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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on July 3, 2020
2020-07-03 20:02

CCTV: The foreign ministry of Laos issued a statement expressing congratulations and firm support for China's passage of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR, believing that the Law will ensure long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. The spokesperson of the foreign ministry of Vietnam also affirmed the country's respect and support for China's "one country, two systems" principle, the Basic Law and the related legal system, hoping other countries can respect that, too. What's China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: China highly applauds Laos and Vietnam for their staunch support in China's passage and implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR. At the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, over 70 countries including Laos and Vietnam voiced their support for China's legislation and urged certain countries to immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Hong Kong. It illustrates a simple truth: fair-minded people can tell right from wrong. Several Western countries' attempt to smear China will never succeed.

I'd like to add that after Cuba made a statement on June 30 on behalf of 53 countries at the Human Rights Council to welcome the passage of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR, representatives of over 20 countries delivered remarks at the UNHRC to endorse the legislation. To sum up, more than 70 countries voiced their support for China's legislation at the 44th session of the UNHRC, vividly demonstrating that "a just cause rallies abundant support while an unjust one finds little."

Beijing Youth Daily: Ryo Takeuchi, a Japanese director living in Nanjing, filmed a documentary Long Time No See, Wuhan that received an amazing array of responses in China and Japan and has recorded over 25 million views online. By presenting the stories of ten ordinary citizens, the documentary depicts Wuhan residents' daily life and the state of the city now. It captures Wuhan's tremendous efforts in fighting COVID-19 and the outcomes it achieved and people's aspiration for and confidence in a brighter future. Do you have any comment on this film?

Zhao Lijian: Indeed, the documentary you are following has been warmly received in China and Japan. Director Takeuchi visited Wuhan and demonstrated from ordinary citizens' perspective the life in Wuhan after being hit by the coronavirus, as well as the resilience and optimism of Wuhan residents. For Chinese and Japanese viewers, this documentary is very touching as it depicts people's life in a plain, sincere and heart-warming way. We hope there will be more documentaries like this one, which will enhance mutual understanding and friendship between China and Japan.

China News Service: The American Chamber of Commerce said in a recent statement that for more than 50 years, it has been committed to preserving Hong Kong's stature as an international business center, and has worked with and supported the Hong Kong SAR government in the development of a world class business hub incorporating the shared values of rule of law, free flow of information and connectivity across the globe. The statement also said that AmCham remains "committed to Hong Kong as a home base for international business". I wonder if you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Since its return to the motherland, Hong Kong has given full play to its unique advantage as a global hub backed by the mainland. Its status as an international financial, shipping and trading center has been consolidated. It has been known as one of the most free, open, prosperous and vibrant places in the world. It ranked second in this year's Index of Economic Freedom released by an American institution.

For a while, anti-China forces seeking to disrupt Hong Kong engaged in mass illegal violent activities, vandalizing facilities and harassing residents. They seriously affected Hong Kong's law and order, threatened people's life and property, and jeopardized the normal operation of businesses from all countries. The national security law in Hong Kong will provide a stronger institutional guarantee for the steady and sustained implementation of "one country, two systems". It will help ensure Hong Kong's lasting security, stability and prosperity, safeguard residents' lawful rights and freedoms, and protect investors' rights and interests.

Looking forward, as China's reform and opening-up unleashes greater economic vitality and as Hong Kong grows closer ties of cooperation with the mainland and the rest of the world, Hong Kong will definitely enjoy an even better future and foreign businesses there will surely embrace brighter prospects.

We welcome foreign businesses including American companies to continue operating in Hong Kong and wish them greater success. We also hope the American business community will work with all those supporting Hong Kong's development and prosperity to make sure this "Pearl of the Orient" will shine with more brilliant luster.

RIA Novosti: According to the State Security Service, Belgium's intelligence agency, Chinese students in Belgium may be spying for China and sharing knowledge obtained in universities with Chinese armed forces. The deputy head of the agency said Belgium's Intelligence service is trying to identify potentially dangerous students. I wonder what is your comment on this report?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese embassy in Belgium has responded to this. The report you mentioned is groundless and maliciously smears China. As we have repeatedly stated, China always develops relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference. In recent years, with concerted efforts, China-Belgium exchange and cooperation in the education sector made steady progress, benefiting both sides. We urge relevant sides in Belgium can look at student exchange with China in an objective and rational light, refrain from making irresponsible comments, and work to promote mutual trust and cooperation with China.

CNR: US Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement on July 1 that the US Department of State, along with the US Department of the Treasury, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Department of Homeland Security, is issuing an advisory to caution businesses about the risks of supply chain links to entities that engage in human rights abuses, including forced labor in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. I wonder if China has any response to this?

Zhao Lijian: US politicians including Mr. Pompeo have been spreading fallacies on Xinjiang, creating "fake news", wantonly criticizing China's Xinjiang policy, and interfering in China's internal affairs non-stop. China deplores and firmly rejects that.

The so-called "forced labor" is just a concoction by some US and Western institutions and personnel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rights and interests of workers from ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang as part of China's large workforce are protected by law. They are free to choose a profession and can decide on where to work of their own free will. There is no restriction whatsoever on their personal freedom. Their customs, religious beliefs and spoken and written language are all protected by law. Relevant enterprises provide good living and working conditions for ethnic minority workers and make sure all their needs are attended to. The government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region takes active measures to guarantee to the maximum the right to work and employment of people from all ethnic groups based on their own will. According to statistics on hand, since 2018, altogether 151,000 people from impoverished households in southern Xinjiang found employment away from home, with many earning an annual income of 45,000 RMB. Thanks to the income, all their families got out of poverty. How can anyone call this "forced labor"?

