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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 10, 2019

2019-12-10

Premier Li Keqiang will chair the 8th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting in Chengdu, Sichuan on December 24. ROK President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the meeting.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-Japan-ROK cooperation, which witnesses fruitful outcomes. This meeting is aimed to improve bilateral cooperation for the decade to come and promote regional and world peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Q: Will China hold bilateral meetings with ROK and Japanese leaders during the 8th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting?

A: As the host for this China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting, China will make proper arrangements. We are in close communication with both the ROK and Japan.

Q: It's the Human Rights Day today. A certain country raises concerns over and criticizes human rights in China. How do you respond?

A: The relevant country has made irresponsible accusations about China's human rights situation in disregard of basic facts. China is firmly opposed to that.

The Chinese people have the best say in the human rights situation in China. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The past 70 years witnessed a sea change in China and historic progress in its human rights cause. Seventy years ago, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people realized liberation and became their own masters. Over the past 70 years, the Chinese nation has found its feet and become prosperous and strong. The Chinese government and people attach great importance to human rights cause, espouse a people-centered view of human rights, integrate the principle of universality of human rights with national conditions, and regard the rights to subsistence and development as its primary and basic human rights, opening a new path of human rights protection with Chinese characteristics based on its national conditions. We ensure enough food and clothing for nearly 1.4 billion people, cut impoverished population by 850 million, provide employment for 770 million people, and offer basic security to 250 million elderly, 85 million persons with disabilities and more than 60 million persons that receive urban or rural minimum living subsidies. We have made a historic leap from poverty to adequate food and clothing, and to a moderately prosperous society for around 1.4 billion people. Besides, we have developed the largest national education system, largest social security system, largest medical system and largest community-level democracy system in the world, which composes an epic of China's human rights progress, offers solutions for international human rights protection and enriches the diversity of human civilization. This is an undeniable truth for all impartial persons.

The Human Rights Day is an occasion for all parties to reaffirm their commitment to human rights and strengthen human rights exchanges. To this end, the Information Office of the State Council and the Foreign Ministry will jointly host the "2019 South-South Human Rights Forum" in Beijing from December 10 to 11, providing a platform for communication, exchange and cooperation for people from different countries and cultural backgrounds, with a view to adding new dimensions and injecting impetus into exchange and cooperation in the field of human rights. It is an opportunity for all parties to further promote and protect human rights, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN charter, respect the paths of human rights development chosen by all countries on their own, take an objective, just and non-selective stance, and avoid politicizing human rights issues and applying double standards. China stands ready to step up exchange and cooperation with all parties in the field of human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect, advance development through cooperation while promoting human rights through development, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Q: It has been one year today since two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained in China for national security reasons. They have reportedly no access to families or lawyers. China is country ruled by law. Can you explain why they cannot have access to lawyers?

A: We have repeatedly provided information on the two Canadian citizens upon request. Michael Kovrig's case involves covertly gathering state secrets and intelligence for foreign forces, and Michael Spavor's involves stealing and illegally providing state secrets to foreign forces. The investigative process on the two cases has been completed and they have been transferred to procuratorial authorities for investigation and prosecution. China's judicial authorities handle cases in strict accordance with law and protect the two Canadian citizens' lawful rights.

I understand the authorities have arranged multiple consular visits by the Canadian embassy in China. The two are in sound condition. China's judicial organs carry out their duties in strict accordance with law and protect the two Canadians' lawful rights.

Q: Will China and the ROK hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the 8th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting? Will President Xi Jinping or Premier Li Keqiang meet and hold talks with President Moon Jae-in? What does China expect from the talks?

A: Like I just said, as the host for this China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting, China will make proper arrangements. We are in close communication with the ROK.

China and the ROK are important close neighbors and cooperative partners enjoying a sound momentum of China-ROK relations. We hope to take President Moon's attendance at the meeting as an opportunity to hold in-depth communication with the ROK on issues of mutual interest. We believe President Moon will be satisfied with China's thoughtful and proper arrangements.

Q: The commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Philip Davidson attacked China and described threats from it in South China Sea, intellectual property, 5G network, etc. He added that the Chinese government resulted in the suffering of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang. Just today, US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad in a statement mentioned ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and called on China to improve their human rights situation. What's your comment?

