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  Home > Sprecher des Außenministeriums
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 15, 2021
2021-12-15 20:45

Radio Television Hong Kong: First question, the UK released the latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong that said Beijing and Hong Kong have used the national security law that was published over one year ago against all opposition in Hong Kong and asked China to fulfill legal obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Do you have any response? Secondly, the report also said that by the end of September, over 80,000 people had applied for visas under relevant scheme. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the UK is obsessed with issuing the so-called semi-annual reports to attack and smear China and interfere in Hong Kong affairs out of ideological bias. China deplores and firmly rejects this. 

I want to stress that since the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR took effect over one year ago, Hong Kong has embraced the turnaround from chaos to stability and prosperity. Hong Kong residents and foreign citizens there can better exercise their legitimate rights and enjoy their freedoms in a safe environment. The legal basis for the Chinese government’s administration of Hong Kong is China’s Constitution and the Basic Law, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration. After the return of Hong Kong, all the provisions concerning the British side in the Joint Declaration have been fulfilled. The UK has no sovereignty, no jurisdiction and no right of supervision over Hong Kong. There is no point in repeatedly talking about the Joint Declaration. The UK tries to wantonly interfere in Hong Kong affairs by misrepresenting the Joint Declaration. This is a grave violation of principles of the international law and basic norm governing international relations such as mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

On human rights, the UK is by no means doing a great job, still less is it in the position to lecture others on the issue. In its hundreds of years of colonial history, the UK has committed numerous crimes in many parts of the world. Systemic racial discrimination, violence, provocation and hate crimes against ethnic minorities in the UK are on the rise. In the UK immigration detention centers, conditions are poor and the rights of immigrants are seriously violated. 

If the UK truly cares about human rights, it should conduct investigation into the UK military’s killing of civilians and acts of torture in the military operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and hold the troops accountable. If the UK truly cares about human rights, it should implement the 2019 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Chagos Archipelago as soon as possible and return Chagos to Mauritius at an early date to complete the decolonization of Mauritius. If the UK truly cares about human rights, it should not have sat idly by as the resurgence and spread of COVID-19 claimed the lives of nearly 150,000 UK citizens. The UK should reflect on its own problems and earnestly redress them before wantonly criticizing others. 

On your second question, China has elaborated on its position many times. In disregard of China’s stern position and in flagrant violation of its international commitment, the UK tries to turn many Hong Kong residents into “second-class citizens” in the UK and reap benefit from this. It is hypocritical and unavailing for the UK to play up this issue in an attempt to seek political manipulation. China does not recognize BN(O) passports as valid travel and identity documents. We ask the UK to redress its mistake immediately. Otherwise, the stone it has lifted will only end up hurting its own toes. 

Bloomberg: The US government is considering imposing tougher sanctions on SMIC, the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side is seriously concerned about the situation mentioned in the report. Economic globalization is an objective reality and historical trend. China always believes that scientific and technological achievements should benefit all mankind, rather than be used as a means to restrict the development of other countries. By overstretching the concept of national security, certain US politicians politicize and instrumentalize science and technology and economic and trade issues based on ideology. This runs counter to the principle of market economy and fair competition. It will only threaten and hurt the security of global industrial and supply chains and undermine international trade rules. Such attempts are typical political manipulation that harm everyone.

The US should work with the international community to uphold an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological development and international businesses. We advise some people in the US to abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, stop abusing state power to groundlessly suppress specific Chinese sectors and enterprises, and stop violating market economy principles and international trade rules. China will, as always, firmly defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

CGTN: Advocacy groups say the prosecutions under the “China Initiative”, a scheme launched by the US Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies, reflect racial bias that contributed to a 71% rise in incidents of violence against Asian Americans from 2019 to 2020. The US government has “turned the China Initiative into an instrument for racial profiling,” says Judy Chu, a Democratic representative from California. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The “China Initiative” you mentioned sets caseload target before conducting investigation and collecting evidence. According to media reports, most of the China-Related Cases Examples under this initiative over the past two years do not involve intellectual property or trade secrets theft. Nearly 2,000 university scholars across the US signed an open letter to the US Department of Justice in protest of this initiative. This proves that more and more people have realized that the so-called “China Initiative” is essentially a tool for anti-China forces in the US to abuse the concept of national security to contain and suppress China. It is a new version of McCarthyism, which has long been discarded by the American people with hard lessons learned from the painful memory of “white horror”. Past mistakes shall never be repeated again.

