CCTV: With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games approaching, the international community has turned its eyes to China and the Olympics. On the one-month countdown to the opening ceremony, President Xi Jinping inspected the preparations during his visit to sports venues, the main media center and a training base, among others, attracting great attention. What message do you think this visit has sent to the international community?
Wang Wenbin: You may have all noted that President Xi said in his New Year address that “We will spare no effort to present a great Games to the world.” On the first working day after the New Year holiday, President Xi made another field trip to inspect the preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This fully demonstrates that the Party and the Chinese government give priority to the preparations and sends three key messages to the international community.
First, China honors its word. President Xi stressed that it is China’s solemn pledge to ensure the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics are “a full success”. For more than six years since Beijing won the bid to host the Olympic Games, China has been focusing on popularizing winter sports southward, westward and eastward. As a result, more and more Chinese have set foot on ice rinks and snow resorts, making winter sports popular and meeting the objective of “involving 300 million people in winter sports”. The principles of hosting a “green, inclusive, open and clean” Olympic Games have been effectively implemented in constructing the venues, organizing the events and providing services for the Games.
Second, China is ready. After years of efforts, preparations are basically all set. In terms of events organization, the “Experience Beijing” test matches have successfully concluded. All 12 sports venues in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou have been built and put into use with GAISF’s certification. The service and support system has been completed, covering the Olympic Village, volunteers, media center, medical assistance and contract hotels.
Third, China is confident that we will hold a safe Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have published two editions of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks. Following the requirements of the Playbooks, the Chinese side is optimizing the area-based double closed-loop management process tailored for different categories of participants and strictly implementing the epidemic control protocols. China will take science-based and targeted epidemic prevention and control measures, make utmost effort to prevent infection and ensure the health and safety of all personnel attending the Beijing 2022.
In his New Year’s Message 2022, IOC President Thomas Bach said that “we are looking forward to successful Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and have great confidence that we will stage safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for everybody.” Polish Ski Association (PZN) president Apoloniusz Tajner said that China made the right decision to apply strict COVID-19 restrictions and thanks to that “I will feel safe during the competition in Beijing.” All these reflect the shared voice of the international community in looking forward to the Beijing 2022 and the international community’s confidence in a safe and secure Olympic Games to be hosted by China.
On February 4, the Olympic flame will be lit for a second time in the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. We will be a good host and make full efforts to deliver a splendid, exceptional and extraordinary Olympic event for the world, make sure all participants feel spring-like warmth and provide more solidarity, confidence and strength to all.
Phoenix TV: According to reports, recent protests and demonstrations in Kazakhstan sparked by a spike in the price of liquefied petroleum gas have turned into large-scale mass unrest and even led to clashes with the police. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors and permanent comprehensive strategic partners. In China’s view, what is happening in Kazakhstan is its domestic affairs. We believe that the Kazakh authorities can properly resolve the issue. We hope the situation could stabilize as soon as possible and normal social order could be restored.
Xinhua News Agency: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just paid a visit to Eritrea. Why is Eritrea the first country on his New Year tour? What major outcomes have been achieved?
Wang Wenbin: It has been a 32-year fine tradition of China’s diplomacy that our foreign ministers make their first overseas trips to Africa at the beginning of a new year. This highlights China-Africa solidarity and cooperation, and shows that China always stands with fellow developing countries. The visit’s first stop in Eritrea reflects the importance China attaches to its relations and traditional friendship with Eritrea. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang met and had talks with President Isaias Afwerki and Foreign Minister Osman Saleh respectively. The two sides also signed and issued a Joint Statement by Foreign Ministers of the State of Eritrea and the People’s Republic of China.
The visit produced outcomes in the following three dimensions. First, the upgrade of bilateral relationship. The two heads of state made the major political decision to elevate the China-Eritrea relationship to a strategic partnership, which meets the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and peoples. Second, the consolidation of traditional friendship. China and Eritrea will render each other firmer support on issues related to core interests and major concerns, and strengthen coordination on international and multilateral affairs. The two sides will uphold multilateralism, reject hegemony and power politics, oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights, and jointly defend the legitimate rights of developing countries. Third, the identification of the direction of practical cooperation. Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to implement the outcomes of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). China is ready to help Eritrea improve the ability of self-development and accelerate industrialization. The Eritrean side rebuked the so-called Chinese “debt trap”, stressed that China never interferes in others’ internal affairs and is a true development partner indispensable to Africa, and expressed hope for China’s bigger role in Africa’s peace and development process.
The two sides also exchanged views on the Horn of Africa’s situation and expressed opposition to non-regional forces’ acts that create turmoil and conflict to undermine regional peace and stability. As African countries’ sincere friend and reliable partner, China is ready to play a constructive part in regional countries’ efforts to realize peace and security in the region, unleash development potential and improve governance.
