|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 21, 2022|
CCTV: Yesterday the Center for International Knowledge on Development launched the first-ever Global Development Report. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the launch. Could you give us more details on that?
Wang Wenbin: On June 20, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the launch of the Global Development Report upon invitation.
State Councilor Wang stressed in his address that development is getting more and more marginalized on the international agenda, and the outlook of attaining the SDGs as scheduled is not that optimistic. The Global Development Initiative (GDI) proposed by President Xi Jinping has helped to bring development back to the center of the international agenda. It offers an effective platform for all parties to coordinate development policies and deepen practical cooperation as well as an impetus to pool resources, address difficulties holding back development and promote greater coordination and efficiency.
This report is the first Global Development Report released by the Center for International Knowledge on Development. Based on useful experience of China and other countries, the report lays out a range of policy advice in eight areas on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Parties attending the event spoke highly of the GDI and China’s launch of the Global Development Report. They believe that the GDI pools international consensus, reflects developing countries' shared aspiration and serves as an important platform for the international community to achieve sustainable development.
China attaches high importance to the issue of development and is set to hold the High-level Dialogue on Global Development later this week. As a developing country, China stands ready to work with all parties to further deepen practical cooperation across the board, strengthen the sharing of knowledge and expertise and expand exchanges on experience and mutual learning. We are also willing to join hands with all parties to advance the GDI, renew the global development partnership and make positive contributions to expediting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
CCTV: The Human Rights Council is in session. Can you share what China has accomplished in human rights development and China’s position on promoting global human rights governance?
Wang Wenbin: Since its founding, the Communist Party of China has united and led the Chinese people in securing, respecting, promoting and developing human rights. And together with the people, the Party has found a path of human rights development that is in line with the trend of the times and suitable for China’s realities.
Compared with when the People’s Republic was founded in 1949, the Chinese people now enjoy broader, fuller and more wide-ranging democratic rights. Our human rights are protected like never before. China’s per capita national income increased from less than 100 dollars to about 12,000 dollars. Average life expectancy expanded from 35 years to 77.3 years. Infant mortality rate dropped from 200 deaths per 1,000 live births to 5.4. Respecting and protecting human rights is high on the government’s agenda. China has advanced whole-process people’s democracy and human rights protection by strengthening the rule of law. We have stepped up efforts to build China into a country of safety and the rule of law. We have promoted social equity and justice, protected the lawful rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, and achieved significant progress in human rights.
From a global perspective, China has made important contribution to global human rights cause with its rapid human rights development. China’s Human Development Index (HDI) grew from 0.499 in 1990 to 0.761 in 2019. It is the only country to have moved from the low human development category to the high human development category since the world first began analyzing global HDI trends in 1990. Since reform and opening-up began, China has accounted for over 70 percent of people lifted out of poverty worldwide, which notably lowered the global poverty rate. Since the start of COVID-19, average life expectancy has dropped to varying degrees in the US and EU countries, but steadily risen in China. China is the only major country that has formulated and implemented four consecutive national human rights action plans. China has ratified or joined 29 international human rights instruments, including six core UN human rights treaties. China has served as a member state of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) five times, one of the most frequently elected members. We have established human rights dialogues or consultation mechanisms with more than 20 countries and regional organizations. China put forward a series of proposals on promoting human rights through development, promoting human rights through cooperation, addressing the negative impact of the legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human rights, rejecting racism and racial discrimination, promoting the fair distribution of vaccines and rejecting unilateral coercive measures. The resolution on “the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights” submitted by China was adopted in the UNHRC several times, injecting new impetus into global human rights governance.
A country’s human rights condition is essentially gauged by whether its people’s interests are protected and whether they enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. This is the most important criterion. A Harvard University survey among the Chinese people spanning over a decade found that more than 90 percent of respondents are satisfied with the Party and their government. In 2021, as many as 91 percent of Chinese interviewed by Edelman, a top global public relations consultancy firm, said they trust their government, the highest recorded over a decade and all over the world for years running. According to the 2021 Global Law and Order report released by the international polling agency Gallup, China ranked second with an index score of 93, moving up for the third consecutive year. This indicates that China is among the countries where people have the strongest sense of security.
As President Xi pointed out, in terms of human rights protection, no one can claim perfection and there is always room for improvement. When it comes to human rights issues, there is no such thing as an ideally perfect country, still less a one-size-fits-all human rights development path. Respecting and protecting human rights must be grounded in a country’s national reality. The promotion and protection of human rights is a common cause for humanity. Global human rights governance needs to be discussed by all countries and the outcomes of human rights development should be shared by all people. On the basis of equality and mutual respect, China is ready to conduct human rights dialogue and exchanges with all other parties. However, we do not need patronizing lecturers or double standards, still less interference by using human rights as a political tool. China will continue to take solid steps with an open mind, and work with the international community to pursue the common values of humanity, stay committed to the vision of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual learning, win-win cooperation and common development, and steer global human rights governance toward greater fairness, justice, equity and inclusiveness.