As we all know, the Chinese people have made important contributions to the economic and social development of the US. However, it is a pity that the discrimination against people of Chinese descent has not been effectively rectified in sync with the economic and social development. This is attributable to the fact that the anti-China forces in the US keep spreading disinformation to denigrate and attack China.

The hard work of ethnic minorities in the US, including those of Chinese descent, is not paid back with respect and protection but with persistent discrimination and injustice. This runs counter to the values of “human rights” and “equality” that the US has always championed. It is a humiliation to the American democracy. The US side should take actions to address its serious racial discrimination and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities including people of Chinese descent.

China Review News: According to reports, French lawmakers including François de Rugy, the head of the Taiwan Friendship group in the National Assembly, the lower house of France’s parliament, arrived in Taiwan for a “visit” on December 15. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. We firmly oppose any form of official or political interaction between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China. The relevant side should earnestly abide by the one-China principle, stop sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” forces, and safeguard the sound and steady development of bilateral relations with concrete actions.

Bloomberg: The US is now reported to be adding eight more Chinese companies to an “investment blacklist”, the purposes of which is to say that they have been allegedly involved in the surveillance of China’s ethnic minorities. This is according to a report from the Financial Times. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We noted relevant reports. I would like to stress that China always opposes US moves to overstretch the concept of national security and exert unwarranted suppression on Chinese companies. The Chinese side has already shared the facts and truth on Xinjiang-related issues on many occasions. We will closely follow the relevant situation and firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. 

Global Times: On December 14, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech delivered during his visit to Indonesia that, “there is so much concern, from northeast Asia to southeast Asia, and from the Mekong River to the Pacific Islands, about Beijing’s aggressive actions”, adding that the US is “determined to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea”. He also mentioned the arbitration ruling of an international tribunal on the South China Sea. Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Let me start by stating a few simple facts. It is not China that has long been stirring up trouble in the South China Sea and posing a grave threat and major risks to regional peace and stability under the pretext of “freedom of navigation”. It is not China that deliberately provokes disputes in the South China Sea and sows discord between regional countries. It is not China that randomly dispatches advanced vessels and aircraft to conduct military reconnaissance or drills in the South China Sea or to illegally trespass into other countries’ territorial sea and airspace or adjacent waters and airspace of their islands and reefs. I’m sure we all know which country is in the habit of doing all these. I hope US officials will not misrepresent facts.

The US likes to invoke the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the so-called South China Sea arbitration and keeps talking about the “rules-based order”, then it should start with joining the convention first. The South China Sea arbitration gravely violated the principle of state consent. Its so-called ruling contravenes international law including UNCLOS and is illegal, null and void. The US styles itself as a defender of international law, then it should start with executing the judgement and advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and the resolution of the UN General Assembly. It is selective in applying international law and international order. This practice of egoism and double standards has long lost credibility and is becoming increasingly counterproductive. 

The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea claimed by the US is nothing but the “freedom of trespassing” enjoyed by US advanced military aircraft and vessels in saber-rattling and making provocations. The US has made itself an example of hegemony and bullying by throwing its weight internationally, wantonly imposing unilateral sanctions, exercising long-arm jurisdictions, overstretching the concept of national security to hobble foreign companies and employing economic coercion.

The US should respect facts, the international law and basic norms governing international relations, stop undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea, and stop the erroneous moves of hurting mutual trust and cooperation between regional countries.

China News Service: According to Kyodo News reports, the research results recently released by Yuichiro Kumamoto, a researcher at Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, showed that the radioactive substance Cesium-134 which entered the ocean due to the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 have arrived in the interior of the Arctic Ocean around eight years later. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: This is not the first report that confirmed that radioactive substance from the Fukushima nuclear accident had been detected in the Arctic Ocean. The research results of researchers at Tsukuba University released in November also found that Cesium-137, a radioactive substance that flowed into the sea in the Fukushima nuclear accident, was detected in the Arctic Ocean.

These findings of Japanese scholars clearly illustrate the fact that the radioactive substances leaked from the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have spread to the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean and may affect waters around the globe. If the more than 1.2 million tonnes of nuclear contaminated water is discharged into the Pacific Ocean as planned by Japan, it will have an impact on the marine environment in the whole region and even the world. Is this the kind of consequence that can be borne by Japan alone?

I want to reiterate that the release of nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident into the ocean is not a private matter of Japan and should not be decided by Japan alone. The Japanese side should listen carefully to the concerns of its neighbors and the international community, take a responsible attitude toward the marine environment and humanity’s health, revoke its wrong decision of ocean release and stop the preparatory work for the discharge. 

