|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 9, 2022|
Phoenix TV: The Sixth-Term Chief Executive election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was concluded on May 8. The European Union, in its statement, “regrets this violation of democratic principles and political pluralism and sees this selection process as yet another step in the dismantling of the One Country, Two Systems principle”. What is China’s response to that?
Zhao Lijian: The spokespersons for the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Mission to the European Union have made their responses. On May 8, the Sixth-Term Chief Executive election of the HKSAR was held smoothly. Mr. John Lee Ka-chiu was elected with overwhelming support. The election was conducted in a fair, just and orderly fashion in accordance with laws and regulations. The result fully demonstrates that the new electoral system is democratic, advanced, and it is a good system in keeping with the principle of One Country, Two Systems as well as the SAR’s realities. It embodies the mainstream public opinion and strong consensus of forging ahead in solidarity shared by all sectors in Hong Kong. We believe the new Chief Executive will surely lead the new administration and people from all walks of life to jointly open up new vistas in the SAR with good governance.
Just as the new electoral system is taking root and democracy is improving in Hong Kong, the EU scurried to criticize, attack and smear the process and result of the election. This fully exposes their true face of using democracy and freedom as a cover to meddle in China’s internal affairs and undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. They applaud fake democracy featuring pan-politicization and rampant black-clad violence, but feel agitated by true democracy that suits Hong Kong’s realities and implements the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong. The Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots, have all seen through such double standards on democracy. In today’s Hong Kong, the old playbook and the meddling tricks no longer work.
I would like to stress that Hong Kong is China’s special administrative region and its election as well as the result is purely China’s internal affair, on which foreign forces are in no position to make wanton comments. Certain Western countries should face squarely the fact that Hong Kong returned to its motherland 25 years ago, grasp the overriding trend of chaos to stability in the SAR, and immediately stop all forms of attempts to disrupt Hong Kong and contain China.
AFP: The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s team arrived in China two weeks ago. Are they now out of quarantine and what’s the possible next step?
Zhao Lijian: I answered this question last week. The preparatory team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights arrived in China on April 25 to prepare for the visit of High Commissioner Ms. Bachelet in May. The preparatory team entered through Guangzhou and is currently under quarantine according to relevant anti-epidemic protocols.
The Paper: According to reports, the Asian American Academy of Science and Engineering and the American Physical Society held a webinar not long ago, and invited researchers of Chinese descent who had been falsely accused under the US Department of Justice’s “China Initiative” to share their stories of persecution. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have taken note of relevant reports. The US Department of Justice has halted the so-called “China Initiative”. The Initiative is actually a tool used by anti-China forces in the US to contain and suppress China by abusing the national security concept. It is also a vivid depiction of the resurgence of McCarthyism. It not only gravely hurts the interests of the Asian community in the US, but also has a grave impact on China-US people-to-people and cultural exchange.
According to relevant researchers’ stories and media reports, the “China Initiative” has made a series of grave mistakes. First, hasty proceedings and dereliction. For instance, an attorney had not held face-to-face interview with critical witnesses for nearly a year, but hastily ordered the arrest of the researcher concerned and expedited the case just to hold a press conference before leaving office. Second, distorting facts and concealing the truth. For example, the US prosecutors criminalized normal academic activities such as serving as international reviewers, used unreplied emails and meeting minutes taken out of context as evidence, and withheld evidence proving the researcher’s innocence for a long period of time. Third, offenses in law enforcement and abuse of power. For example, US investigators used disinformation, restricted relevant researchers’ travel abroad, ran surveillance on their families, coerced them into spying for the US government, and even conducted sting operations. All these have caused severe damage to the mental well-being, reputation and career of the researchers concerned. However, the relevant US government departments and individuals have neither offered any apology or compensation to the victims nor held anyone accountable.
What fault can be found with normal people-to-people exchange between China and the US? Although the “China Initiative” has been aborted, its egregious impact has not been removed completely. As long as some in the US still cling to the Cold War and zero sum mentality and ideological bias, this sort of acts of McCarthyism will always stage a comeback in different forms. The US should listen to the call of justice from all sectors at home, eradicate the poisonous legacy of the “China Initiative”, stop fabricating lies to smear and suppress China, and do more things conducive to China-US exchange and cooperation.
