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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 13, 2021
2021-05-13 21:04

AFP: Tunis, Norway and China proposed an emergency meeting at the Security Council on Friday to address the deteriorating hostility between Israel and Palestine, according to people familiar with the matter. Can you give us more details?

Hua Chunying: China is highly concerned about the current Palestine-Israel situation. China chaired the emergency consultation to discuss the situation in East Jerusalem as the president of the UN Security Council for May. Members of the international community share the concern over the severe clashes between the Palestinian people and Israeli police in East Jerusalem. They expressed deep concern over the escalating tensions between the two countries. Security Council members urged cessation of violence against civilians and observance of international law. As I said before, in collaboration with relevant countries, China drafted and disseminated a Security Council press statement. Most countries supported this draft and called for its early release. However, the Council has yet to reach consensus on it due to the obstruction of a certain country.

China condemns violence targeting civilians. We call on parties to avoid further provocative rhetoric and acts and take actions conducive to reducing violence and achieving a soft-landing of the situation, so as to restore peace and stability on the ground at an early date. As we stressed on many occasions, facing the on-going tensions, China believes that the Security Council should do something to reaffirm commitment and firm support to the two-state solution, work for the deescalation of the situation and fulfill the obligations of upholding international peace and security. As the president of the Security Council for this month, China will continue to do its best to ensure that the Council take actions about the situation in East Jerusalem as soon as possible.

Beijing Youth Daily: A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, which collected 325 anonymous responses, or 24% of its membership, found that 42% of respondents are considering or planning to leave Hong Kong, with 62% citing their discomfort with the national security law. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: I don't think what you cited in the question can reflect the overall picture of the survey results. You should have noted that 58% in the AmCham survey said they're not planning to leave Hong Kong. Around 77% of them cited a good quality of life in the city, while some 55% said the business environment is excellent. Nearly 48% added that the city's proximity to mainland market was a draw. Like you mentioned, the companies surveyed constitute less than a quarter of AmCham's membership. If the survey includes more correspondents, we may find that the proportion of companies willing to operate in Hong Kong would increase further.

I also noted that Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development in Hong Kong said the number of overseas firms using Hong Kong as a regional headquarters is over 9,000. Hong Kong remains an attractive place for foreign firms to do business, particularly for those companies who seek opportunities in China's mainland. The American Business in China White Paper released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China not long ago speaks volumes. It shows that two thirds intend to increase investment to China. 

In fact, since Hong Kong's return to China, it has fully leveraged the unique strengths including the practice of One Country, Two Systems and its standing as an international city supported by the mainland. Hong Kong's status as a global financial, shipping and trading hub has been consolidated and enhanced. The facts over the past year show that the implementation of Hong Kong-related national security law has plugged the long-standing loopholes in security for Hong Kong, restored social stability in the city and enabled its financial market to maintain stable and orderly operation and improved the investment environment. This provides a safer, more stable and sustainable investment environment and brighter cooperation prospect for international investors including American businesses. The World Economic Outlook released by the IMF in April this year predicted Hong Kong's economy will grow at a rate of 4.3% this year, and world-renowned financial institutions also raised their forecasts for the city's economic growth by a large margin.

The central government will, as always, fully support Hong Kong in developing its economy and integrating itself into the overall development of the country. Businesses of other countries are welcome to seize the opportunities in Hong Kong and achieve greater success. We are confident that Hong Kong will have an even better future.

China Review News: The United States, Britain, Germany and NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International hosted a virtual event on Xinjiang's human rights situation in New York on May 12, keeping up the shameless hype-up on the so-called "genocide" issue in Xinjiang and also calling on China to allow unfettered access to Xinjiang by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Does China have any comment?

Hua Chunying: The United States, Britain and Germany ganged up with some NGOs to host a virtual conference on Xinjiang's human rights situation based on lies and political prejudice falsely in the name of the UN. China deplores and rejects it. The conference was awash with outrageous lies and disinformation. It was another despicable shoddy show and sheer political farces put together by a handful of countries including the US. In fact, it was firmly rejected by the vast UN membership.

I must point out that these countries that are always trying to lecture others on human rights issues actually have a deplorable record on human rights and have committed piles of crimes. The false allegations they launch against China mirror their own historical crimes and sinister mentality.