Radio Television Hong Kong: The head of Taiwan’s so-called foreign affairs department Joseph Wu said that China’s mainland approached Nicaragua, a country that had “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan, when the US was busy hosting the “Summit for Democracy”. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I noted the ridiculous remarks by the certain “Taiwan independence” individual. He said so to cover up the failure in separatist activities. The DPP authorities’ participation in the “Summit for Democracy” cannot cover up the true intention of seeking independence by using democracy as a pretext. 

Following the one-China principle is an unstoppable and overriding trend with popular support. Attempts by the DPP authorities to deny the one-China principle are self-deceiving and rejecting the one-China principle leads no where. 

Bloomberg: Do you have any more details to offer on the President Xi-President Putin conversation that’s scheduled to take place this afternoon? 

Zhao Lijian: President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin today. Please stay tuned as we will release more specific information on the meeting in due course. 

Hubei Media Group: The opening ceremony of the “Love Knows No Borders” international charity sale will be held on December 18. Could you share with us the arrangements?

Zhao Lijian: The “Love Knows No Borders” international charity sale has been successfully held for 12 consecutive years since 2009. It brings love together for poverty alleviation, promotes exchange between China and the world, and creates extensive and positive social impact. Here, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I want to express gratitude to foreign embassies and international organizations in China, people from all walks of life and everyone in this room for your support, love and devotion.

In 2021, as the Communist Party of China celebrates its 100th anniversary, China completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, won the fight against poverty, and is comprehensively advancing rural revitalization. Standing at the new starting point, this year’s international charity sale is themed “Rural Revitalization, Health Care First”. Money raised at the sale will help to improve health care services in the two counties of Jinping and Malipo of Yunnan province.

The opening ceremony of this year’s charity sale will be held both online and offline in Beijing on December 18. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Madame Qian Wei, foreign diplomats posted in China, and representatives of relevant companies will attend the event. The charity sale will be held both on an e-commerce platform and via live-streaming like the last time. To be specific, the week-long online sale will be held on a Tmall webpage dedicated to assistance through consumption from 11 a.m. of December 18. The live-streaming to be held at 8 p.m. on the same day will invite foreign diplomatic envoys in China, senior diplomats, representatives from the two counties of Yunnan province that the foreign ministry pairs up with, and representatives from the two counties of Hebei province that our ministry has long-term supportive and cooperative relations with. They will interact with the hosts in the CCTV News app and CCTV News live-streaming booth on Taobao.

From the official accounts of “Love Knows No Borders” on Wechat channel, Douyin and Kuaishou, you will find short videos about “Me and the charity sale”, moving stories about the charity sale shared by foreign diplomatic envoys, and their promotion of local culture and products.

We hope you will follow the “Love Knows No Borders” international charity sale, join the activities and share your love.

China Review News: The US House of Representatives passed a revised version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act agreed on by the Senate and House on December 14. It will be sent to the President’s desk after being submitted to the Senate for approval. What is China’s response? 

Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes the interference by the US Congress in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues. By cooking up lies and making troubles on such issues, some US politicians are seeking to contain China and hold back China’s development through political manipulation and economic bullying in the name of “human rights”. Their vile scheme will never succeed, and will only further damage the credibility and image of the US government and Congress in China.

The label of “forced labor”fits the US better than anyone else. There are approximately 500,000 child farmworkers there. Roughly 240,000 to 325,000 women and children are victims of sexual slavery. Up to 100,000 people were trafficked into the US for forced labor annually over the past five years. The US should face up to and address the grave issue of forced labor at home.

I want to iterate that what the US government did to Native Americans constitutes real genocide. Compared to the end of the 15th century, the population of Native Americans dwindled from five million to 250,000, less than one twentieth of the original. Even till this day, Native Americans are still a marginalized group on political, economic, cultural and social fronts, long suffering from systemic discrimination in a wide range of areas. The reservation lands of Native Americans only account for 2.3% of the US territory and provide very poor living conditions. Some reservations are even used by the US government as a “dustbin” for dumping toxic material or nuclear waste. Take the Navajo people in the border area of Arizona and New Mexico as an example, about a quarter of Navajo women and infants have high levels of the radioactive substance in their systems.

We Chinese often say that as a clay figurine cannot stand rain water, lies cannot bear scrutiny. The accusation of “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang is the biggest lie of the century, but is becoming the politically correct thing to do in the US. We deeply regret this. China is determined in safeguarding its national development interests. We will make resolute response if the US insists on advancing the act.

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