|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 8, 2022|
CRI: According to reports, Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi announced in a televised statement on April 7 that he would transfer power to a newly-formed presidential leadership council. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China welcomes the formation of the presidential leadership council in Yemen. We support relevant Yemeni parties in realizing a political settlement of the Yemeni issue through dialogue. We commend the effort by the Gulf Cooperation Council and other parties to promote political consultation in Yemen, which has produced positive outcomes. We hope that all sides in Yemen will take this as an opportunity to continue to advance the political resolution process so as to restore security and stability at an early date.
AFP: Do you have any more information on today’s virtual meeting between President Xi and President Duterte of the Philippines?
Zhao Lijian: We will release information in due course if there’s any.
Dragon TV: The website of the WHO released the report on WHO Expert Meeting on Evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of COVID-19 the other day. The report recognizes the safety and efficacy of TCM in treating patients with COVID-19, and encourages Member States to consider the integration of TCM in planning for the clinical management of COVID-19 in the context of their health-care systems and regulatory frameworks. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: I have noted the report. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, TCM has been deeply and comprehensively involved in the pandemic prevention and control in China. Applying TCM and integrating TCM and Western medicine have delivered notable effects. As the WHO report pointed out, TCM was seen to reduce the risk of mild or moderate disease progressing to severe disease. For mild-to-moderate cases, the studied TCMs, when administered as add-on interventions to conventional treatment, may shorten the time for viral clearance, resolution of clinical symptoms and length of hospital stay when compared to conventional treatment alone. And early application of TCM may result in better clinical outcomes for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.
Traditional Chinese medicine is a jewel of the Chinese nation and treasure for people around the world. Since COVID-19 broke out, China has been making contributions to the global fight against the pandemic with TCM. According to incomplete statistics, China has so far shared TCM diagnosis and treatment guidelines with over 150 countries and regions, provided TCM products to more than 10 countries and regions in need, and sent TCM experts to guide epidemic control in 29 countries and regions. In March last year, the Chinese side held the “Forum on Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Cooperation to Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic”, during which political leaders, government officials, WHO representatives and experts from 28 countries and regions had in-depth exchanges via videolink. The forum adopted the Initiative on Supporting the Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Global Fight Against COVID-19. Not long ago, the Chinese side released a development plan to enhance the integration of TCM into high quality Belt and Road cooperation for the period from 2021 to 2025. It proposes that during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China will cooperate with countries along the Belt and Road to build 30 high-quality TCM centers overseas to provide quality TCM services to people of these countries.
China has been doing its utmost in the fight against COVID-19 together with the rest of the world. China has been sharing its experience in applying TCM to prevention, control and treatment with the rest of the world with nothing held back. We are glad to see that more and more countries have come to appreciate the value of TCM. The WHO Expert Meeting’s explicit acknowledgement of TCM’s role in combating COVID-19 is an epitome of this increasing international recognition. China stands ready to work with other countries as well as the WHO to give full play to the unique advantages and role of traditional medicine including TCM, deepen exchange and cooperation in traditional medicine, continue to advance international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, and contribute to protecting the life and health of people in all countries.
Macau Monthly: Recorded Future, a US-based cybersecurity consultancy, said in its report that hackers suspected to be linked to the Chinese government launched activities of cyber espionage against India’s power sector near Ladakh for recent months. The company has passed on the information to the Indian government. Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy Shri R. K. Singh confirmed cyber attacks on India. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has noted the relevant report. Based on some footage of media interviews, the Indian official mainly talked about the importance for the country to take measures to strengthen its cybersecurity. They did not associate cyber activities with China, and said they could originate from any country. It is China’s consistent belief that cybersecurity is a common challenge facing all countries that should be jointly addressed through dialogue and cooperation.
For some time, in the name of enhancing capacity building, the US has been seeking military cooperation with China’s neighbors in the field of cyberspace to pursue “Forward Deployment” in China’s neighborhood. We have also noted that the US government and some cyber security companies have started to spread disinformation about “Chinese hacking” in a systematic manner. China is firmly opposed to this.
