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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 6, 2020
2020-03-06 23:00

I'd like to share with you some latest figures. According to the statistics from the National Health Commission this morning, March 5 saw 1,681 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China's mainland, bringing the tally to 53,726.

Q: During the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC),the Chinese and Venezuelan permanent missions to the UN Office at Geneva jointly held a seminar on the rights of migrant children. Could you give us more details on that?

A: On March 2, the Permanent Mission of China and the Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the UN Office at Geneva jointly held a seminar on the rights of migrant children. NGO representatives, diplomatic officials and scholars from Cuba, Nicaragua, Algeria, Burundi, Myanmar, Laos, Portugal, Mexico and Switzerland participated in the seminar.

Experts from the US, Mexico and China gave a detailed account of the serious transgressions the US has committed of the rights of migrant children. Some experts said that more than 70,000 migrant children are held in custody by the US, according to UN reports, more than in any other country. 5,500 children along the US-Mexico border were forced into separation from their family and put under detention in 2019. These children are detained for such a long time under harsh conditions, which constitutes a serious humanitarian crisis.

As other experts pointed out, the US is the only country that hasn't ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also has the worst record in protecting children's rights. It has been using double standards on the human rights issue and interfering in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, but shunning away from its own violations of children's rights. It is simply difficult to believe that the US is working to promote and protect human rights.

I want to stress that the US is in the habit of hurling groundless accusations against others' human rights records and meddling in others' internal affairs in the name of protecting human rights. We urge the US to ensure the rights of migrant children and stop politicizing and applying double standards to the human rights issue in international cooperation in this field.

Q: The Japanese government decided yesterday to impose a two-week quarantine on travelers arriving from China and South Korea in designated facilities. What's your comment?

A: In light of current circumstances, countries have taken science-based, professional and calibrated measures to safeguard their own and foreign nationals' safety and health as well as regional and global public health security. I would like to reiterate that we understand such measures. That being said, we believe the measures taken should not exceed the appropriate range.

Q: Dr. Bruce Aylward, foreign head of the China-WHO joint mission on COVID-19, praised China's measures to prevent and contain the epidemic and the effects they've achieved on March 4. He said China's counterattack can be replicated and other countries don't have to start from ground zero. What's your comment?

A: We thank Dr. Aylward for his positive comments on what China has done and achieved to counter the epidemic from a scientific and professional perspective.

With the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures taken, we have full capability and confidence in overcoming the epidemic and minimizing its impact in a bid to achieve this year's socio-economic development goals. The situation in China is increasingly trending in a positive direction, but it is still at such a crucial stage that no one should slack off at all.

We also note the epidemic continues spreading in some countries. While maintaining epidemic response at home, China is also advancing international cooperation in various forms and providing support and assistance to foreign countries to its best capabilities.

To be more specific, we have established close technical communication mechanisms with the WHO, the European Union, the African Union, the  Caribbean Community (CARICOM), ASEAN and other organizations, as well as the Republic of Korea, Iran and other countries at high epidemic risk or with fragile health systems. Under these mechanisms, we share resources and information, and provide technical support for containment and diagnosis. Going forward, we will continue to step up technical cooperation and exchanges with the international community, timely provide updated guidelines on epidemic prevention and control as well as diagnosis and treatment, conduct exchanges between Chinese and foreign experts via video and telephone conferences, and support the Red Cross society of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in sending expert teams to relevant countries for cooperation and exchanges.

Q: The US State Department gave the 2020 International Women of Courage Award to Sayragul Sauytbay, a woman from Xinjiang, on March 4. Secretary Pompeo commended how she "bravely provided accounts of Xinjiang's internment camps, and continues to inspire other former detainees to come forward and tell their stories to the world". Do you have a comment?

A: The US State Department just conferred the so-called 2020 International Women of Courage Award to Sayragul Sauytbay, a suspected criminal of Chinese citizenship from Xinjiang. It also took the occasion to attack and smear China's Xinjiang policy. We deplore and reject it.