Shenzhen TV: We noted that during her recent visit to Africa, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that “when countries choose Huawei, they are potentially giving up their sovereignty. They are turning over their data to another country. They may find themselves bringing in a surveillance capability they didn’t even know was there.” What is your comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The US official’s groundless and denigrating remarks about China only serve to expose the US’ malicious attempt to contain China and sow discord in China-Africa cooperation. Chinese companies including Huawei have conducted sound, mutually beneficial cooperation with many countries in Africa and beyond, contributed to the improvement and development of the countries’ communications infrastructure, provided advanced, quality, secure and affordable services for the local people and is well received. And there is not a single case of cyber security accident, surveillance or wiretapping in the course of cooperation.
The Chinese government unequivocally opposes mass surveillance of other countries by abusing information technologies. In the Global Initiative on Data Security put forward by China, we explicitly urge IT companies not to install backdoors in their products and service. Countries should not directly access data located in other countries via companies or individuals. If the US truly cares about data security, it could openly endorse China’s initiative or make similar commitments when advertising US companies and products.
I also want to stress that it is up to African countries and people to decide with whom they choose to cooperate. The US is in no position to lord it over them. A few questions to some US officials: Did the US respect the sovereignty of African countries and right to privacy, and consider the security of other countries as it conducted long-standing cyber theft, surveillance and monitoring against foreign governments, companies and individuals, including those in Africa, in a planned and organized manner? Did the US respect the sovereignty of African countries when it flagrantly interfered in the internal affairs of African countries like Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and imposed unilateral, illegal sanctions on them? Did the US respect the sovereignty of African countries when it attached many political strings to African exports to the US? The international community including African countries have long seen it clearly that the US has never regarded Africa as an equal cooperative partner, or truly cared about African people’s well-being.
We urge some US officials to adopt a right attitude first, do their own part to earnestly respect the sovereignty of African countries, and do something concrete for African countries to combat the pandemic and develop their economies, instead of wasting time spreading rumors and lies or playing the trick of a thief crying “stop the thief”.
Reuters: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has alleged its top executive faced threats of physical violence and coercion during questioning by India’s financial crime fighting agency. This is according to a court filing recently seen by Reuters. Does the foreign ministry have any comments?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side is closely monitoring the matter. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies overseas to operate in accordance with laws and regulations. In the meantime, we firmly support Chinese companies in protecting their lawful rights and interests. We hope the Indian side can provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies making investment and operating in the country, and conduct investigation and law enforcement in accordance with laws and regulations so as to beef up the international community’s confidence in investment.
Xinhua News Agency: We noticed that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy on its website over the weekend. Could you offer more on that?
Zhao Lijian: On May 7, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy on its website. The fact sheet, with about 12,000 words in six sections, lays bare the true face of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) through hundreds of specific examples gathered from public reports.
The US has long used democracy as a tool and a weapon to undermine democracy in the name of democracy, to incite division and confrontation, and to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, causing catastrophic consequences. NED, as one of the US government’s main “foot soldiers” and “white gloves”, has subverted lawful governments and cultivated pro-US puppet forces under the pretext of promoting democracy. NED was seen behind color revolutions instigated and orchestrated by the US, including the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Arab Spring. NED has been stirring up protests and demonstrations in Thailand, inciting the opposition parties in Nicaragua to seize power by force, funding anti-Cuba forces to manipulate public sentiment against the government, and long interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs through various means. Hellbent on disrupting the world, NED has not brought social stability and development or contented lives and good work to other countries. On the contrary, it has caused a host of issues including withered livelihood, languishing economy and social confrontation. NED also extends its evil hand to China and invests heavily in anti-China programs every year to incite “Xinjiang independence”, “Hong Kong independence”, and “Tibet independence” activities by various means. It also colludes with “Taiwan independence” forces and attempts to incite division and disrupt stability across the Taiwan Strait, which has been met with indignation and opposition from the Chinese people on both sides of the Strait.
NED is actually the “second CIA” of the US. It is by no means an NGO that provides support for democracy abroad. Instead, it takes orders directly from the US government and manipulates NGOs through the provision of funding to conduct subversion, infiltration and sabotage to serve US strategic interests. We believe the international community will see its true face more and more clearly, and more countries will expose its heinous deeds in various forms. In today’s world, peace and development remains the theme of our times. NED's meddling in other countries’ domestic affairs is doomed to fail no matter what disguise it uses.