Recently, Chinese cyber security companies released a series of reports, revealing that the US government launched cyber attacks on many countries around the world, including China, seriously jeopardizing the security of key infrastructure of these countries. It is worth noting that many of US allies or countries with which it cooperates on cyber security are also victims of US cyber attacks. We believe that the international community, especially China’s neighboring countries, will keep their eyes wide open and make their own judgment on the true intentions of the US side.
Bloomberg: So it appears Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to make a trip to Taiwan after all, because she has COVID. Do you have a comment about this?
Zhao Lijian: China has recently made its position clear on Speaker Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan and Chinese officials have also lodged solemn representations with the US side. We extend sympathy to Speaker Pelosi for contracting COVID-19 and wish her a speedy recovery. What she should do is not postpone the visit, but cancel it immediately.
RIA Novosti: On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. What’s China’s comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: China’s Permanent Representative to the UN already fully expounded China’s position in his statement before the vote of the General Assembly. I would like to reiterate that China always stands for promoting and protecting human rights through constructive dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. China firmly opposes the politicization and instrumentalization of the human rights issue, rejects selective and confrontational approaches as well as double standards on human rights issue, and opposes pressuring other countries in the name of human rights. The resolution would strip Russia of its legal membership in the Human Rights Council. Such a serious matter must be handled with extreme caution and in a calm, objective and rational approach based on facts and truth. The relevant resolution was not drafted in an open and transparent manner, nor did it follow the tradition of holding consultations within the whole membership to heed the broadest opinions. Such a move will only aggravate the division among member states and intensify the contradictions between the parties concerned. It is like adding fuel to the fire, which is not conducive to the de-escalation of conflicts, and even less so to advancing the peace talks. Dealing with the membership of the Human Rights Council in such a way would set a new and dangerous precedent, further intensify confrontations, bring a greater impact on the UN governance system, and produce serious consequences. China calls on all parties to work together in the same direction, so as to create opportunities for peace and prospects for negotiation.
The Paper: The Guardian reported that according to a newly declassified report, a detainee at a secret CIA detention site in Afghanistan was used as a living prop to teach trainee interrogators, who lined up to take turns at knocking his head against a plywood wall and dousing him with ice-cold water. The tortures against humanity have left him devastated both physically and mentally. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The CIA has set up black sites in many countries under the pretext of “War on Terror”, where the terrorist suspects they alleged have been secretly put under arbitrary detention and extortion of confessions by torture is applied. This has drawn widespread criticism from the international community. The notorious Guantanamo Bay, the Bagram prison in Afghanistan and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, are caught up in prisoner abuse scandals, with the use of brutal and horrifying “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding and sleep deprivation.
These black sites are typical examples of the US’ trampling on the rule of law and violation of human rights. The report of the Costs of War Project of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University published at the beginning of this year points out that following the attacks of September 11, the US has orchestrated a system of black sites throughout the world in at least 54 countries and regions, where over 100,000 people were detained, and the detainees include Muslims, females and children. US taxpayers are spending $540 million a year just to detain prisoners at Guantánamo.
However, not a single US official has so far been held to account for devising, authorizing or implementing the secret detention and torture program. The US government has even gone further to cover up and deny its crimes and violations of human rights. In 2020, after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) noted that the US forces and CIA may have committed war crimes with prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, the US leveled sanctions and imposed visa restrictions on several officials, including the chief prosecutor of the ICC. In 2021, after the UN Committee Against Torture said that the CIA black sites are rife with torture, the US government refused to disclose relevant information citing confidentiality.
Facts speak louder than words. The US black sites around the world fully indicate that the US has no right to point fingers at others in the name of democracy and human rights. What the US should do is immediately abolish its black sites all over the world, earnestly reflect on its crimes, apologize to and compensate for the victims, and hold those who authorized and carried out torture accountable.