Sayragul Sauytbay is on Xinjiang public security authorities' online list of wanted persons for suspected crimes including illegal border crossing and loan fraud. She never worked in any vocational education and training center. In an endeavor to escape justice and seek political asylum, she made up lies to smear Xinjiang, a despicable and vile act indeed.

As China has repeatedly stressed, there is no "internment camps" in Xinjiang. Faced with the severe challenge of recurring violent and terrorist attacks, Xinjiang took counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures according to law, including by setting up vocational education and training centers, where people under the sway of extremist ideas take language, legal, skills and de-radicalization courses. The purpose is to root out extremism and terrorism. The measures produced visible effects, with zero terror incident in Xinjiang for three years. By the end of last year, all trainees had completed their courses, secured employment with the help of the government, and started a life of tranquility.

In total disregard of truth and facts, the US obstinately named the criminal suspect Sayragul Sauytbay a winner of its International Women of Courage Award. This is not only condoning and encouraging her suspected criminal activities, but also an insult on and a travesty of human rights. China urges the US to discard its ideological bias, stop using issues relating to Xinjiang to interfere in China's internal affairs, and work to cement rather than undermine bilateral relations.

Q: On March 4 and 5, a meeting of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers passed a resolution and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) General Secretariat issued a statement, both commending and supporting China's efforts against the COVID-19 epidemic. I wonder what's China's response?

A: The 153rd session of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers passed a resolution expressing appreciation and support for China's efforts to fight against the virus and confidence in the Chinese government and people's capability to overcome the epidemic. The OIC General Secretariat also commended in its statement China's transparent exchange of information with other countries, which will help contain the outbreak and lower risks of further spread. We appreciate this.

China has traditional friendship with Arab and Islamic countries. We share mutual support and high-level cooperation, which has been fully demonstrated in the face of the epidemic. We will continue to work with the international community including Arab and Islamic countries to jointly safeguard regional and global public health security by enhancing cooperation, sharing experience and coordinating actions.

Q: According to reports, on March 5, the US said in a statement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that it will be "proposing a bold new trilateral arms control initiative with Russia and China to help avoid an expensive arms race and instead work together to build a better, safer and more prosperous future for all". What's China's response?

A: China has repeatedly reiterated that it has no intention of participating in the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations with the US and Russia. This position is very clear. The pressing issue on nuclear disarmament at the moment is for the United States to respond to Russia's call to extend the New START Treaty, and further downsize its huge nuclear arsenal. This will create conditions for other nuclear weapon states to join multilateral disarmament talks.

It is well known that China follows a defense policy that is defensive in nature. Our nuclear force is always kept at the minimum level required by national security, with an order-of-magnitude difference from that of the US and Russia. We are committed to peaceful development. We have never joined and will never join any form of arms race.

I need to stress that refusing to join trilateral negotiations doesn't mean China is not participating in international nuclear disarmament. We stand ready to strengthen communication and collaboration with all parties within existing frameworks such as the mechanism of five nuclear-weapon states and engage in discussions over a wide range of issues concerning global strategic stability.

China is always open to bilateral exchange with the US in the field of strategic security. It will help promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations by increasing trust and clearing misgivings. We hope the US will stop doing things that harm China's interests and create conditions for constructive dialogue between the two sides.

Q: Also on the Japanese government's border entry restrictions, will China consider taking unified entry restrictions nationwide in response?

A: China has been closely following developments of the epidemic in other countries. The virus respects no borders. Recently some countries have imposed some exit and entry restrictions in a bid to step up prevention and control efforts. As long as the measures are science-based, professional and calibrated and for the sake of safeguarding people's health and regional and global public health security, we should understand them.

While fighting the outbreak at home, we are ready to strengthen coordination with other countries, share information and experience,  jointly strengthen prevention and control measures at border entry, step up inspection and quarantine, and cut down unnecessary cross-border travels.

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