|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 24, 2021|
Phoenix TV: We’ve noted that Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on December 24 that Japan’s Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, Paralympic Committee President Kazuyuki Mori and Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China welcomes representatives of Japan’s Olympic Committee and other organizations as well as Japanese athletes to the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. We have every confidence that working together with all sides under the Olympic motto of “together”, China will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic event to the world.
MASTV: Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt on December 24 that Chinese customs are not clearing goods from EU countries if they contain parts originating from Lithuania. The number of such cases is increasing. The EU will work to find resolutions acceptable to both sides. In the meantime, it is collecting evidence and may take action against China before the WTO, if necessary. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China always acts in a way that conforms to WTO rules. Certain media reports about removing Lithuania from Chinese customs’ clearance systems, suspending Lithuania’s permits of importing from China and pressuring multinational corporations not to use parts made in Lithuania are not true. If companies meet technical problems in exporting certain products to China, they can report to competent authorities in China through normal channels. We hope certain individuals of the EU can respect facts and stop making irresponsible remarks. At the same time, I have to stress again that what Lithuania did has gravely undermined the political foundation of China-Lithuania diplomatic relations and the atmosphere of practical and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. I also learned that many Chinese companies no longer see Lithuania as a trustworthy partner for cooperation. When facing difficulties in economic and trade cooperation with China, Lithuania must look for causes from within.
Dragon TV: The UNGA just adopted a Chinese-proposed resolution titled “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security”. Could you share more with us and tell us the follow-up measures China will take?
Zhao Lijian: On the afternoon of December 24 Beijing time, the plenary meeting of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” submitted by China.
This resolution holds high the banner of a community with a shared future for mankind, advocates universal security and common development, calls for safeguarding the legitimate rights of all countries to peaceful use of science and technology and participate in international cooperation, and urges relevant countries to remove excessive restrictions and discriminatory export controls imposed on the peaceful use of science and technology by developing countries. The resolution also requests the UN Secretary-General to submit a report to the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly next year for further discussion by member states.
This is a resolution that reflects the common position of developing countries and serves the common interests of the international community. As the initiator of the resolution, China stands ready to work with all parties to advance the follow-up process of the UN General Assembly and ensure the full and effective implementation of the resolution.
RTHK: US President Joe Biden signed an Act that bans all imports from Xinjiang, unless businesses can prove the items did not involve forced labor. What is China’s response?
Zhao Lijian: On December 23 local time, the US side signed the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. This Act maliciously denigrates the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang in disregard of facts and truth. It seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China deplores and firmly rejects this.
The so-called allegations of “forced labor” and “genocide” in Xinjiang are nothing but vicious lies concocted by anti-China forces. Xinjiang’s economic development and social stability is recognized by the whole world. The fact that residents of all ethnic groups there enjoy happy and fulfilling lives is witnessed by all. The US side keeps using Xinjiang-related issues to create rumors and make trouble. Essentially it is engaging in political manipulation and economic coercion, and seeking to undermine Xinjiang’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s development under the pretext of human rights.
It is preposterous for the US, a country with a deplorable track record of human rights issues, to accuse and smear China. The US has serious problems of human trafficking and forced labor. Up to 100,000 people were trafficked into the US for forced labor annually over the past five years. Crimes against humanity against Native Americans in the past constitute de facto genocide. The US should save the labels of “forced labor” and “genocide” for itself.
Xinjiang-related issues are not human rights issues at all, but in essence about countering violent terrorism and separatism. The Chinese side sternly warns the US side that crafting conspiracies and plots with Xinjiang-related issues will not stop the pursuit of a better life by people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang or hold back China’s development. The US acts totally violate market principles and commercial ethics. Such moves will only undermine the stability of global industrial and supply chains, disrupt international trade order and hurt the US’ own interests and credibility. The rock they are lifting will end up dropping on their own feet.
I must stress once again that Xinjiang-related issues are purely China’s internal affairs. The Chinese government and Chinese people are firmly resolved in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. We admonish the US to correct the mistake immediately, and stop using Xinjiang-related issues to spread lies, interfere in China’s internal affairs and contain China’s development. China will make further response in light of the development of the situation.
