|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 10, 2021|
As agreed by the two sides, the 8th China-France High Level Economic and Financial Dialogue will be held through teleconference on December 13. Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua of the State Council and French Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery Bruno Le Maire will co-chair the dialogue. The dialogue will actively implement the series of important consensus in economic and financial fields between the two heads of state through discussions on cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, agriculture, aviation and aerospace, civil nuclear energy, scientific and technological innovation, finance and the third markets.
Established in 2013, the China-France High Level Economic and Financial Dialogue serves as an important platform for consultation and coordination on major issues in the economic and financial sectors. It has made positive contributions to deepening bilateral practical cooperation in these areas, enhancing communication and coordination on major international economic and financial issues, and promoting the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership.
Xinhua News Agency: This morning, China and Nicaragua resumed diplomatic relations. What is the significance of the resumption of diplomatic ties under the current circumstances?
Wang Wenbin: This morning, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting with Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada and met with a government delegation of Nicaragua visiting China via video link. The two sides officially confirmed all the contents in the Joint Communiqué on the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua. China welcomes the Nicaraguan government’s political decision to sever “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan and resume diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. Nicaragua has thus become the 181st country to have normal diplomatic relations with China.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang stressed that the one-China principle is the general consensus of the international community and a universally-agreed norm governing international relations. Nicaragua has made an important decision to resume and develop normal relations with China, thus choosing to stand on the right side of history with the overwhelming majority of countries in the world. The resumption of diplomatic ties is fully in keeping with the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and is sure to be welcomed and supported by the two peoples. China and Nicaragua shall cement the one-China principle, the political foundation of bilateral relations, work together to chart the course of development of bilateral ties, and steadily advance exchanges and cooperation in various fields that will bring benefits to both countries and peoples.
The Nicaraguan side noted that exchanges between the two countries date back a long time. The two governing parties and two countries share revolutionary friendship and brotherly bonds. The resumption of diplomatic ties is supported by the entire Nicaraguan population. With profound sincerity in resuming diplomatic relations, Nicaragua will fully honor its commitments, firmly uphold the one-China principle, and support all the endeavors and actions of China for its complete reunification.
Before the meeting, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu held talks with Laureano Ortega, the representative of the Nicaraguan government. They signed the Joint Communiqué on the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations Between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua has resumed diplomatic ties with China without preconditions and stands on the right side of history. We highly appreciate that. Nicaragua is an important country in Central America. The resumption of diplomatic ties between China and Nicaragua opens a new chapter of friendly cooperation between the two countries in various fields on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We believe the development of bilateral relations will surely benefit the two countries and two peoples. China will continue to develop friendly relations and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the one-China principle.
The resumption of diplomatic ties between China and Nicaragua once again indicates that the one-China principle is a universally-agreed norm governing international relations and the general consensus of the international community. Upholding the one-China principle is in line with global justice. No force can stand in the way of the shared aspiration of the people and the general trend of the times.
RTHK: US President Joe Biden said on the first day of the “Summit for Democracy” that global democracy and universal human rights have experienced a decline over the last 10 years. Autocrats seek to expand their influence on democracies, justify their repressive policies and practices, and fan the flames of societal division and political polarization. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: Democracy is a common value of humanity instead of a geostrategic tool. The US privatizes the public good of democracy, stoke division and confrontation in the name of democracy, and undermine the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law. All this is done to defend the US hegemony, which is out-and-out anti-democratic.
To realize democracy, there must be equality rather than superiority, rule of law rather than bullying and coercion, and solidarity rather than confrontation. The self-styled “beacon of democracy” has evident democratic malaise and huge democratic deficits. The countries that pose the greatest threat to global democracy are exactly those that interfere in others’ internal affairs, arbitrarily impose unilateral sanctions, and carry out military interventions across the world.
Facts have proven long ago that exerting one’s own model of democracy on the world doesn’t work. The US tries to divide the world into “democratic” and “undemocratic” camps by its own standard, and blatantly instigates division and confrontation. Such practice will only cause more turmoil and disasters to the world, and will meet strong condemnation and opposition from the international community.
Reuters: Will China engage in economic cooperation with or offer economic assistance to Nicaragua upon resuming diplomatic relations? If so, could you share the amount or scale of such cooperation or assistance?