US history has recorded the horrific systemic ethnic cleansing and slaughter of Native Indians, which constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Between the 19th century and the 1970s, the US government sent a large number of Indian children to boarding schools, which can be called the progenitor of concentration camps. An American historian at the University of Hawaii points out that the US warfare against the Native American population was the largest genocide in history. Pulitzer Prize winner John Toland wrote in his book Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography that Hitler attributed his idea of concentration camps and his practice of genocide to his study of British and American history. In the US today, racism is still a systemic and persistent existence penetrating every aspect of life. Former President Obama said, "the legacy of discrimination in almost every institution of our lives - you know, that casts a long shadow. And that's still part of our DNA that's passed on". "Defined broadly enough, one could say that there's systemic racism across every institution in America," said former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The US claims loudly enough that it is concerned about the human rights of Muslims. However, it is exactly the US and its accomplices that have killed the most Muslims. The US waged wars and military operations in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries in the name of "fighting terrorism", taking the lives of over a million Muslims and displacing tens of millions. Where is the US concern for human rights?

Britain committed countless horrifying crimes all over the world during hundreds of years of colonial rule. The world's first concentration camp in South Africa carries with it the disgraceful brand of the British Empire. British forces killed innocent people and committed torture in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but the culprits are sheltered by the government and remain beyond the law. Where is the UK concern for human rights?

In the beginning of the 20th century, German colonists slaughtered over 100,000 indigenous Namibian tribespeople. United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights said in a report that this is the first genocide in the 20th century. During WWII, Nazi Germany slaughtered almost six million Jews. Where is Germany's concern for human rights?

Instead of reflecting deeply on their poor human rights records and crimes in the past and at present, the countries above crossed every line to smear and denigrate China. This only exposes their sanctimonious hypocrisy. If they truly care about human rights, why didn't they invite residents from Xinjiang to attend the event? If they truly care about human rights, why don't they reflect upon and redress serious racial discriminatory polices and behavior at home? If they truly care about human rights, why are they so callous as millions die of COVID-19 at home? If they truly care about human rights, they should take effective measures immediately to make sure all ethnic minorities can breathe freely, stop killing innocent civilians in overseas military operations, hold the culprits accountable and apologize to the affected countries and victims, and take prompt measures to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines globally.

Institutions and individuals attending this meeting are all anti-China in nature. Non-governmental organizations like the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have always been biased, confusing right with wrong and spreading rumors around. The so-called "World Uyghur Congress" (WUC) is an out-and-out anti-China separatist organization. Its president Dolqun Isa, one participant to the meeting, is a terrorist identified by the Chinese government. He has all along been fabricating rumors and lies on Xinjiang, spreading religious extremism, and instigating violent terrorism and separatism. The US is mechanically repeating those lies and rumors fabricated by a handful of fake "witnesses" and "scholars".

Those Western countries would rather believe the lies concocted by a few people than heed the voice of the 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and the 1.4 billion Chinese. They would rather play along with the clumsy show of a handful of anti-China forces than acknowledge the development and progress in Xinjiang. This further exposed the hypocritical nature of their so-called democracy and human rights, and laid bare their intention to make an issue out of the human rights situation in Xinjiang to disrupt and contain China, and to divert people's attention from their own past and on-going human rights crimes and incompetency in domestic governance and COVID-19 response.

Some people said,"If you have nothing to hide, why don't you grant unimpeded access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?" My question is, if someone makes a false accusation against you and arbitrarily asks you to open the door unconditionally so that they can rummage through your chests and cupboards, will you allow it? This is not about facts, but sovereignty and dignity! We welcome all unbiased people to visit Xinjiang. That said, we firmly reject so-called investigation with presumption of guilt by citing lies and rumors, firmly reject interference in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of human rights, and firmly reject playing up the so-called Xinjiang-related issues to undermine China's stability and contain China's development.

A Chinese poem reads that amid monkeys' howl along the riverbanks, my skiff has travelled a thousand miles. China's growth and Xinjiang's stability and development will never be shaken by the clumsy show of these countries and individuals. We hope and believe that the international community will see their real nature and avoid being misled by people with ill intentions. This political farce started by a few countries ganging up with some anti-China organizations and individuals will only end up in a disgraceful self-defeat.  

Bloomberg: I'd like to ask a question about the statement by John Kerry that the Biden administration is considering sanctions over China's alleged use of "forced labor" in the production of solar panels and other components. So this is according to a report from the Associated Press. That would be my first question. And then second question, I'd like to tag on an earlier question. Yesterday you mentioned about one Chinese journalist leaving the US, has there been any more Chinese journalists leaving the US?  

Hua Chunying: To answer your first question, as we've repeatedly said, the allegation of "forced labor" in Xinjiang is an outrageous lie. We still recall that not long ago, a few countries and some forces led by the US went all out to hype up the so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang's cotton-growing industry. Now they are turning to the solar energy industry. Xinjiang cotton is speckless and solar energy is clean, but those who are hyping up the issue have a dark and sinister intention behind their moves. They are trying all possible means to fabricate lies and rumors to create "forced unemployment", "forced poverty" and "forced industrial decoupling" to serve their malicious agenda to mess up Xinjiang and contain China.