A: The remarks made by relevant people on the US side once again remind us of the fact that the US is not only a superpower in today's world, but also a super liar.

Certain people in the US show unusual concern over Uighurs in China's Xinjiang, but they seem to forget that the United States is the only country that issued a Muslim ban. In recent years, the United States started warfare in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan under the pretext of counter-terrorism, killing and injuring millions of innocent people. These countries are literally all Muslim countries.

According to US survey results, three-quarters of Muslim American adults say there is "a lot" of discrimination against Muslims in the United States, a view shared by 69 percent of adults in the general public. In addition, half of U.S. Muslim adults say that in recent years it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States. Muslims have all along been the most discriminated group in the US. The Council on American-Islamic Relations(CAIR) civil rights report in April 2018 finds that federal government agencies have instigated more than a third of all anti-Muslim incidents in 2017. In the 2018 US midterm elections, more than a third candidates claimed that Muslims are inherently violent or pose an imminent threat, and around a third of the candidates have called for Muslims to be denied basic rights or declared that Islam is not a religion. Considering all this, the international community has every reason to raise concerns and worries about US Muslim policy, including the human rights situation of Muslims in the US.

The Uighur ethnicity is part of the big family consisting of 56 ethnic groups in China, tightly united together like the seeds of a pomegranate. They are living a better life and fully enjoy the freedom and rights. China also enjoys friendly and close relations with the vast majority of Muslim countries in the world. It is understandable for the US to be envious. However, it is unacceptable if it is spreading rumors to smear and slander us.

Q: On November 27, the Turkish government and Libya's Government of National Accord signed a memorandum of understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas, which has drawn strong reaction from Greece. On December 6, the Greek government has ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador. What is China's reaction to this?

A: The Chinese side has noticed the recent developments of events concerning the situation in the Mediterranean and the memorandum signed between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas. We also noted the Greek side's concern over this. We hope that the relevant parties could remain calm and restrained, work to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation and help maintain regional stability.

Q: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled on December 9 to ban Russia from major international sporting events for four years. Russia's president, prime minister and foreign minister all said that the agency has imposed many sanctions on Russia. This ban is yet another attempt by Western powers to isolate Russia. Do you have a comment?

A: We note WADA's ban on Russia and response from the Russian side. Russia is an important member of the international Olympic community. It is home to many passionate and excellent athletes who have greatly contributed to the Olympic cause.

The Chinese government attaches high importance to anti-doping and holds a zero-tolerance attitude. We hope sporting events will not be politicized and clean athletes' lawful rights will be protected to uphold the fairness, justice and purity of international sports games.

Q: Some US scholars recently talked about China's development on various occasions and criticized Trump administration's China policy. Former US Deputy Secretary of State and former president of the World Bank Group Robert B. Zoellick said a slide into China-US conflict would lead to incalculable costs and dangers. Director Jeffrey Sachs of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University wrote in an article that China's pursuit of development is legitimate and a trade war against China is no good for the US. Emeritus Professor of New York University Ian Bremmer said in his speech "The End of the American Order" that China's development has supported global growth and we should look forward to China's success. What's your comment?

A: I noted media reports on that. Indeed, as many prominent American strategic advisers and scholars openly pointed out, the US needs to view China's development and domestic and foreign policy in a fair manner. They have called for greater exchange and cooperation between China and the US instead of conflict and confrontation. Their voices are objective and rational.

As we can see, some in the US have been smearing China under the pretext of "decoupling", "building walls", "clash of civilizations", "new Cold War" and others. They even attempt to spread hostility and incite confrontation by accusing China's political party and social system. It has triggered not only indignation of the Chinese people, but also alert and aversion of people from various sectors in the US.

As we repeatedly pointed out, the China-US relationship is not a zero-sum game. As our two countries have highly intertwined interests and a wide range of areas for cooperation, collaboration and dialogue is better than friction and confrontation. We hope people from all sectors in China and the US can enhance communication, exchange, mutual understanding and trust and reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation. We also hope the US politicians can heed the rational call of people with vision in the US, denounce the Cold-War mentality, and work with China for the sound and stable development of bilateral relations. This will meet the aspiration of our two peoples as well as the common aspiration of the world.