Some in the US profess they care about ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, but at the same time they are taking all sorts of measures to repress Xinjiang enterprises. This inconsistency exposes their hypocrisy and malicious intention to contain Xinjiang's development and sow discord between different ethnic groups in China. We urge the US side to respect facts, overcome bias, stop political manipulation, stop erroneous words and deeds detrimental to others and itself, stop using Xinjiang as a pretext to disrupt normal cooperation between Chinese and American companies, and work to promote mutual trust and cooperation with China. China has unwavering resolution to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests. Those attempting to undermine stability and prosperity in Xinjiang and contain China's development will not and cannot succeed.

Phoenix TV: According to reports, India's transport minister said Chinese companies will be barred from constructing the country's roads and highways. In the last few days, we also witnessed a lag in customs clearance for shipments originating from China. Previously, India announced a ban on over 50 Chinese apps. Does China have any comment on these measures taken by the Indian side? Does China believe they will affect China-India cooperation? Are China and India in any consultation on these matters?

Zhao Lijian: In recent days some politicians in India have kept issuing irresponsible remarks that are detrimental to China-India relations. It calls for concerted efforts on both sides to maintain China-India relations. India should work with China for the same goal and uphold the overall interests of our bilateral relations.

China-India practical cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. Artificially setting up barriers for such cooperation not only violates WTO rules, but also hurts India's interests. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese businesses.

China Daily: APAC News, a comprehensive independent news website in Australia, published an article titled "ASPI Strategy Pays Off" on July 1. According to the article, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is actually an anti-China lobbying group despite its claim of independence. Its analysts are always forthcoming with research pointing to the strategic threat of China, promoting China as Australia's "No. 1 strategic threat". The Australian Department of Defense is its biggest funding source, while the US, British, and some other governments and major weapons makers are generous supporters. Besides the 4 million Australian dollars annual grant from the Australian Department of Defense, ASPI also acquired contracts that amounted to more about 2.133 million Australian dollars from the Australian government from July 2019 to June 2020. However, ASPI deliberately makes the Australian and US governments' funding figures opaque. I wonder if China has any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Given the fact that some in Australia keep hyping up the co-called China influence and Chinese interference and infiltration in Australia, and that some in the US and Australia randomly blame China for spreading disinformation, I suggest you ask these people for their comments on this.

It is not the first time that the background of this "think tank" is revealed by Chinese and foreign media. Now we are even seeing exact numbers. ASPI has been widely criticized by many, including those with vision in Australia, for what it has done. When truth and facts emerge, an institution maliciously smearing China by creating disinformation will only end up in humiliation.

PTI: In response to what you just said about the ban by India of some of the apps as well as the minister's comment, you know the context in which India has done this, purely on the security-related issues. And there is also the issues related at the border. So against the background of all this, you think Indians are not justified in taking this particular action?

Zhao Lijian: I already stated China's position very clearly just now.

I would like to stress that China hopes that India will work with us, follow faithfully the important consensus reached between the two leaders, abide by the agreements reach between the two governments, strengthen communication and coordination on properly managing the current situation through diplomatic and military channels, and jointly uphold peace and stability in the border areas.

At the same time, we need to see that China and India, both major developing countries, bear the historic mission of accelerating national development and rejuvenation. Hence, acts of mutual respect and mutual support represent the right track and also conform to the long-term interests of both countries, whereas those of mutual distrust and friction belong to an evil path and go against the fundamental aspirations of the two peoples. China and India should follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and uphold overall bilateral relations. India should avoid a strategic miscalculation with regard to China.

Kyodo News: First question, reports say Indian Prime Minister Modi visited China-India border areas today. Can you comment on that? Second question, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party adopted a resolution today expressing serious concerns that many were arrested after the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was promulgated, and they asked the Japanese government to reconsider Chinese leader's visit. What's your comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China and India are in communication with each other through military and diplomatic channels. Neither side should make any move that may complicate the border situation.

On your second question, China has lodged stern representations with Japan for its negative comments on Hong Kong-related matters. China hasn't been discussing major bilateral agenda with Japan for a while. The hyping-up of this matter by some forces in Japan is just meaningless.

Some in Japan have long been politicizing and making unwarranted comments on other countries' internal affairs. I'd like to point out that their anti-China "performance" means nothing to us. We have neither the time nor the interest to comment on that.

AFP: The US Pentagon recently said it was concerned about Chinese military exercises in the South China Sea near the Paracel islands. And Vietnam's foreign ministry has rejected it. Official from the government of the Philippines also made a statement. What is China's response?

Zhao Lijian: Xisha Islands are indisputably China's inherent territory. China's military exercises in the seas off Xisha Islands are within our sovereignty and beyond reproach. The fundamental cause of instability in the South China Sea is the large-scale military activities and flexing of muscles by some non-regional country that lies tens of thousands of miles away.

The following question is raised after the press conference.

Q: In response to Chinese Coast Guard vessels found near Diaoyu Dao for 80 consecutive days by Japan's Maritime Safety Agency, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said to the press on July 2 that Japan will firmly safeguard its territorial land, seas and space. The Japanese patrol vessels warned the Chinese vessels multiple times, and the Japanese government made stern protests with China more than once through diplomatic channels. What is China's response?

Zhao Lijian: Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China is determined in safeguarding our sovereignty. Patrolling and law-enforcement in the waters off Diaoyu Dao is our inherent right, and Japan has no right to make unwarranted comments. We don't accept its so-called "protests", and we ask Japan to immediately withdraw from Chinese waters, stop hyping up Diaoyu Dao-related issues, and refrain from stirring up new trouble.

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