As to the real situation in Xinjiang, we've offered a lot of details and hope you will take the time to go through them. I would just like to state, the attempt by certain forces in the US and elsewhere to mess up Xinjiang and contain China will never succeed. The rock they are lifting will end up hitting their own toes. Industrial decoupling will harm Chinese interests, but eventually it will hurt their own interests more. Some rational and objective voices in the US have also expressed their opposition.

On your second question, like I said the other day, the United States in March last year expelled 60 Chinese journalists, and indiscriminately limited the visas of all Chinese media journalists in the US to less than three months starting from May last year. They have to renew their visas every three months, and very often the validity will expire in just a few days after their application is approved, leaving them no choice but to immediately apply for a renewal for another three months. This has thrown the Chinese journalists in the US into great uncertainty in life and work. The visa renewal application submitted by a Xinhua reporter in November, 2020 has yet to be approved. So the journalist has been unable to work since February and was forced to return to China on May 1. Some others are still waiting for a reply from the US side. You must know in your capacity as Bloomberg reporter that, even with epidemic prevention measures in place, we have been doing everything we can to facilitate the work of foreign correspondents in China.

Bloomberg: Sorry, I think I might have misunderstood. Could you just repeat about the the 90 days for the American journalists in China? Because my colleagues were on 90-day visas. So could you confirm that I understood correctly what you say.

Hua Chunying: Do you mean that your colleagues have press cards that are only valid for three months? That's not true. Your own press card should be valid for one year.

More than 95% of all foreign journalists in China have press cards valid for one year.

Bloomberg: Right. But actually tomorrow, I'm going to the exit&entry to get a new 3-month visa.

Hua Chunying: But the fact that you're sitting here at leisure shows it doesn't affect you.

I can tell you very clearly, the overwhelming majority, or 95% of the foreign journalists in China have press cards that are valid for one year, except for a few special cases. Even with current epidemic prevention measures in place, we are still doing everything we can to facilitate the work and life of foreign correspondents in China. We have overcome many difficulties to provide convenience for around 100 foreign journalists and their families returning to China from overseas. So far, we have not taken countermeasures against the US side's decision to reduce the validity of visas for all Chinese journalists in the US to less than three months. Diplomacy is about reciprocity, and the US side should not expect us to bear with the suppression of Chinese journalists indefinitely. We hope that the American journalists can inform and make an appeal to the US government.

Phoenix TV: The US State Department again rebuked China's religious policies and freedom in its 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom. Does China have any response?

Hua Chunying: China-related contents in this report are in disregard of facts and full of ideological bias. They have degraded China's religious policies and seriously interfered in China's internal affairs. China is firmly opposed to that.

The Chinese government protects our citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with law. In China there are nearly 200 million religious believers, more than 380,000 clerical personnel, approximately 5,500 religious groups and more than 140,000 registered religious sites. People of all ethnic groups enjoy full freedom of religious belief. The facts are there for all to see. We urge the US side to respect facts, discard prejudice, stop issuing such reports year after year, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion.

The Paper: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaking at a National Cyber Security Centre conference on May 12 accused China and Russia of being "authoritarian regimes" that have failed to take actions on cyber attacks originating from their countries. He also said that elections have become a main target for interference with the aim of undermining the stability of democracies. Do you have a comment?

Hua Chunying: We note relevant reports. The British side slapped the label of "authoritarian regime" on China and falsely alleged that the Chinese government sponsors cyber attacks by hackers without any factual basis. China firmly rejects such irresponsible wanton smears.

The Chinese side has repeatedly stressed that the challenge in cyber security is shared by all. Countries should work together to uphold cyberspace peace and security through dialogue and cooperation. To approach cyber security through the prism of politics and ideology is not conducive to enhancing cyber security and will only chip away mutual trust and poison the atmosphere for international cooperation in cyberspace.

As a matter of fact, the UK, in recent years, has been developing offensive cyber capabilities aggressively, which will undoubtedly heighten risks for conflict in cyberspace. This is a real threat to peace and stability in this arena. We urge the UK to reflect upon itself and contribute to maintaining, not undermining, peace, security and cooperation in cyberspace.

AFP: The US side claimed on May 12 that Beijing intends to use the Winter Olympics as a platform to "paper over their gross human rights violations". A senior official from the US State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom also said that the US is still considering some actions before the games open in February next year, adding "we can't turn a blind eye to Beijing's aberrant human rights record". Does China have any comment?

