|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 30, 2020|
CCTV: On June 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a State Department press statement that as Beijing moves forward with passing the national security law in Hong Kong, the United States will today end exports of US-origin defense equipment and will take steps toward imposing the same restrictions on US defense and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong as it does for China's mainland. The US Department of Defense issued a similar statement. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: On Hong Kong's national security legislation, the Chinese side has made clear its solemn position on many occasions. It is China's internal affair and no foreign country has any right to interfere. The Chinese government is determined in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, in implementing the "one country, two systems" policy, and in opposing external forces' interference in Hong Kong affairs. Intimidation does not work on China. The US wants to wield the so-called sanctions to obstruct China's legislation process to safeguard national security in Hong Kong. Such attempts will never succeed.
As regards the wrong moves by the US side, China will take necessary retaliatory measures to resolutely safeguard its national interests.
China News Service: According to information released by the US Department of Defense on June 26, Adm. James Foggo, Commander of NATO Allied Joint Force Command Naples and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, said at a webinar sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies that China's whole-of-government approach has expanded out of the Indo-Pacific into the Arctic, Europe and Africa, and China is actively working in Europe and Africa to subvert the international rules-based infrastructure that has maintained peace since the end of World War II. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: Speaking of "whole-of-government approach", don't you think it is rather a fitting description of the US itself? With the remarks you mentioned, the US is trying to blame the innocent party for what it is guilty of. The world can see through its vicious intention.
China urges the US to abandon the Cold War mentality and zero sum game mindset, stop presuming others' behavior based on its own pattern, and stop wantonly criticizing and denigrating China. We hope it will work to promote world peace, stability and prosperity.
Global Times: On June 29, US Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement on Xinjiang, saying that according to German researcher Adrian Zenz, the Chinese government is using forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, as part of a continuing campaign of repression. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Pompeo is a brazen liar.
The Chinese government equally protects the legitimate rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities. In fact, our population policy has long been leaning toward ethnic minorities. From 1978 to 2018, the population of Uyghurs in Xinjiang grew from 5.55 million to 11.68 million, registering a 2.1 times increase and accounting for about 46.8 percent of the total population of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. If Mr. Pompeo is telling the truth, how can he explain the big increase in the Uyghur population?
Now if we look at the US, ethnic minorities have long been suffering from bullying, exclusion and wide, systemic discrimination in economic, cultural, social and other aspects. Let's take American Indians for example. The US government has been implementing genocide, racial segregation and assimilation policies on them. In nearly a century after the country was founded, the US expelled and killed a large number of Indians through the Westward Expansion. At the beginning of the 20th century, the population of native Americans nosedived to 250,000 from 5 million in 1492, and today their population only accounts for 2 percent of the US total. After the COVID-19 outbreak, infection rate of African Americans is over five times that of Caucasians, and their mortality rate is also significantly higher, a clear sign of racial inequality. More recently, the death of African American George Floyd and subsequent mass protests expose once again the urgency of addressing systemic racism in the US, which has led to ethnic minorities crying "I cannot breathe".
I also want to stress that it's not the first time that the US cites disinformation from the anti-China researcher Adrian Zenz. As revealed by The Grayzone, an independent news website in the US, Adrian Zenz is in fact a member of a far-right organization established by the US government, and a senior fellow in a research group set up by the US intelligence community on the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang.
We urge US politicians like Mr. Pompeo to reject bias and double standards, face up to the issue of racial discrimination at home, spend more time and energy on improving human rights conditions at home, and immediately stop smearing China and interfering in China's internal affairs by creating rumors under the pretext of Xinjiang.
Reuters: We will soon pass the six-month milestone since the first cases of coronavirus were reported, what reflections does China have on its handling of the virus and the political situation that has arisen since? And the WHO has said it will send a team of investigators next week to investigate the origins of the virus. How does China take it?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, faced with the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government puts people's life and health first. The most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures were taken decisively. The whole nation stood as one in the face of the epidemic and achieved major strategic outcomes in the fight. We have detailed our effective measures with a clear timeline and released the white paper Fighting COVID-19: China in Action, which documented the Chinese people's war against the epidemic.
