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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2021

2021-02-22

 

The high-level segment of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council will be convened from February 22 to 24. On behalf of the Chinese government, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will address the segment on the night of February 22.

Xinhua News Agency: You just announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will deliver a speech via videoconference at the high-level segment of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council. This is the first time for a leader of the Chinese government to address the Human Rights Council. Can you tell us about China's considerations behind this and your expectations for the Council's work?

Wang Wenbin: Promotion and protection of human rights is a common cause for mankind. The Chinese government attaches high importance to the promotion and protection of human rights, sticks to the people-centered vision of human rights, and has blazed a successful path of human rights development in keeping with our national realities and achieved remarkable progress in this regard. China actively participates in the work of multilateral human rights institutions and contributes Chinese wisdom and propositions to global human rights governance. Last year China was elected as member of the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2021-2023, the fifth time that China got elected, which testifies to the international community's recognition of China's human rights cause.

Faced with the world's major changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, both unseen in a century, the international community is contemplating the protection and promotion of human rights. At the Human Rights Council, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will share China's vision, practice and experience in human rights protection. On behalf of China, he will put forward important views and propositions on global human rights governance so as to foster a community with a shared future for mankind. China is ready to work with the international community to encourage the Human Rights Council to pursue the principle of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, stick to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, attach equal importance to all categories of human rights, reject interference in other countries' internal affairs and double standards under the pretext of human rights, and jointly promote the sound development of the international human rights cause.

NHK: The authorities in Myanmar fired at protesters and caused four deaths. As a responsible major country, does China criticize the military in Myanmar?

Wang Wenbin: As a friendly neighbor, China follows the situation in Myanmar. We hope all parties in Myanmar can take into account the big picture of national development and stability, exercise restraint, properly manage differences under the constitutional and legal framework, and uphold political and social stability.

Nippon TV: A follow-up on that. Are you saying that China approves of what Myanmar's military has done?

Wang Wenbin: I have made clear China's position. We hope all parties in Myanmar can take into account the big picture of national development and stability, exercise restraint, properly manage differences under the constitutional and legal framework, and uphold political and social stability. This is our stance.

Reuters: I wanted to ask a question about something that happened at the end of last week. On Friday at the Munich Security Conference, U.S. President Joe Biden said we have to push back against the Chinese government's economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system. What's the Chinese side's comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I believe most countries agree that China's development brings an opportunity to the world economy, not a threat. As the world's second largest economy, through deepening reform and opening up, China has promoted win-win cooperation and boosted international confidence in and impetus of world economic growth. China has been contributing over 30 percent to world growth for many years in a row. Our contribution is universally recognized by the international community.

In the meantime, I'd like to point out that China, the United States and Europe, as important forces to keep world peace, stability and prosperity, should join hands in practicing and upholding multilateralism. Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through consultation, not practicing group politics or forming cliques against specific countries based on ideology. China is ready to continue working with all sides to pursue openness and inclusiveness, stick to consultation and cooperation, promote a new type of international relations, and foster a community with a shared future for mankind.

Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi and Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi had consultations in Tehran on February 21. On the same day, the two sides issued a joint statement on reaching a temporary bilateral technical understanding for IAEA's verification and monitoring activities. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: The IAEA and Iran reached a technical plan on the verification and monitoring activities that is feasible and acceptable to both sides. China welcomes and commends this and hopes that the two sides continue to work toward the same direction and earnestly follow through on this consensus. We also call on relevant sides to play a constructive role in this process.

China holds that the return of the United States to the JCPOA is the only correct approach to resolve the impasse on the Iranian nuclear issue. All parties should act with greater urgency, work together to implement consensus reached at the foreign ministers' meeting last December, and bring the JCPOA back on track at an early date. Meanwhile, we urge relevant parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, avoid taking actions that will escalate the situation, and leave room for diplomatic efforts.

Tass: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said on Friday that leaders of G7 countries during their summit agreed to coordinate multilateral approach in dealing with China's treatment of its Uyghur population and other mostly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. I wonder if China has any comments on this?

Wang Wenbin: Earlier I stated China's position on human rights. Here I'd like to add a few words on it.

China always protects and promotes human rights. As the largest developing country, China pursues a people-centered vision, regards the rights to subsistence and development as the primary, basic human rights, and works hard to promote the comprehensive and coordinated development of economic, social, cultural rights as well as civil political rights. Since the PRC was founded more than 70 years ago, China's per capita GDP has grown from less than $30 to over $10,000, and more than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. For the first time in our nation's history, absolute poverty is eradicated. Xinjiang, Tibet and other areas where ethnic minorities live in clusters are examples of the progress in China's human rights cause. Let's take Xinjiang for instance. Over the past 60-plus years, Xinjiang's aggregate economy grew over 200 times, per capita GDP nearly 40 times, and people's life expectancy from 30 to 72 years. During the fight against COVID-19, the Chinese government has made all-out efforts to protect every citizen's right to life and health at all costs, contained the spread of the virus at the earliest time possible, did our best to raise the cure rate and lower the fatality rate, and guaranteed rapid economic and social recovery.

Meanwhile, I would like to point out that those in the best position to judge a country's human rights condition are its own people, instead of people or agencies in other countries. According to authoritative international research, the Chinese people's overall satisfaction toward the Central Government has been over 90 percent for many years. We urge the Canadian side and relevant countries to respect facts, set aside bias, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related or human rights issues.