Q: A question on the volcano eruption on White Island in New Zealand. Reports say there are Chinese nationals injured. Could you confirm and share more information?

A: The volcano eruption on White Island has caused 5 deaths, with 8 people missing and more than 30 injured. The Chinese embassy in New Zealand has confirmed two Chinese nationals injured.

Upon learning the volcanic eruption, the embassy immediately activated its emergency response mechanism, worked to verify information involving Chinese nationals and visited those hospitalized for injuries. The embassy has put up information on its website, warning Chinese citizens in New Zealand to take precautions against natural disasters.

The Chinese government is deeply saddened by the disaster and expresses sincere condolences to the victims. We hope New Zealand will do its best to treat the injured, search for those unaccounted for, and confirm with the Chinese side information on Chinese casualties as soon as possible.

I would like to remind Chinese citizens traveling overseas to closely monitor safety conditions at their destinations and plan or adjust their itinerary in advance.

Q: As you said yesterday, the figures of those who are in the vocational training and education centers are dynamic with people coming and leaving, so no precise number can be provided. But could you tell us how many such centers are there in Xinjiang?

A: My question for you first. For the two documentaries about terrorist attacks in Xinjiang I mentioned yesterday, and the press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council, have you covered them? How is your reporting? I hope your reports will earn your agency more trust and affinity from the Chinese people. Whether your reports on Xinjiang can be truly objective and unbiased is a litmus test for your credibility as a media agency, don't you agree?

As for the number you asked, I know many Western media are focusing on that, too. Yesterday the Xinjiang authorities talked about ethnic solidarity, social stability and economic growth, but you seem to be paying attention to nothing else but the number. This question was actually replied at the IOSC press conference and you should have got the answer if you or your colleagues were there yesterday.

As I know, the number of people in the vocational education and training centers is not fixed because people get in and out all the time. In the next phase, to help local community officials and residents get better skills and knowledge as they aspire for, the Xinjiang authorities will provide regular and open educational training programs to village officials, Party members in rural areas, farmers, herdsmen and unemployed high school graduates based on principles of respect for their will, independent decision, categorized training programs and freedom to join or leave. The courses include standard spoken and written language, knowledge about the law, vocational skills, etc. The duration of the training period will depend on the specific courses. It could be long, and it could be short.

Q: On December 4, Kazakh President Tokayev had an interview with German press before heading for Germany. On issues relating to Xinjiang, he said that those living in Xinjiang are Chinese citizens. Some international human rights organizations have offered false information and they are exploiting and sensationalizing the situation of the ethnic Kazakh minority on purpose. He said that Kazakhstan knows very well that this is all part of the geopolitics and the result of the frictions between China and the US in their trade war. But that should not drag Kazakhstan into the global anti-China front. What has been set up in Xinjiang are education and training institutions, and those claims that China has looped all the ethnic Kazakhs in the "concentration camps" could not be further from the truth. The ethnic Kazakhs in China are first and foremost Chinese citizens and what happens in Xinjiang is China's internal affairs. According to international law and agreements between the two sides, Kazakhstan has no right to interfere in China's internal affairs, just like China has never interfered in the internal affairs of Kazakhstan. What is your comment on these remarks of the Kazakh President?

A: China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors that have forged a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership. President Tokayev's visit to China this September was very fruitful, during which the two presidents reaffirmed stronger support to each other and pledged to deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative for common development and prosperity. President Tokayev's remarks on the relevant issue showcased the traditional friendship and high-level mutual trust between the two countries. His words also made a strong rebuff to the falsehoods told by some countries. People can tell right from wrong. The Xinjiang-related policies the Chinese government has rolled out have won positive comments across the international community. Some countries have been making an issue of Xinjiang. They have gone so astray from facts and the mainstream opinion of the international community that their attempts will never succeed.

Q: A quick follow-up on the earlier question regarding Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. You said in your response they had been given consular access, but had they been allowed to see lawyers and family members?

A: Like I said, China's judicial authorities handle cases in strict accordance with law and protect Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor's lawful rights. As to specific questions regarding judicial procedures, the judicial authorities handle cases according to legal proceedings.

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