AFP: The Collective Security Treaty Organization said today that it will send peace-keeping forces to stabilize Kazakhstan. Does China have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I just stated China’s position on the issue. We hope the situation in Kazakhstan will stabilize as soon as possible and normal social order will be restored.
Bloomberg: The US and Lithuania have agreed to cooperate on ways to counter what they call China’s “economic coercion.” In addition, Taiwan pledged to establish a $200 million fund to invest in Lithuania and open up its markets to the nation. Does the foreign ministry have any comment? Just to follow up on Kazakhstan, does China support the CSTO’s effort and is Beijing considering its own contribution to this effort?
Wang Wenbin: You just mentioned “coercion”. The first thing I want to tell you is that the US fabricates lies and makes trouble with Xinjiang-related issues and pressures multinational companies to take sides. This is nothing if not coercive diplomacy. The ins and outs of the Taiwan-related issues on the part of Lithuania are very clear. The US has repeatedly defended Lithuania’s wrong words and deeds to create the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan”, and tried to cobble together a clique that emboldens the “Taiwan independence” forces. These moves further expose the US’ scheme to use Taiwan to contain China, which will only tarnish its international image and be self-defeating.
We urge the US side to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US Joint Communiqués. We also have this stern warning for the Taiwan authorities. “Dollar diplomacy” cannot change the trend that “Taiwan independence” forces are doomed to collapse and soliciting foreign support for“Taiwan independence”will prove a dead end.
On your second question, much has been said about China’s position. We hope the situation can be stabilized soon and public order restored.
AFP: A number of US politicians have criticized Tesla for opening a showroom in Xinjiang recently and they have accused the company of ignoring or supporting human rights abuses in the region. What is China’s view on this issue?
Wang Wenbin: I have noticed that the US side claims that no one should “look the other way when it comes to what is taking place in Xinjiang”. More than 2,000 experts, scholars, journalists and diplomats from more than 100 countries and regions have visited Xinjiang since December 2018 and witnessed social stability, economic prosperity, ethnic harmony and development outcomes there. Why did the US look the other way when this was taking place?
At each meeting of the 46th, 47th and 48th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly last year, nearly 100 countries spoke up in support of China’s position on Xinjiang-related issues, and opposed unwarranted accusations against China out of political motives and based on disinformation. Why did the US look the other way when this was taking place?
For some time, media outlets and scholars from many countries including France, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the US, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Brazil and South Africa wrote that the so-called “forced labor” and “genocide” in Xinjiang are pure lies made up out of prejudice and hostility against China. The aim is not to protect human rights, but to suppress and contain China and undermine ethnic unity, stability and development in Xinjiang. Why did the US look the other way when this was taking place?
While turning a blind eye to such facts and truth, the US imposed so-called sanctions on Xinjiang based on lies long debunked by facts, only to expose its real intention to economically coerce and politically suppress China in the name of human rights. Truth stands forever, and justice ultimately prevails. When making up lies about Xinjiang, the US is helping the world see through its mask of “human rights protector”, and making its image as a “human rights defender” go bankrupt faster.
Shenzhen TV: On January 4, information from the China State Railway Group Co. revealed that the China-Europe Railway Express made 15,000 trips and transported 1.46 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers in 2021, up by 22 percent and 29 percent year-on-year respectively. This is the second straight year that over 10,000 trips are made by the China-Europe freight train amid grave economic situation globally and accelerating spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you have any comment and more information on this?
Wang Wenbin: I also noted the latest data you mentioned and feel inspired and encouraged. In 2021, the China-Europe Railway Express continued to buck the downward trends elsewhere and saw accelerated growth, setting new records. With stable, reliable and efficient logistics service, the railway strongly supports the artery of global supply and industrial chains and the lifeline for delivering epidemic prevention and control supplies. It has demonstrated resilience and sense of responsibility, and sent a message of confidence and strength.
The China-Europe Railway Express opens up a door to win-win results by matching supply with demand and capitalizing on complementarity. The China-Europe Railway Express now has 78 freight routes reaching 180 cities in 23 European countries. It ships more than 50,000 types of goods which are delivered to places across Eurasia via the logistics network. Countries and regions along the routes are more active than ever to take part. While delivering business opportunities to tens of thousands of Chinese and foreign companies and benefits to hundreds of millions of people, the freight train has also boosted the development and prosperity of “port economy” and “hub economy”, enabled countries along the routes to share in the dividend of the massive Chinese market and magnified the impetus of their economic development.