Wang Wenbin: First I’d like to say that the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua is a political decision, not a bargaining chip. Nicaragua made this political decision based on its recognition of the one-China principle. There is no economic precondition. China highly appreciates its position. I want to add that the resumption of diplomatic ties opens broad prospects for the development of bilateral relations. The two sides will conduct all-round mutually-beneficial cooperation on the basis of the one-China principle. We will increase exchange at various levels and enhance mutual trust. We will actively conduct anti-epidemic cooperation, draw on each other’s complementary strengths, actively promote practical cooperation and exchange in various areas, and advance our people’s wellbeing. We will also maintain close communication and coordination in international and regional affairs to safeguard developing countries’ common interests.
People’s Daily: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, said his spokesperson recently. French President Emmanuel Macron said the Olympics should not be politicized, and any such move would be insignificant and merely symbolic. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said that the US tries to politicize the Beijing Winter Olympics but the Olympic Movement will not be affected. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Beijing Winter Olympics is a gathering of Olympic athletes and winter sports lovers across the world. Not long ago, the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution on Olympic Truce for the Beijing Winter Games that is co-sponsored by 173 countries, showcasing the international community’s full support for the Beijing Winter Olympics. We are seeing more and more governments and national Olympic committees expressing in public their support for the 2022 Beijing Games. IOC President Thomas Bach underlined the mission of the Games to unite the world. It could be the end of the Olympic Movement if politics got involved. It is against the mission of the IOC if Olympics is used to intensify conflicts and differences.
We welcome athletes and relevant people from across the world to come to China for the Games in 2022. China is ready to work with all parties to practice the Olympic spirit of “together” and make new contributions to promoting the Olympic cause.
RIA Novosti: Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video summit with US President Joe Biden. This week the Russian president and the American leader also held video talks. So are there any plans to hold a video summit of the leaders of China and Russia until the end of this year? And second, in China’s opinion, what issues do Moscow and Beijing currently view as the most important for bilateral relations?
Wang Wenbin: The guidance of the two head of states is the fundamental guarantee for and the greatest advantage of the sustained and high-level development of China-Russia relations. Since 2013, President Xi Jinping and President Putin have met 36 times, which steered the course of back-to-back strategic cooperation between the two countries, made top-level design for all-round pragmatic cooperation between the two sides, and injected strong impetus into the cause of world peace and development.
President Xi Jinping has invited President Putin to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February next year. President Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure. Before that, the two heads of state will continue to maintain close contact through various means. Please stay tuned for the specific arrangements as they come out.
RTHK: Some countries still remain the so-called “diplomatic allies” of Taiwan. How do you comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: I just made clear China’s position on the resumption of diplomatic ties with Nicaragua. I want to stress one more point. Taiwan is a part of China. This is a clear and simple fact that can be easily understood. There are still a few countries in the world that maintain “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan. The reason behind this is that the Taiwan authorities engaged in “dollar diplomacy” in negligence of the well-being of the people in Taiwan. It is also due to various sorts of pressure imposed by the US on these countries. Sooner or later, these countries will establish or resume normal diplomatic relations with China in accordance with the spirit of Resolution 2758 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 50 years ago. It is just a matter of time because this is an unstoppable trend of the times.
The Paper: The world celebrates Human Rights Day today. A handful of Western countries have raised concerns about China’s human rights conditions. What is China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: “Human rights for all” is a great dream of the human society and a common goal that all countries have consistently pursued. Who has the final say on a country’s human rights situation, and who should rate a country’s human rights cause? The only answer is the people of a country. To tell whether a model of human rights protection works, one has to check if it meets people’s interests. To tell whether a country’s human rights situation is good or not, one has to see if it can improve people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. The most basic human right is the right to a happy life.
China attaches great importance to promoting and protecting human rights. The one hundred years of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been a journey of fighting for, respecting, protecting and developing human rights. We made it possible for our nearly 1.4 billion people to shake off poverty and lead a decent and comfortable life. The average life expectancy rose to 77 years from 35 years. More than 1.3 billion Chinese people have access to basic medical insurance. China is rated among the ten fast-track countries of women’s and children’s health by the WHO, and has put in place the largest systems of education, social insurance, medical care and institutions of democracy at the community level. The CPC has led the Chinese people in securing the victories of poverty eradication and the fight against COVID-19, where more than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty and the health of over 1.4 billion people has been effectively protected. These are the best illustration of the great achievement of China’s human rights development.