Shenzhen TV: On December 23, the China Society for Human Rights Studies issued a report titled “Limitations and Drawbacks of American Democracy”, which systematically elaborated on the political nature and historical limitations of the American democracy and points out its real drawbacks, including polarization, double standards, domination of money and formalized nature. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: I have noted the report. The American democracy is full of chronic malaise and riddled with problems. The US is in no position to call itself “a human right judge”, still less export hegemony.
First, the American democracy exists only in formality, which cannot protect whole-process equality among people. Election featuring “one person, one vote” becomes the entirety of the American democracy, while the whole process of democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight are neglected. As a result, political donations hijack elections at the expense of voters’ interests. People of color in the US have long been deprived of the right to democratic participation, and Native Americans suffered systemic genocide, exclusion and assimilation. They have no democratic rights to speak of.
Second, the American democracy follows hypocritical double standards as the US is lenient toward itself but harsh on others. US politicians describe the Jasmine Revolution and Arab Spring as “democratic” movements, call violence destabilizing Hong Kong by some anti-China forces “a beautiful sight to behold”, but denounce the storming of the Capitol Hill as a riot. It is laid bare that the so-called democracy is only a slogan to serve the purpose of protecting US’ interests. And to safeguard self-interests, the US will take a stand against true democracy without a second thought.
Third, the American democracy is filled with hegemonic mentality that has caused grave humanitarian disasters. The US disregards the historical limitations and real drawbacks of the American democracy as well as the diversity of democracy. It is bent on imposing the American democracy on the world, and even goes so far as to wage illegal wars in Iraq, Syria and other countries in the name of democracy that killed civilians and violated human rights, among other horrendous crimes.
People all over the world should be able to independently choose paths to democratic development suitable to their countries’ characteristics. This represents a historical trend that cannot be changed by anyone. The American democracy has fully shown many historical limitations and real drawbacks. But the erroneous practice to impose its own model of democracy and thwart democracy under the pretext of democracy will only be met with greater opposition.
The Paper: I’d like to follow up on an earlier question. A fellow journalist said that Japan’s Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, Paralympic Committee President Kazuyuki Mori and Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. I’ve seen other reports that Japan’s delegation of athletes will compete in the Beijing Games as scheduled, but Japan has no plans to send a government delegation. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China welcomes representatives of Japan’s Olympic Committee and other organizations as well as Japanese athletes to the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. We paid attention to the statement from the Japanese government. Japan and China agreed to support each other in hosting the Olympics. The Japanese side is hoped and urged to take concrete actions to honor its word on this and on not politicizing sports. China has every confidence that working together with all sides under the Olympic motto of “together”, China will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic event to the world.
Beijing Daily: On December 23, the White House spokesperson commented on Intel’s statement of apology around supply chains in Xinjiang that the private sector and the international community should oppose China’s weaponizing of its market to stifle support for human rights. She added, “American companies should never feel the need to apologize for standing up for fundamental human rights or opposing repression”, and called on “all industries to ensure that they are not sourcing products that involve forced labor, including forced labor from Xinjiang”. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: Deflecting blames is nothing new. But none is in parallel with this one. The so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang is an out-and-out lie. The US makes up lies to hype up Xinjiang-related issues, formulates evil laws, hobbles businesses in Xinjiang and deprives all ethnic groups there of the right to a prosperous life through hard work. Essentially, the US seeks to undermine Xinjiang’s stability and prosperity and hold back China’s development. Such practice, without morality and credibility, is nothing like a major country’s demeanor. The US scheme will never succeed and China will make resolute response.
We believe that any company should respect objective facts, distinguish right from wrong, and uphold conscience and justice. Otherwise, it is the company’s interests and reputation that will be hurt.
MASTV: On December 23, the summary of proceedings of the “Summit for Democracy” was released on the US State Department website. It details Nathan Law’s malicious accusations of the Chinese government. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: This individual you mentioned is a criminal suspect wanted by the Hong Kong police. The US’ blatant provision of a platform for this criminal suspect and “Hong Kong independence” element reveals the political motive behind this so-called summit, which is nothing but political manipulation.