The China-Europe Railway Express opens up a lifeline for rendering mutual assistance in the fight against COVID-19. When the epidemic has dealt a blow to international sea and air transportation, the China-Europe railway has been running for 20 consecutive months in a steady and safe manner, with monthly trips kept above 1,000. This has vigorously safeguarded the steady and smooth operation of international industrial and supply chains. China has prioritized the shipment of anti-epidemic supplies in the China-Europe freight service, with preferential measures on the acceptance of carriage, loading and trailer transport of freight. By the end of November 2021, the China-Europe Railway Express has shipped 13.43 million pieces of anti-epidemic materials that weigh 103,000 tonnes, making positive contributions to the international cooperation in epidemic response. Countries along the routes highly commend China’s sense of responsibility and warm friendship.
The China-Europe Railway Express serves as a bridge of friendship for opening-up and cooperation. As an intercontinental, high-volume, all-weather, green and low-carbon way of transport, the China-Europe Railway Express succeeds as all are committed to pursuing more robust, greener and more balanced global development and building a global community of development with a shared future. Over the past decade, the German city of Duisburg, which is the first final destination of the China-Europe Railway Express, has witnessed the flourishing of Chinese businesses and investment in the country. That’s why Duisburg mayor Sören Link has dubbed it Germany’s China city. Not long ago, German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG opened a new subsidiary in Shanghai, which is committed to further increasing the rail freight volumes between China and Europe. More have joined the win-win cooperation of the China-Europe Railway Express.
As an important bond of the Belt and Road cooperation, the China-Europe Railway Express has bucked the trend to achieve growth and safe and stable operation, which demonstrates the strong vitality and appeal of the Belt and Road Initiative. China welcomes more cooperative partners, stands ready to work with all parties to avail ourselves of the opportunities brought by the China-Europe Railway Express, jointly pursue high-quality development of the BRI and contribute more strength to the sustainable recovery of global economy.
CNR: As we understand, permanent representatives to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and officials of the body’s General Secretariat recently paid a visit to Xinjiang on the “cloud”. Could you give us more details?
Wang Wenbin: On January 5, over 40 people, including the permanent representatives to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and diplomats from 36 countries as well as officials of the General Secretariat of the OIC paid a visit to Xinjiang via videolink. Erkin Tuniyaz, acting chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region attended the event and had exchanges with the delegation. The delegation took a virtual tour of places including the International Grand Bazaar, the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, mosque, grassroots community and kindergarten, had candid exchanges with trainees who graduated from vocational education and training centers and workers who found employment out of their hometown, getting a deep understanding of the situation in Xinjiang, which enjoys economic development, social stability, ethnic solidarity and religious harmony. Members of the delegation said that the development achievements in Xinjiang are remarkable, and people of all ethnic groups are leading a happy life and living in solidarity and harmony. The freedom of religious belief and all rights of the Muslims have been fully protected. Citizens of all ethnic minorities, including the Uyghurs, fully enjoy and exercise equal civil rights, and actively participate in the governance of the state and the Xinjiang region.
In recent years, two OIC delegations have visited Xinjiang. This time, after the visit on the “cloud”, the OIC again spoke in an objective and just voice on Xinjiang-related issues. This fully demonstrates that the Islamic world is sharp-eyed. Certain Western countries’ lies on Xinjiang cannot cover up the facts and truth that Xinjiang enjoys stability and tranquility, development and prosperity, and ethnic solidarity and religious harmony. Friends from all countries are most welcome to visit Xinjiang through various means, including virtual and in-person tours, to feel the charm of this wonderful place.
MASTV: The leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear war the other day, which has received warm response from the international community. Some US experts and scholars said that if the five States agreed that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, then it is a logical step for the US to give up the first use of nuclear weapons. The Biden administration should pledge “never to use nuclear weapons first”. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. China is the only one among the five Nuclear-Weapon States that has pledged no first use of nuclear weapons. This policy plays a crucial role in reducing nuclear risks and preventing a nuclear war, which is widely recognized and welcomed by non-Nuclear-Weapon States. China hopes the five States can proceed from the leaders’ joint statement on preventing nuclear war, give up nuclear deterrence policies based on the first use of nuclear weapons, and pledge not to use nuclear weapons first against each other and conclude international legal instruments through negotiation. China will continue to make active efforts in this regard.
The international community hopes that this joint statement could have positive influence on the US’ Nuclear Posture Review. We hope the US government can heed the call at home and abroad, earnestly diminish the role of nuclear weapons in national security policies, exercise restraint on the building and deployment of strategic capabilities, and adopt the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. In the meantime, we hope certain US allies can follow the expectation of the international community, actively support rather than vehemently obstruct the US’ adoption of the policy.
Reuters: On Saturday Indonesia announced a ban on coal exports for the month of January. Japan has urged Indonesia to lift this ban. Has China contacted Indonesia about the ban and what’s China’s view on it?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. Please refer to the competent authority.
