|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 9, 2019|
Q: After the US Department of Commerce announced the imposition of export restrictions on 28 Chinese entities over the so-called Xinjiang issue, the US Department of State announced visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for the "detention or abuse" of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. Their family members may also be subject to these restrictions. What's your comment?
A: Yesterday China has lodged solemn representations with the US side for placing 28 Chinese entities on its export control entity list with the so-called human rights issue in Xinjiang as a cover. We have also stated our solemn position. I would like to reiterate that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country has any right to interfere. The so-called human rights issue in Xinjiang claimed by the US is actually non-existent. Any restriction imposed by the US on Chinese entities and individuals over Xinjiang, no matter what pretext is used, constitutes a grave violation of basic norms governing international relations and a flagrant interference in China's internal affairs. China is firmly opposed to that.
I must point out that the counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures adopted in Xinjiang aim to prevent extremism and terrorism at their root. These measures are consistent with Chinese law and international practice. They have been widely supported by the 25 million people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang and contributed to the international fight against terrorism. In total disregard of facts, the US has been fiercely slandering and smearing China over Xinjiang in an attempt to create an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs, disrupt Xinjiang's counter-terrorism efforts, and thwart China's steady development. This will only reveal its malicious intention to the Chinese people and the international community. These ploys cannot undercut in the slightest the Chinese government and people's resolution to defend sovereignty and security, safeguard social stability and pursue development. They are completely futile.
We urge the US to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw relevant decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs. China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
Q: To follow up on the Xinjiang visa ban. Will China retaliate in any way? Will this negatively affect this week's trade talks?
A: As I just said, we urge the US to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw relevant decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs. China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
On your question regarding the high-level economic and trade consultations between China and the US, Liu He, member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council and chief of the Chinese delegation of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will hold the next round of consultations with the US side. We hope the US will work together with China to meet each other halfway and strive for progress in the consultations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: After the US decided to blacklist 28 entities, there is some expectation that China may publish very soon its own list against US entities. Is this list ready now and when will it be published?
A: Are you referring to the "unreliable entity list"?
As I said yesterday, China's Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said not long ago that this mechanism is going through internal procedures and will be made public soon. I would refer you to the Commerce Ministry for more information.
Q: After protests and conflicts broke out on October 3 in many places in Ecuador, President Moreno declared a nationwide state of emergency. On October 7, in a televised address, the president said that the country has been seriously affected by the protests that are getting more violent. A day later, he announced the decision to temporarily relocate the central government from Quito to the country's biggest city Guayaquil. Do you have a comment on this?
A: China follows closely the political developments in Ecuador. China opposes violence in all its forms. We hope the relevant parties in Ecuador will peacefully resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation under the framework of the Constitution and law, and maintain political stability in the country.
Q: Has the US told China which specific officials were impacted by this visa ban?
A: As I just said, China is firmly opposed to this wrong move by the US. We urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw relevant decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs. China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
Q: Recently there have been media reports that China may restrict US visas with anti-China links. I was wondering if there's any comment on this?
A: I am not aware of what you mentioned. I can say that China always holds a positive attitude towards people-to-people exchange with the US. We welcome people from various sectors in the US to China for visits, meetings and other activities, and have facilitated such exchanges through visa issuance and other means.
The US, on the contrary, has for some time been denying visas to, delaying processing visa applications of, revoking long-term visas for, searching and harassing Chinese scholars, students, entrepreneurs and scientists. This has thwarted normal people-to-people exchange between China and the US and infringed upon the safety and lawful rights and interests of the Chinese personnel involved.
The Chinese side has expressed its grave concerns to the US side. Many from US colleges and think tanks have also voiced their opposition. Which side is facilitating people-to-people exchange and which side is setting up barriers? The answer is crystal clear.
We hope the US side will discard the Cold War and zero-sum mentality, look squarely at basic facts, build bridges instead of walls for exchange between various sectors in our two countries, and take effective measures to further promote and facilitate people-to-people exchange with China.
Q: Media reports say the European Parliament yesterday nominated Ilham Tohti for its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Is China worried by this nomination and will China take any measure if Mr. Tohti wins this prize?
A: The individual you talked about, a separatist in support of extreme terrorism, was sentenced to life in prison for separatist activities by China's judicial authority. When he was a college teacher, he called extremists and terrorists who staged violent attacks "heroes" in class, and lured and coerced others to go abroad and engage in East Turkistan separatist activities.
The relevant institution attempts to whitewash such a separatist in support of extremist terrorism under the cover of human rights and freedom. By doing so, it is condoning and encouraging his criminal activities. It is also an insult on and a travesty of human rights. We urge it to tell right from wrong, withdraw the nomination and stop supporting separatist and terrorist forces.
Q: Is China aware of any officials that are affected by the visa ban from the US?
A: We firmly oppose the wrongdoing by the US side.
Q: Do you have any estimates on how much the National Day parade cost? Also, now that the NBA preseason games have been canceled in China, do you have any idea what people will be watching coming up this weekend?
A: Your first question is not about a diplomatic matter. As a foreign journalist who has long been working in China, perhaps you have watched the celebration activities and felt the deep patriotism of the Chinese people.
As for your second question, I have nothing more than what I said in response to the NBA-related questions yesterday.
Q: The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is coming to China today. He said he will meet with Chinese officials to talk about the recent issue regarding Hong Kong. Will any member of the Chinese government meet with Mr. Silver?
A: I'm not aware of that.
Q: Will China send a representative to the enthronement ceremony for the Japanese Emperor Naruhito? If so, who will you send?
A: We have received the invitation and will release information on our attendance in due course.
Q: Chinese state media accused Apple of supporting terrorists in Hong Kong. They say an app available in the App Store is helping protesters to identify police in Hong Kong. Has China spoken with Apple on this issue and did China ask the company to remove the app?
A: I'm not aware of the specifics you talked about. I can tell you that the recent extremist, violent and criminal activities in Hong Kong have challenged Hong Kong's rule of law and social order, threatened the life and property of Hong Kong citizens, and undermined the SAR's prosperity and stability. Anyone with a good conscience and a sense of justice should oppose such criminal activities instead of supporting or condoning them.