I would also like to point out that the Canadian side's launch of the so-called "declaration against arbitrary detention" with some other countries is very hypocritical. There can be no better definition of arbitrary detention than the detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou. What is more despicable is that even though some countries unequivocally said they do not approve of or participate in the joint signing of the so-call "declaration", Canada put them on the endorsement list against their will. Such cheating and fraudulent deeds should be condemned as they run counter to diplomatic ethics, show a lack of trustworthiness, and violate the norms of international exchanges.

Reuters: Chinese state broadcaster CGTN has applied for a broadcasting license in France, according to the Financial Times, apparently to circumvent the recent ban in the UK. Does the ministry have a comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of the specifics you mentioned. News outlets are like bridges that promote people-to-people bond through mutual understanding and friendly exchanges. CGTN is an international, professional media agency with an open and inclusive culture where there are staff hailing from over 60 countries and regions. It is committed to news coverage based on the principle of objectivity, equity, truth and accuracy. Its professionalism has been well recognized globally.

Beijing Media Network: The international community is increasingly paying attention to the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia's Tigray region after the conflict. The Ethiopian government said that it is focusing on rebuilding Tigray region and providing humanitarian assistance, and called on the international community to provide support in this regard. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: As a good friend to Ethiopia, China hopes that all Ethiopian people including those in Tigray enjoy peace, stability and prosperity. We support the Ethiopian government's effort in providing help and assistance to people in Tigray and restoring local life and production. Given the shortage of basic living materials in Tigray, China will offer emergency food assistance including rice and wheat to relieve the difficulties faced by the local people. We also call on the international community to give more support and make joint contribution to restoring normal life and work in Tigray.

South China Morning Post: India holds the rotating chairmanship of BRICS this year. I would like to ask what China expects of the grouping this year. Does the border clash between China and India affect BRICS cooperation?

Wang Wenbin: BRICS, consisting of emerging markets and developing countries, is a cooperation mechanism with global influence. In recent years, with growing cohesion, stronger practical cooperation and rising influence, BRICS has become a constructive force for stability in international affairs.

China attaches high importance to the BRICS cooperation mechanism. It stays committed to consolidating BRICS strategic partnership and the positive momentum in BRICS solidarity and cooperation. We support India in hosting this year's BRICS meetings and stand ready to work together with it and other members to strengthen communication and cooperation in various fields, advance the three-pillar-driven cooperation in economic, political and cultural sectors, and expand "BRICS Plus" cooperation to realize solid, sound and sustained progress in BRICS cooperation and to contribute to the international community's efforts to defeat COVID-19, resume economic growth and improve global governance.

Shenzhen TV: On February 19 local time, speaking at a special meeting of the Munich Security Conference, French President Macron said that Europe and the United States should deliver enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa as early as possible, or the African countries will "procure the doses from the Chinese or the Russians", and the power of the West will be "only a concept, and not a reality". Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We welcome and support the statement by France and other Western countries to supply vaccines to Africa to help them defeat COVID-19.

China's assistance and provision of vaccines to African countries is a vivid demonstration of China-Africa traditional friendship, and a concrete step to implement President Xi Jinping's pledge of making vaccines a global public good. As of February 21, China has delivered vaccine aid to Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe in Africa. In the next phase, we will provide doses to 19 African countries in need, and more to come in the future. Besides, we also support relevant companies in conducting joint R&D and manufacturing with foreign partners, and in exporting vaccines to countries that are in urgent need of vaccines, have certified Chinese vaccines, and authorized their emergency use.

By participating in international cooperation on vaccines, China seeks to make vaccines a global public good. Doing the best we can, we will continue supporting and assisting African countries based on their need so that we can defeat the virus together.

Global Times: U.S. independent news website The Greyzone published an article on February 18 that says the U.S. government's accusation of China's "genocide" relied on data abuse and baseless claims, that a close review of the research reveals outright falsehoods, and that the author Adrian Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist employed by a foundation that functions as a US intelligence cut-out. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noticed The Greyzone's article citing a lot of data and facts that reveal how Adrian Zenz abused data, distorted materials, made up cases, used clumsy patchwork and contradicted his own words in his report. It exposes what kind of person Adrian Zenz really is and proves how "Chinese government committed genocide against ethnic monorities in Xinjiang" is an utter lie. This U.S. news report shows that facts speak louder than words, and that justice can always prevail.

For some time, out of hidden political agenda, Adrian Zenz and some anti-China forces outside our country have been fabricating rumors and lies on Xinjiang, trying to catch eyeballs by making fake news to smear China. However, the falsehoods in their words and deeds can never defeat facts and truth. There will be a day when Adrian Zenz and other flagrant slanderers are punished by justice. We hope the international community can see through the nature of these anti-China forces and avoid being misled by their rumors and lies. More and more visionary people worldwide are getting to know more about Xinjiang, understanding China's Xinjiang policy, and speaking up for us. We hope more foreign media can cover news on Xinjiang based on objectivity and impartiality.

We hope some countries and people can acknowledge the fact that Xinjiang enjoys stable development, heed the call of the 25 million Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups, and read more objective reports on Xinjiang instead of turning a blind eye to the facts or fooling themselves.

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I'd like to share some good news with you today. The social media presence of the MFA Spokesperson's Office is further expanded today with the official launch of its Bilibili account. We look forward to receiving your continued attention on and support for China's diplomacy on various social media platforms including WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Kuaishou, WeChat video channel and Bilibili. Thank you.

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