Global Times: At the Arria-formula meeting of the UN on the Ukraine situation on May 6, freelance journalists from many countries including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Iraq criticized Western media over their false propaganda when reporting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I have noted the meeting you mentioned. China’s representative attended the meeting, too. Many freelance journalists said at the meeting that the real reason behind the escalating Ukraine situation is the US’ moves to use Ukraine as a chess piece to the advantage of its geopolitical agenda and send arms to the front line. It is almost impossible that Western media’s propaganda, being quite at odds with reality, help people form objective and balanced opinion on the conflict. Several journalists at the meeting were fired from media outlets they were previously associated with and even banned from entering their own countries for insisting on telling the truth about Ukraine that they observed. Hijacked by the radical sentiment of the US and some of its allies, can people enjoy the right to truth and press freedom?
Media are supposed to reveal the truth. With every report running misrepresented facts, one more reader may be misled and the hope for peaceful settlement of the conflict may fade a bit.
If peace is to come eventually, why not let it come sooner, quicker, at a lower cost and with fewer casualties? China always stands for peace. We support Russia and Ukraine in overcoming difficulties and keeping the talks going, and welcomes all efforts by the international community that are conducive to promoting dialogue for peace.
Phoenix TV: Suzuki Norikazu, acting head of the LDP delegation of Japan’s House of Representatives, told the press on May 6 in Taipei that stability across the Taiwan Strait is crucial to the Asia-Pacific. Japan has a sense of crisis over the sorties of mainland’s military aircraft’s frequent entry into Taiwan’s so-called “Air Defense Identification Zone”, and hopes to strengthen practical cooperation with Taiwan. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes official interaction in any form between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic ties with China. The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair, which has nothing to do with Japan. It is totally unnecessary for certain individuals of Japan to grandstand on the matter.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while talking to Senior Vice President of Huawei, said his government wants to work together with Huawei to increase Pakistan’s IT exports. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with extensive and deep cooperation in various sectors. China is ready to strengthen the alignment of development strategies with Pakistan, promote the high-level development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and pursue health, industrial, trade, digital and green development under CPEC. We will continue to support Chinese companies in stepping up cooperation with Pakistan, help Pakistan advance its industrialization process and improve its capability of sustainable development. We hope the Pakistani side can create a safe and enabling environment for Chinese companies’ investment and development in Pakistan.
NHK: Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russia is holding the Victory Day parade today. It is reported that President Putin will deliver a speech in which he will highlight the achievements of Russian military operation in Ukraine. Do you have any comment? Who will represent China there?
Zhao Lijian: The great victory of the World Anti-Fascist War was secured thanks to the concerted efforts of countries and people loving peace and justice all over the world. The victory also laid an important foundation for the establishment of the post-World War II international order. The international community should work together to uphold the outcomes of the victory of World War II and international fairness and justice, firmly uphold the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law, actively practice true multilateralism, and resolutely uphold world peace and tranquility.
An important lesson from the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War is that countries should respect each other, live in peace, seek common ground while putting aside differences, follow the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, take all countries’ legitimate security concerns seriously, and pursue dialogue instead of confrontation, solidarity instead of division and cooperation instead of conflict. That is the right way to uphold world peace and promote common development.
As to your specific question, I will go and check later.
Reuters: Taiwan official Joseph Wu said on Monday that it would be very difficult for Taiwan to be invited the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting this month, although he said efforts to obtain an invitation are still ongoing. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The participation of China’s Taiwan region in activities of international organizations, including the WHO, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. This is a fundamental principle confirmed in UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1. Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, it has placed its political agenda over the well-being of the people in the Taiwan region, obstinately adhered to the separatist position of “Taiwan independence”, and refused to admit the 1992 Consensus embodying the one-China principle. As a result, the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in the WHA has ceased to exist.
In order to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and uphold the solemnity and authority of relevant UNGA and WHA resolutions, China cannot agree with the Taiwan region’s participation in this year’s WHA. We advise the DPP authorities to stop exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to engage in political manipulation. Otherwise, it will only invite humiliation to itself.