Hua Chunying: You cited an US official's remarks referring to "Beijing's aberrant human rights record". Actually, when it comes to human rights, considering what the US has done historically and currently, its officials are in no position to wantonly criticize China. I wish we could make the biggest mirror in the world and together send it to the US officials so they can take a good look at themselves.

As to the Winter Olympics, we firmly oppose politicization of sports, which will hurt all athletes' right to fair competition in the end. US politicians have no right to hijack US athletes' right to fair competition in the games. Their attempt to interfere in China's domestic affairs by abusing the Olympics is doomed to fail and will be disdained and rejected by the international community.

Please tell the US politicians: on human rights issues, they are in no position, either historically or currently, to make wanton groundless criticism against China. These politicians and lawmakers are elected by the people, but what have they done? The Floyds cannot breathe. So many minorities are suffering persecution. So many lives have been claimed by COVID-19. And how many innocent lives have been lost to shootings since last year? They should really do some soul-searching. All those politicians elected by the people and supported by taxpayers' money, what have they done? What capital do such governments and politicians have to point fingers at China's human rights conditions? Have they been to China? Have they seen how safe it is here? Have they seen how happy the Chinese people are? Have they ever been to Xinjiang? If minorities in the US come to China and visit Xinjiang, they will surely envy being a Chinese citizen today.

Shenzhen TV: It is reported that President Biden extended an executive order issued by former President Trump that bars US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms it says pose a national security risk, such as Huawei. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: China has stated its solemn position on such issues for many times. The US makes incessant denigration and smearing against Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications companies without providing any solid proof that they constitute security threat to the US and other countries. National security is used as a clumsy excuse by the US to practice "state hegemony" targeting Chinese hi-tech companies. It is a dirty trick of a thief crying "stop the thief". As is known to all, there are revelations every once in a while on the tapping scandals of the US targeting even its allies, such as "PRISM" and "Irritant Horn". That makes the US the true empire of hacking and theft of secrets. It is neither reliable nor trustworthy.

The US government abuses the concept of national security and state power to go all out to suppress Chinese companies. This is in effect denying the principles of market economy and fair competition the US always prides itself on. It undermines the legitimate rights and interests of not only Chinese companies, but also US ones. It severely disrupts normal bilateral and even global scientific and trade exchanges and hurts global industrial and supply chains.

We urge the US to correct the mistakes, stop groundless smearing and suppression on Chinese companies, and treat them in a fair, just and non-discriminatory manner. The Chinese government will continue to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

SCMP: Japan, the United States and France are conducting a joint military exercise in Kyushu, Japan. Australia will also join the above-mentioned three countries for a joint drill in the East China Sea, in an attempt to impose pressure on China, as reports say. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: Those four countries are conducting joint military exercises, and making it clear that the aim is to pressure China. Do they really think this could intimidate China?

But still, China opposes the practice of certain countries who always make an issue out of China. I'd like to cite the article that I referred to a few days ago, by Chas W Freeman Jr, former US assistant secretary of defense once again. He stated that "there are US aircraft and ships aggressively patrolling China's borders, but no Chinese aircraft and ships off America's coast. US bases ring China. There are no Chinese bases near America". Who exactly is taking increasingly aggressive actions in the region?

Among the four are countries that have a history of invasion. They, instead of showing remorse and contributing to the peace and development of the region and the world, point the finger at China and rack their brains to find excuses to enhance their military operations. What is their real intention?

Frankly speaking, be it a joint military exercise, or a drill, those countries will not exert any influence on China. What they do will only cost them more fuel. It is hoped that they will dedicate the time, energy and resources to ensuring the rights and interests of their people and to making greater contribution to the pandemic response efforts home and abroad.

Reuters: The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has advanced legislation that would provide around $100 billion for US research and development of the explicit aim of better competing with China. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: China has repeatedly stated its position on the US' increase of input to compete with China. How to develop and strengthen competitiveness are the internal affairs of the US. China is pleased to see greater development and progress being made by the US side in its economy and people's livelihood.

China never has the intention to compete with the US. As we said on multiple occasions, our goal is to improve and surpass ourselves for a better China, so that our people will enjoy a better life. Meanwhile, we will make our due contribution to the world peace and progress through sustained development of our own. It is hoped that the US side will adopt a right mindset, look at China's development rationally, respect the legitimate right to development of all Chinese people, and put more effort to its domestic progress.

