe US democracy is in trouble or has failed, 81% of Americans say there is a serious domestic threat to the future of US democracy, only 17% of Americans say US democracy is a good example for other countries to follow, and 44% of people around the world see the US as the biggest threat to global democracy. Is the US, a country that disregards democracy, qualified to hold a summit on democracy?
China Daily: An Afghan official said on December 6 that China has donated one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and 1.6 million syringes to Afghanistan, which have all been shipped to Kabul on the morning of that day. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: As a friendly neighbor and a sincere friend of Afghanistan, China has been providing assistance to the best of its capability for Afghanistan in realizing peace and reconstruction and economic development. In light of the Afghan people’s needs, China is stepping up efforts to deliver on the 200 million RMB worth of emergency humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. The vaccines and syringes you mentioned are part of the assistance. Besides, to help the people cope with the harsh winter, China will provide another 30 million RMB worth of food assistance. At the same time, we call on the international community to provide necessary support and assistance to Afghanistan. Those countries that have unshirkable responsibilities on the Afghan issue should not evade their share and create obstacles with any excuse.
AFP: Can you tell us more about the countermeasures?
Zhao Lijian: The US will pay a price for its erroneous actions. You may wait and see.
The Global Times: It is reported that 99 Japanese cross-party lawmakers of the Association of Diet Members for Worshiping at Yasukuni Shrine Together visited the Yasukuni Shrine today. Nine vice-minister level officials were among those who visited the shrine. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Eighty years ago today, Japan staged a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour and the Pacific War broke out. It is not a coincidence that a large group of Japanese politicians chose to have this high-profile visit to the Yasukuni Shrine on this day. Instead, it is an intentional provocation. Yushukan, a war museum located in the Yasukuni Shrine, claims that the Pearl Harbor attack was a conspiracy of the US to drag Japan into war and Japan was compelled to launch a “defensive war”. Japanese political dignitaries paid tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine on this special day in a high-sounding manner. What are they are up to?
The Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 World War II Class-A war criminals with heinous crimes are honored, is a spiritual tool and symbol of the Japanese militarism’s war of aggression. The visit of Japanese political figures to the Yasukuni Shrine once again shows Japan’s wrong attitude of refusing to reflect on its history of aggression. The Chinese side firmly opposes this. The Japanese side should abide by the principles established in the four political documents, face up to and show deep remorse over its history of aggression, make a clean break with militarism, and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community through concrete actions.
RTHK: New Zealand said that it also will not be sending diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Beijing Winter Olympics, adding that the move was not due to the U.S. decision and mostly has to do with COVID. Do you have any response? Is China concerned about any domino effect triggered by diplomatic boycott?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the Beijing Winter Olympic Games is a grand gathering of winter sports athletes and fans all over the world. We welcome athletes from all countries, including New Zealand, to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics. We hope that all parties can practice the Olympic spirit of “together” and stop politicizing sports.
On your second question, as we stated on various occasions, it is athletes, instead of politicians clamoring for “boycott” out of selfish political gains, that should be in the spotlight. In fact, no one would care whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the Olympics to be successfully held by Beijing.
The Paper: According to reports, American scholar Deborah Bräutigam published an article titled “BBC Misrepresents My Views on ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ ”, accusing BBC of maliciously editing the recording of interview to misrepresent her views. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports. This American scholar, whose name is Deborah Bräutigam, said that she gave an interview to BBC on so-called Chinese “debt trap”, in which she enumerated plenty of examples from Montenegro, Kenya, Zambia, and other places to debunk the allegation, indicating that the fears about Chinese “debt trap” trumpeted in some media are supported by no evidence and have little basis in fact. However, she later on found that the BBC recording completely discarded all the evidence she presented by deliberately editing her clip, so as to create a false impression that she supports the allegation of “Chinese debt trap”. She was outraged by such ill-intentioned distortion.
China has made clear its position on the so-called “debt trap” issue on multiple occasions. All smears and attacks are futile before facts and will only lay bare the ill intention of those culprits. The false allegation of “debt trap” has been trumpeted in certain Western media because they only want to drive a wedge between China and other countries. It’s not difficult for any unbiased individual to make a fair observation. BBC is dubbed “Biased Broadcasting Corporation” by Chinese Internet users for being adept at fabricating China-related fake news. We hope BBC will be able to remove this label with its concrete actions at an early date.
China News Service: On December 6, the parliament of Solomon Islands rejected a no-confidence motion on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare with 32 votes to 15. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China noted the relevant situation. We believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the situation in the nation’s capital city will become stable at an early date. We also noticed that Prime Minister Sogavare said in a parliament speech that as stated in the UNGA Resolution 2758, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China and Taiwan has no status as a country. The establishment of diplomatic relations with China in 2019 is a right decision made by the government of Solomon Islands on behalf of its people and Solomon Islands is very proud to be the 179th country to have diplomatic ties with China. He reaffirmed the government’s firm commitment to the one-China principle, which is a position that no one can change. He said the establishment of diplomatic ties with China is based on Solomon Islands’ national interest and development needs and China will bring important opportunities for Solomon Islands’ development. China appreciates this.
Facts have proven once again that the one-China principle is an overriding trend of the times with popular support, a widely recognized norm governing international relations and the common consensus of the international community. Any attempt to violate the one-China principle and undermine China-Solomon Islands relations will never succeed.
Bloomberg: The European Union is set to unveil a powerful new trade weapon that could result in China and other countries that are accused of economic bullying being shut out of the EU market. That’s according to a report on the South China Morning Post. Some of the mechanisms would include tariffs, suspension of market access, introduction of quotas, restrictions on procurement and investment. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this planned trade weapon that the EU is said to be developing?
Zhao Lijian: China has never resorted to unilateral sanctions, long-arm jurisdiction or oppression of foreign companies. Under no circumstances can China be accused of economic coercion or bullying. China is committed to the path of peaceful development and rejects the claim by some that a stronger country is bound to follow the beaten path to seek hegemony. Like all peace-loving countries, China firmly opposes all forms of coercion and bullying in the world. We resolutely support the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and have contributed greatly to world economic development.
I want to stress that both China and the EU are important forces in building an open world economy. The EU should view China and its development in an objective and rational way, continue to expand market access, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, reduce trade barriers and, in particular, refrain from erecting new barriers. The EU should also stop politicizing economic and trade issues and provide an open, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for businesses from around the world.
AFP: I have a question on Taiwan. The deputy economic minister of Slovakia is visiting Taiwan with a delegation. He said that his country supports Taiwan and he is ready to enhance closer economic and trade relations with the island. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Slovakia insisted on sending officials to visit Taiwan, which has obviously violated the one-China principle, emboldened the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and seriously undermined the political trust between China and Slovakia. China firmly opposes and deplores this. Slovakia should abide by its commitment made upon the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, stop all forms of official interactions with the Taiwan authorities, stop endorsing the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and avoid further hurting China-Slovakia relations. We also have this stern warning for the Taiwan authorities: All attempts to seek independence under any pretext and in any form are doomed to fail.
MASTV: We know Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Games and the Salt Lake City is bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics. Will China consider a diplomatic boycott of the Games?
Zhao Lijian: The US’ erroneous actions have undermined the foundation and the atmosphere for China-US sports exchange and Olympics cooperation. It is like shooting itself in the foot. The US should be clear about the consequences of its wrong moves.