The Chinese government always puts people and their lives front and center. To protect people's life and health, social and economic activities across the country were halted, decisive isolation measures enforced, WHO's professional recommendations followed, and science-based policy adopted to break the transmission route and save lives at all costs. China's COVID-19 response can stand the test of time and history.
China kept WHO, relevant countries and regional organizations updated with the latest information, and shared genetic data of the novel coronavirus and its experience in fighting the epidemic and provided support to the global response. We are grateful for valuable support from the international community and have done our best to reciprocate by offering supplies, sending medical expert teams, and facilitating other countries' purchase of anti-virus supplies.
The most important thing we can learn from this pandemic is that only by standing together can we defeat the virus, an enemy to all mankind. Solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon in this war. Having claimed so many precious lives, COVID-19 serves as a stark reminder that countries must rise above differences in geography, race, history, culture and social system. As a responsible country, China will contribute its share to the realization of this goal.
On your second question, it is our consistent view that origin-tracing is a scientific matter that should be studied by scientists and medical experts. Since the epidemic broke out, China has maintained communication and cooperation with WHO on the issue of origin-tracing, and Chinese scientists have also been exchanging ideas with their foreign colleagues. We also continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus.
Islamic Republic News Agency: My first question is about the JCPOA. The Security Council meeting will discuss the UN Secretary-General's report on Resolution 2231. I wonder if you have any comment about this? Second question, reports say that Israel will announce to annex parts of occupied West Bank on July 1. Except for the US, many countries, more than 1,000 parliament members across Europe and the UN Secretary-General strongly oppose this plan. What is your comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China firmly upholds the authority of the UNSC resolution and the efficacy of the JCPOA. We oppose the US move to push for an extension of arms embargo against Iran in the Security Council. All provisions of Resolution 2231, including the content related to lifting arms embargo against Iran, should be faithfully implemented.
On your second question, a few days ago in his remarks at the Security Council open VTC on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi once again made clear China's position. As he said, taking unilateral actions will only aggravate tensions and undermine mutual trust. The issue of settlements is a key item of the final status talks. The Security Council has long made it clear that the establishment of those settlements constitutes violation of international law. The question of occupied territories in the West Bank should be resolved as early as possible based on relevant UN resolutions, and the final Palestine-Israel border delineated through peace talks. China calls on all relevant parties to remain committed to the strategic choice of peace talks, cherish the outcomes of previous talks, and refrain from actions that may intensify tensions between Palestine and Israel.
Fuji TV: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that it will be regrettable if the national security legislation for Hong Kong is passed, and that it undercuts the international community's confidence in "one country, two systems". Does China have any comments?
Zhao Lijian: China has stated our solemn position on Japan's negative response to Hong Kong-related matters. Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. Establishing and improving a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong is in itself an embodiment of "one country, two systems". It is to ensure the steady implementation of this principle as well as the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, which has been endorsed by all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, and most countries in the world. China firmly opposes the interference in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs by any country through any means.
Reuters: India says it is taking action to ban several dozens of Chinese apps in the country citing national security concerns. What's the foreign ministry's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China has noted the press release issued by the Indian side with strong concern and is now verifying the situation. I want to stress that the Chinese government consistently asks Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations when conducting external cooperation. The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of international investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles. Practical cooperation between China and India is mutually beneficial. Deliberate interference in such cooperation will not serve the interests of the Indian side.
Reuters: Speaking of the comments made by Mr. Pompeo on Hong Kong, you mentioned that there would be consequences. Could you give us any idea of what types of consequences there would be in relation to this latest action? And will they be immediate or maybe we won't see them for a while?
Zhao Lijian: I already stated China's position very clearly. China is firmly determined to safeguard its own interests and will take necessary reactions to the erroneous US move.