Xinhua News Agency: A recent ASPI report says it "provides compelling evidence that Chinese government policies in Xinjiang may constitute an act of genocide". The report claims that "While the Chinese government argues it has adopted a uniform family-planning policy in Xinjiang, the county-level natality data suggests these policies are disproportionately affecting areas with a large indigenous population, meaning their application is discriminatory and applied with the intent of reducing the birth-rate of Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minorities". Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: Reuters also sent us a question on this ASPI report. I wonder how the ASPI arrived at its conclusion that birthrate in Xinjiang fell by 48.74% from 2017 to 2019?! What I know for certain is that during the past 60-plus years, Xinjiang's average life expectancy rose from 30 years to 72. Over the past 40-plus years, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang more than doubled from 5.55 million to over 12 million. Between 2010 and 2018, Uyghur population in Xinjiang increased by 25%, notably higher than the 2% for the ethnic Han group. The birthrate of the ethnic Uyghur group is above the regional average and much higher than that of the Han group. According to authoritative information released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday, compared to 2010, the population of ethnic minorities grew by 10.26% and the Han population was up by 4.93%.

China has been enacting a family planning policy since 1982. It was rolled out in an orderly fashion starting with inland regions, urban areas and the ethnic Han group, then moving to border regions, rural areas and ethnic minorities. This policy reached ethnic minorities in Xinjiang 17 years later than its implementation among the Han population, and it is still relatively lenient compared with inland regions. Xinjiang never formulated or implemented family planning policies targeting any single ethnic minority. The so-called "birth rate goals and quotas" are simply non-existent. CNN once sent us a question, which mentioned that a couple from Xinjiang left for Italy in 2016, bringing along three children and leaving behind four. This is a slap in the face for those who accuse China of imposing "forced sterilization" and "genocide" in Xinjiang.

An article in Chinese media with the title of "Things to Know about All the Lies on Xinjiang: How Have They Come About?" laid bare with penetrating details how anti-China forces like the ASPI and Adrian Zenz fabricated anti-China narratives by concocting data, distorting facts and deliberately blurring the line between subjective presumption and actual evidence and between propaganda and academic research. You can find more details online. I'll just cite one example here. Adrian Zenz used a chart in his "work" which shows that "new IUD placements per capita" in Xinjiang range from 800 to 1400, which means that every female in Xinjiang would need to receive 4 to 8 placement operations per day. How absurd! We hope people will have a discerning eye and see the truth behind all these rumor manufactures and spreaders.

Bloomberg: Can I just go back to the earlier discussion regarding the religious report? There was also the measure taken by the US government to impose sanctions against the Chinese official Yu Hui over human rights violations. I wonder if you have a specific comment about the sanctions on this individual?  

Hua Chunying: I just stated China's response to the so-called religious freedom report released by the US. The US openly endorsed terrorist organizations and cults. We cannot allow this. We hope the US will immediately correct its mistakes.

I would like to say this once again: the US imposed unilateral sanctions on Chinese institutions and individuals for so-called human rights violations. In diplomacy, reciprocity is an important concept. If we follow the US logic, you may count how many in the US that should be subjected to punishment and sanctions.

AFP: According to the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented and early responses to the outbreak detected in Wuhan in December 2019 lacked a sense of urgency. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: We took note of the report by the panel and we are looking at it.

Since you mentioned the responses in the early stages of the outbreak, I want to point out that after the epidemic happened, China reported the situation and published key information such as the genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus at the first opportunity available. We took swift actions and effectively put the virus under control in the shortest time possible. China is also the first country to pledge to make vaccines a global public good, contributing our share to the global fight.

China released a white paper titled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action", which carries a clear and detailed timeline to record China's arduous and nationwide effort to fight the virus. I suggest that you read it carefully. As to how China is doing with the response, data don't lie. Being here in China, you can feel firsthand China's timely and robust measures and visible achievement in combating COVID-19.

SCMP: We learned that a Chinese undergraduate student was denied visa by the US embassy on the ground that the student's father works for the Ministry of Public Security. A note from the visa officer said that pursuant to instructions from the US Secretary of State, they've halted issuing visa to those working for China's National Immigration Administration, Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Public Security as well as their spouses and children. I wonder if the foreign ministry is aware of this and would like to respond?

Hua Chunying: I just saw news on that. My colleague printed out for me this notice circulating online on American visa saying that children of people holding certain capacities will not be granted visa for the time being to pursue education in the US. If this is true, it will serve to show that the US is deliberately sabotaging normal people-to-people exchange with China and politicizing the issue. It is detrimental to the sound and normal development of bilateral relations. Following the US logic, shouldn't China deny visa to relevant US officials and their families? We do hope the US can realize its mistake and work to create appropriate conditions for the normal people-to-people exchange between the two sides.

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