China has been pursuing its development in the context of human development, and stays committed to continued progress in world human rights development. We uphold peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are all common values of humanity, and make China’s voice heard by putting forward China’s propositions and making China’s contribution to improving global human rights governance. China has embarked on the new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a great modern socialist country. China’s human rights will be protected at a higher level, and China will make new, greater contributions to the international human rights development.
There is no one-size-fits-all path for human rights development. When it comes to human rights, there is no “country on a hill” that is superior to others. And no country has the right to be a “human rights judge”, still less interfere in others’ internal affairs while wielding the baton of human rights. China is ready to conduct human rights dialogue and exchange with all countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. But we will never accept a self-righteous “human rights lecturer”. Certain Western countries willfully and condescendingly criticize other countries’ human rights conditions while turning a blind eye to their own systemic racism and racial discrimination in the past and at present. Still worse, they use human rights protection as the pretext for bullying, sanctions and belligerence, which is typical double-standard and travesty of international human rights. We urge certain countries to discard their old habits, earnestly reflect upon their deplorable track record of human rights and face up to and address their own problems.
There is always room for improvement when it comes to protecting human rights. On this Human Rights Day, we call on all countries to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, conduct constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights, firmly oppose politicization of and double standards on human rights, and jointly promote the sound development of international human rights.
China News Service: Critics said that the US has committed outrageous crimes against American Indians for centuries. However, instead of making genuine reflections, the US government has been making irresponsible remarks and pointing fingers at other countries on human rights. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: As is known to all, the US brutally killed American Indians, forcibly expelled and assimilated them and committed systemic violation of their human rights through legislation. It has conducted numerous crimes against humanity on American Indians, which constitute de facto genocide.
In history, the US slaughtered many American Indians and committed physical genocide against them. Over the 100-plus years after the US was founded till the end of World War II, the US launched a systemic ethnic cleansing that resulted in nosedive of the American Indians’ population from 5 million at the end of the 15th century to 250,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, pushing over ten tribes, including the Pequot tribe, the Mahican tribe and the Massachusett tribe, towards extinction. Former US President Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, a leader of the Union Armies in the American Civil War, spoke favorably of ridding the country of Indian tribes by any means necessary and exterminating the Indians. The US squeezed the living space of native Indians through forced migration and the reservation system, which amounted to genocide. The Indian Removal Act adopted in 1830 forced about 100,000 native Indians to migrate to remote and small reservations by expelling, cheating and coercion. Many of them died on the way of migration. At the end of the 20th century, the US coaxed or forced native Indians into allowing the burial of nuclear waste, industrial refuse and other garbage that endangers people’s health in Indian reservations. It has caused serious environmental pollution which led to the deaths of many Indians. The US was not even sparing Indian reservations.
The US adopted policies to assimilate American Indians, which amounted to cultural genocide. In 1887, the US government introduced the Dawes Act, which shattered the people’s tribal relations, the traditional source of income and cultural values, and reduced the jobless American Indians to the bottom of society. For over a century between 1869 and 1978, more than 350 boarding schools in the US tried to replace the American Indians’ values, languages and lifestyle with Christianity, the English language and Western traditions. A large number of Native children died from hunger, disease, physical punishment or sexual abuse, or committed suicide having endured maltreatment.
Among all ethnic groups in the US, American Indians have the shortest life expectancy, the highest poverty rate, the highest rate of alcohol abuse and the lowest community doctor-patient ratio. Not long ago, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues pointed out that “indigenous peoples’ experiences have for centuries been one of dispossession, brutality and even in some cases genocide”. The names of some US cities, communities and blocks are derived from American Indian languages. The images and elements of American Indians appear extensively in movies, advertisements and even the names of cars. In reality, however, American Indians are still mired in systemic discrimination, now consigned to oblivion away from extermination.
The genocide of American Indians in the US is not just a historical problem, but also a persisting, systemic issue of racism. While claiming to be a role model of human rights, the US has been employing double standards and instrumentalizing human rights to defend hegemony. We urge the US side to give up arrogance and prejudice, face up to and examine its grave human rights problems, and take concrete measures to address them rather than point fingers at others and make irresponsible remarks.