Bloomberg: Tomorrow, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act takes effect in the US. Under the law, the US government assumes that anything made even partially in Xinjiang is produced with forced labor and can’t be imported unless companies can prove otherwise. Do you have any comment on it?
Wang Wenbin: The allegation of “forced labor” in Xinjiang is a huge lie made up by anti-China forces to denigrate China. It is the complete opposite of the reality of Xinjiang, where cotton and other industries rely on large-scale mechanized production and the rights of workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are duly protected.
The US’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is built on a lie and designed to impose sanctions on relevant entities and individuals in Xinjiang. This move is the furtherance of that lie and an escalation of US suppression on China under the pretext of human rights. Moreover, the act is solid evidence of US’s arbitrariness in undermining international economic and trade rules and global industrial and supply chains.
The act is a clear indication that the US is seeking to engender forced unemployment in Xinjiang through legal form of actions, and to make the world decouple with China. It fully exposes the US’s hegemonic nature -- a country that violates human rights and breaks rules in the name of preserving them. China strongly condemns and firmly opposes these acts and will act forcefully to uphold the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and nationals.
The US move is against the trend of the times and bound to fail.
Global Times: It is reported that the Five Eyes alliance is collecting and forging evidence to fabricate rumors that China is conducting “political infiltration” into Western countries, with the aim of tarnishing China’s image in the world. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted the reports. Countries concerned must give an explanation for this.
“Political infiltration” is a signature act of countries like the US and the UK. In the name of freedom and democracy, the US instigated color revolutions and created turbulence in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, Latin America, etc. to serve its own geopolitical agenda. As American writer William Blum noted in his book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, since the end of World War II, the US has made attempts to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments and grossly interfered in elections in at least 30 countries. Politicians in the US, the UK and other countries frequently colluded with anti-China rioters in Hong Kong. The US co-opted with other Five Eyes countries to lecture China on Hong Kong affairs by issuing joint statements. The National Endowment for Democracy acted as the “henchman” and “white glove” of the US government and meddled repeatedly in Hong Kong’s political agenda to make Hong Kong a “bridgehead” for subversion and infiltration against the mainland. These plain facts are for all to see.
On top of all their infiltration and interference activities in China, countries like the US and the UK have sought to deflect the blame on China. This reveals their deeply held Cold War mentality and ideological bias. In the name of preventing “infiltration”, certain countries have politically persecuted individuals having normal exchanges and cooperation with China, creating a chilling effect and reviving McCarthyism. Such moves not only gravely undermined bilateral relations with China but also fed racial discrimination and hate speech and act domestically. The “China Initiative” launched by the US and the “China Research Group” set up by anti-China lawmakers in the UK are typical cases in point. As disclosed by media reports, the Tsai Ing-wen authorities paid big bucks for phone calls with US leaders and interactions with senior US officials. I wonder what the Five Eyes make of this?
We urge relevant countries to stop political infiltration, stop spreading disinformation on China and stop relentlessly containing and suppressing China.
Shenzhen TV: According to reports, the US witnessed another bloody weekend as many people were shot dead or injured in separate incidents. According to the website of the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, on Saturday and Sunday alone, around 90 people were killed in about 220 separate shooting incidents in the US. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed relevant reports. We lament the serious casualties in the recurrent shooting incidents. We are concerned and upset about the US government’s inaction and absence of substantive measures over the years on gun violence.
As a country with the most serious gun violence in the world, the US has seen the number of gun violence victims at home hitting new record highs. On average, 122 people in the US are shot dead everyday. American children and teens are 15 times more likely to die from gunfire than their peers in 31 other high-income countries combined. Over the past 25 years, the US government has been unable to roll out even a single gun control act. As noted in US media reports, there are always people calling for actions but then the proposals are shelved. In the face of the recurrent human rights tragedies at home, US politicians have offered nothing but the same hypocritical and empty words of placation and symbolic appearances at grieving events. They just repeat the routine when the next violent shooting incident takes place.
People can’t help but ask: do American people truly enjoy human rights as they witness families, even their own children, being gunned down but can do nothing about it? Do US politicians care more about human rights or about the US’s hegemony, when they are busy pointing fingers at other countries but indifferent to the death of fellow Americans?
We urge the US to respond to its people’s concerns, earnestly protect their lives and safety, and ensure that Americans can sit safely in classrooms and walk freely on the street without fear. This is what the government should do if it truly cares about and is committed to human rights.
NHK: Japan lodged a protest over China's building of facilities for gas field explorations in the East China Sea. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China’s oil and gas exploration activities in the East China Sea are all conducted in undisputed waters under China’s jurisdiction. The matter falls completely under China’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction. Japan should not make unwarranted remarks.