China Daily: On January 5, the governments of China and Morocco signed a cooperation plan on the Belt and Road Initiative. The Moroccan government said the partnership is aimed at facilitating cooperation in infrastructure, trade, investment, industry, agriculture and more. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: On January 5, Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita signed the cooperation plan between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco on jointly advancing the Belt and Road Initiative. Morocco is the first country in North Africa to sign a BRI cooperation plan with China. The signing of the document will continuously deepen bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, economy, trade and investment and promote the synergizing of development strategies of the two countries.
Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping and Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, the strategic partnership between China and Morocco has in recent years made strides as evidenced by fruitful results in practical cooperation across the board. Taking this opportunity of the signing of the cooperation plan, China stands ready to work with Morocco to follow through on the consensus between the two heads of state, expand practical cooperation, promote efforts to substantiate and deepen the high-quality development of the BRI in West Asia and North Africa and benefit the people in China, Morocco and other countries in the region.
AFP: North Korea confirmed today that it successfully tested a hyper-sonic missile this week. Does China have any comment on this confirmation?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports and recent developments in all aspects in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We hope that all relevant parties will bear in mind the overall interests, speak and act prudently, adhere to the right direction of dialogue and consultation, and work together to promote the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
The Paper: Tadashi Yanai, the founder of Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo, said in an interview that the company refused to answer whether they would use Xinjiang cotton because they want to be neutral between China and the United States. The American approach is to force companies to pledge allegiance, but his company won’t play this game. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: For some time, the US has kept spreading rumors and stirring up trouble on Xinjiang-related issues. In essence, the US is trying to hinder China’s development and undermine the prosperity and stability of Xinjiang. The US forces multinational companies to take sides and pledge allegiance to them, which is out-and-out political coercion and completely violates market rules and business ethics. It not only damages its own interests and credibility, but also undermines the stability of the global industrial and supply chains and disrupts the international trade order.
The cotton of Xinjiang is white and of high quality, and the people in Xinjiang are hardworking and industrial. I believe that more and more enterprises will be able to distinguish right from wrong, rise above the disturbance of political pressure and make independent business decisions.
The Global Times: Recently the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) co-hosted an online one-month countdown to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics themed “Beijing Winter Olympics: Together for a Shared Future”. AOC Chief Executive and Australian Chef de Mission said during the event that China’s preparations for the Games are absolutely amazing. The Australian team looks forward to attending the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and experiencing the Chinese culture. They wish the Games a full success. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Recently, the organizing committee for the Winter Olympics, the Olympic Committee and other relevant departments from China and Australia successfully held an event themed “Beijing Winter Olympics: Together for a Shared Future”, expressing their expectation and support for the successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples and all sectors of society in both countries.
We have noted that athletes and people from all walks of life in many countries have expressed their support and anticipation for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games are progressing in an orderly and efficient manner, and the results are there for all to see. We will uphold the spirit of peace, friendship and solidarity, continue to ensure high-standard preparations and service for the Games, and present a grand Olympic Games in Beijing to the world, and enhance mutual understanding and promote friendship among people of all countries.
Hubei Media Group: One year after the Capitol Hill turmoil on January 6, 2021, despite the chaotic situation of its own democracy, the US has convened the “Summit for Democracy” and is peddling American democracy across the world. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The storming of the Capitol Hill one year ago shocked the world and set people thinking. A new NPR poll finds that 64% of Americans believe U.S. democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing”. A Pew survey shows that 57% of international respondents and 72% of Americans believe that democracy in the US is not a good example for others to follow. A poll released by Harvard Kennedy School indicates that only 7% of young Americans view the US as a “healthy democracy” and over a third think they may see a second U.S. civil war within their lifetimes. These figures reveal the common concern and strong suspicion of the American people and the international community over American democracy.
The American democracy is problem-ridden and the “Kabul moment” featuring the hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan further laid bare the serious harm of imposing American democracy on others. However, it is beyond our imagination that the US didn’t learn a lesson but still styles itself as a leader of democracy. It hosted the so-called “Summit for Democracy” to serve its own selfish interests at the cost of creating division and confrontation in the world. This was bound to be criticized and opposed by the international community and came to a hasty end.
Democracy is the common value of humanity, not a tool for political manipulation. No democracy is superior to others and no democratic model fits all scenarios. The exploration of a path to democracy by a country’s people in light of national realities is the only right way to achieve and develop democracy. Labeling, politicizing and weaponizing democracy is not a grand show, but a petty trick. This will only further reveal one’s ugly face of seeking hegemony in the name of democracy to the whole world.
The US should set aside pride and prejudice, abandon selfishness and hegemony and face up to its own “democracy deficit”. It needs to respect the right of all countries to explore and develop paths to democracy suited to their national conditions, redress the wrong act of forcing American democracy onto other countries and stop the dangerous practice of using democracy as an excuse to create division and confrontation.
China is ready to work with all sides to uphold the true democratic spirit, boycott pseudo-democratic and anti-democratic acts, and promote greater democracy in international relations so that democracy will no longer be used as a tool to divide the world.