I want to stress again that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no intervention of any foreign government, organization and individual. Any attempt to use Hong Kong to undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests will never succeed. All the anti-China elements destabilizing Hong Kong and colluding with external forces to smear Hong Kong and defame China will end up being etched into the historical pillar of shame.
Bloomberg: Yesterday Kyodo News reported that Japan and the US have made a draft joint operation plan in case of a Taiwan emergency. And the two nations are likely start working to formalize the operation plan when their foreign ministers and defense ministers meet in January. What is your response?
Zhao Lijian: There have been quite some reports like this recently. China is following them closely.
I want to stress that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. China never allows any country to meddle in the Taiwan question and interfere in China’s internal affairs under any pretext or in any form. No one should underestimate the strong resolution, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
MASTV: I have another question about the summary of proceedings of the “Summit for Democracy”. It reads, US Secretary of State Blinken and Lithuanian Foreign Minister co-hosted a roundtable discussion. Participants, including family members of people arbitrarily detained in Belarus, China, and other countries, shared personal stories of political persecution and called for greater cooperation among democratic governments to pursue the release of those unjustly imprisoned. US Under Secretary of State Uzra Zeya called for increased governmental action to secure the release of the million-plus political prisoners worldwide. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The US’ so-called “Summit for Democracy” had concluded with lukewarm response from the international community. This shows the US wins no support as it serves its own interests under the guise of democracy. The “Summit for Democracy” indeed tears open the US mask of “democracy defender”, and reveals its true face of “democracy saboteur”.
Facts have proven time and again that the US is the world champion in terms of arbitrary detention and political persecution. Perhaps for the US, it should charge and extradite “political prisoners” like Snowden and Assange who are courageous enough to reveal US’ crimes and misdeeds, while other countries should increase “action to secure the release” of political prisoners. The hypocrisy and double standards of the US are self-evident and preposterous.
CCTV: Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora said on December 23 that the eighth round of talks to revive the JCPOA will resume on December 27. “Important to pick up the pace on key outstanding issues and move forward, working closely with the US”, he said. On the same day, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that “if you want to have your concerns addressed, then all sanctions must be lifted”. What’s China’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China welcomes the upcoming eighth round of negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA in Vienna. We hope all parties will adopt a serious attitude, focus on outstanding issues, and continue to advance the negotiations to achieve early results.
I’d like to reiterate that, as the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should overhaul its erroneous policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, and lift all illegal sanctions on Iran and “long-arm jurisdiction” on third parties. On this basis, Iran should resume full compliance.
China will continue to play an active and constructive role, and work with all parties to bring the JCPOA back onto the right track at an early date. Meanwhile, we will firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.
TASS: At his annual news conference on December 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned China several times. He said that the close cooperation between Russia and China “benefits both the Russian and Chinese people. It is, of course, a strong stabilizing factor in the international arena”. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted President Putin’s positive comments on his personal friendship with President Xi Jinping and the China-Russia relations. China appreciates that.
President Xi Jinping and President Putin are good and congenial friends. Since 2013, the two heads of state have met more than 30 times. With each other’s development and revitalization and world peace and stability in mind, the two sides have steered the course of bilateral relations and designed and advanced all-round cooperation. We have made the relationship between China and Russia a major-country relationship with the highest level of mutual trust, coordination and strategic value, and set a good example for major countries and neighboring countries to get along with each other.
There is no limit, no forbidden zone and no ceiling to how far China-Russia cooperation can go. China is ready to further expand all-round mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia in accordance with the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, boost the development and revitalization of the two countries, and share development opportunities with the rest of the world.
Not long ago, President Xi Jinping and President Putin held a virtual meeting and agreed on their upcoming meeting on the occasion of the Winter Olympics and the Spring Festival. We believe that President Putin’s visit will renew the good tradition of head-of-state exchanges and add new impetus to the development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era.