Bloomberg: The Biden administration aims to sign what it describes as a very powerful economic framework agreement with Asian nations next year, according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this economic deal?
Wang Wenbin: The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains is the result of market rules and choices of businesses. As an economy with the greatest dynamism and potential, China has been actively maintaining the stability of global industrial and supply chains, and unswervingly building an open world economy.
The US repeatedly abuses state power to politicize and instrumentalize science and technology and economic and trade issues based on ideology. It has also intentionally put in place trade and investment barriers against specific countries. Such moves have undermined international trade rules and divided the global market.
The US forced the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), Samsung and other companies to provide chip supply chain data to the US. Is this also part of the framework you mentioned? In a world where the global economy is deeply integrated, the US moves to undermine the stability of global industrial and supply chains are against the trend. They are unpopular and will inevitably end up harming the US itself. We urge the US to adopt a correct attitude, follow the trend of the times, discard the zero-sum mentality, earnestly safeguard a fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment, and stop doing things that undermine world economic recovery and growth.
China Daily: Grave human rights crimes were committed by and still exist in the UK, Australia and Canada. Some commented that in recent time, these countries have appeared to offer their apologies but hardly taken measures to redress the problems and make compensations. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted that strong concerns have been raised over the serious human rights violations in the UK, Australia and Canada by the UN Human Rights Council and relevant experts. The UK committed atrocities of killings all over the world during its fanatical colonial rule, leaving behind innumerous human rights crimes. In recent years, racism has run rampant in the UK, with a hike of systemic discrimination, violent provocations and hate crimes against minority groups. There are a lot of such phenomena as xenophobia, hate speeches, and severe rights abuses against refugees and immigrants. British forces killed innocent people and committed torture in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but the culprits are sheltered by the government and remain beyond the law.
Australia pursued the infamous White Australia Policy in its history. 100,000 aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families, and the lingering pain inflicted on the Stolen Generations can still be felt clearly today across the whole society. Even until today, the aboriginal people are suffering grave injustice in in terms of living conditions as well judicial system and law enforcement. Australia has put a great number of refugees and migrants in its off-shore detention centers, where they have been physically and emotionally abused for a long time with suspicious deaths reported from time to time. From 2012 to 2013, Australian soldiers abused and brutally killed captives and even civilians by shooting them or slitting their throats, triggering indignation from the international community.
The Canadian government in the past openly uttered the goal of “kill the Indian in the child”, and set up residential schools to carry out cultural genocide policies. Over 150,000 indigenous children were sent to such schools, of which more than 50,000 died of abuses. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, discrimination, stigmatization and violence targeting Asian Canadians have apparently increased. The successive discoveries of all the remains and unmarked graves of Indigenous children in Canada since the beginning of this year are simply shocking and heartbreaking. In the face of such blatant racial discrimination and human rights violations, the Canadian government has basically resorted to empty posturing short of concrete measures to safeguard the legal rights and interests of ethnic minorities.
Relevant countries have claimed to be the “model of human rights” and “human rights judge”, and made irresponsible and presumptuous criticism with regard to other countries’ human rights situation. However, they have evaded and downplayed their own human rights abuses that took place in the past and are still happening today, repeating their wrongdoing time and again. They try to make their apologies look sincere, but in essence take this as a means to whitewash their crimes. There is no follow-up measure to punish the culprits and offer redress. Such gimmick can never deceive the world.
We advise the UK, Australia and Canada to do some soul-searching and show true remorse and redress their wrongdoing on the human rights issues, rather than stopping at posturing. They’d better not become a footnote to the well-known saying of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “But what experience and history teach is this, that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history and acted according to lessons that could have been drawn from it.”
Bloomberg: The Pentagon is looking for new ways to deter national security threats from countries such as China and Russia, according to the US Assistant Secretary of Defense. Does China have any comments on these moves from the Pentagon?
Wang Wenbin: As we have pointed out many times, some people in the US have repeatedly cited the so-called “China threat” rhetoric as an excuse to justify its expansion of military strength. We urge the US to abandon its outdated Cold War mentality and ideological bias, honor its pledge of not seeking a new Cold War, and do more to safeguard regional and global peace and stability, rather than the opposite.