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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on July 29, 2019
2019/07/29

At the invitation of incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Wang Dongming, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Vice Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, will attend the inauguration ceremony of newly-elected President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani on August 1 in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania.

Q: On July 26, the US issued a memorandum on developing-country status in the WTO, asking the organization to make changes within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, or it may take unilateral actions. As China is mentioned many times in the memorandum, I wonder if you have any comment on it?

A: I'd like to make clear the following points. First, the WTO is not owned or dictated by one or a few countries. Instead, the shared will of all members should be respected. In fact, many members have responded to this issue on various occasions. The "special and differential treatment" reflects the core values and basic principles of the WTO. Most members believe that such core values and basic principles must be safeguarded no matter how the WTO is reformed. Previously the US made two proposals similar to this memorandum to the WTO, but they were both rejected. It should have a better understanding of how unpopular its proposals are.

Second, who are the developing members of the WTO? By what criteria and procedure are they categorized? This is not decided by one or a few countries, either. It should be determined through extensive consultation among members. In particular, the opinions of developing countries should be respected. The US has been talking all about fairness while fairness in trade can only be achieved by upholding the status of developing countries. The US has been exaggerating the development level of some developing members. This has been repeatedly opposed by most developing members. In a recent report, the UNCTAD proposed the idea that development is a multi-dimensional concept. The current categorization of developing countries is reasonable.

Third, as the biggest developing country that claims its status of a developing country, China does not intend to shy away from its due international responsibilities. It is in fact upholding the basic rights of developing countries, which in itself is an act that champions international fairness and justice. In WTO negotiations, China will continue to make contributions proportionate to its capability and development level. We will continue to help other developing members to achieve common development, uphold the multilateral trading system and work to steer the WTO reform in the right direction.

When you hear the words and deeds of the US on the status of developing countries in the WTO, I believe you feel just the same as I do. They further reveal how capricious, arrogant and selfish the country is. Such are not worthy behaviors of the "world's biggest power". There is a catchphrase that got popular just recently in China, "don't do things like the US does." I hope some people of the US side can deeply reflect on it.

Q: Previous reports said that 24 countries wrote a letter criticizing China's Xinjiang policy. But now as we know, ambassadors from over 50 countries co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and High Commissioner for Human Rights. They support China's position on Xinjiang-related issues, applaud the remarkable achievements China made in human rights and oppose the practice of politicizing human rights issues. I wonder if you have any comment on that?

A: Ambassadors from 50 countries to the UN Office at Geneva including Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Cuba co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and High Commissioner for Human Rights. They support China's position on Xinjiang-related issues. For the first time, they collectively pointed out that the vocational education and training centers and other counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang have effectively protected basic human rights. Viet Nam also sent a letter and issued press releases supporting China's position.

I'd like to underscore that all those 24 countries criticizing China's Xinjiang policy are Western developed countries. Their total population is no more than 600 million, and none of those are Muslim countries or developing countries. On the other hand, over 50 countries in support of China are in several continents including Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Their total population is almost 2 billion. Twenty-eight of them are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Their total population is more than twice of that in those 24 countries. In this context, it is crystal clear which side represents truth, justice and rightness on Xinjiang-related issues.

Among the over 50 ambassadors in support of China, most of them have been to Xinjiang. They saw a real Xinjiang with their own eyes. As they point out, it is common that those visited Xinjiang have totally different opinions on this region compared with what was described by Western media. They commend the enormous achievements China has made in human rights, and believe Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures including the establishment of vocational education and training centers have effectively protected basic human rights. They urge certain countries to stop wantonly criticizing China. This fully shows that the international community has a fair opinion on Xinjiang. The attempts of some Western countries to smear Xinjiang and pressure China under the pretext of human rights will not succeed.

I'd like to point out that the issues Xinjiang faces are counter-terrorism and de-radicalization instead of religion and human rights. Terrorism and extremism are world-wide challenges. Some of those 24 countries accusing China were also victims of terrorism. They suffered terrorist attacks on their own soil. I hope they do not forget the pain soon after their wounds are healed. Faced with severe threats of terrorism and extremism, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has taken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures according to law, including the establishment of vocational education and training centers. Those measures have turned the situation around. In almost three years, not a single violent and terrorist incident took place in Xinjiang. The region now enjoys social stability and unity among all ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a stronger sense of fulfillment and security. They endorse the government's policies and measures wholeheartedly. Xinjiang's combat against terrorism and radicalization is, in its essence, a combat of justice and civility against evil and brutality. We welcome people and officials from those 24 countries to visit Xinjiang, see it with their own eyes and learn from its experience in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.

China is working with all parties to ensure that multilateral human rights mechanisms stick to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Human rights issues should be dealt with in an objective, fair and non-selective way. We need to advance the international human rights cause in a sound manner through constructive dialogue and cooperation. We oppose the act of using human rights as a pretext to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. We urge the relevant countries to correct their mistakes, refrain from politicizing the relevant issue or practicing double standards, and stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs. 

Q: First question, the extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission was held yesterday in Vienna which was attended by China. What's China's view on this meeting? Another question, now that tensions in the Middle East have increased, what does China offer to reduce tension?

A: Regarding your first question, at the request of the UK, France and Germany, parties to the JCPOA held an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission on July 28 in Vienna. They discussed the implementation of the JCPOA. The Chinese delegation was led by the Director General of the MFA's Department of Arms Control. During the meeting, China called on all parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, resolve differences within the Joint Commission and work to deescalate tensions. In the meantime, all parties need to earnestly shoulder their responsibilities and ensure the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA.

During the meeting, all parties reaffirmed their commitment to upholding and implementing the deal and seeking methods to resolve Iran's implementation issue within the Joint Commission. All parties firmly oppose the US impeding other countries from implementing the deal by imposing unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. They all promised to take measures to mitigate the impact of such unilateral sanctions.

I'd like to re-emphasize that ensuring the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is both the requirement of UN Security Council resolutions and the only viable and effective approach to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Once again we urge the US to abandon its "maximum pressure campaign" and avoid setting more obstacles for other parties to implement the deal.

On your second question, China has made clear its position many times. The Iran nuclear issue has led to the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East, and the root cause is nothing more than the US unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.

China is concerned about the current tensions. We hope all relevant parties stay cool-headed, exercise restraint and avoid further escalation. All sides need to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. China will step up coordination and cooperation with regional countries. We will play a positive and constructive role for peace in the Middle East.

Q: This is a question about China's purchase of agricultural products. Chinese media reported the repurchases of several million tons of soybeans, but US Department of Agriculture data only shows a little more than one million tons of soybeans from the period of the Osaka meeting till July 18. Can you comment or offer any clarification on the discrepancy?

A: I'm not aware of China's specific purchasing amount of American agricultural products. I'd refer you to the competent authority for that.

Here is something I can tell you. The Chinese and US sides will soon hold the 12th round of China-US trade consultations to implement the important consensus reached by the two presidents in their Osaka meeting. We hope the US will honor its commitments by taking real actions, which will create favorable conditions for achieving progress in the economic and trade cooperation and consultation.

Q: Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel said he was "concerned by the reports of police brutality in response to peaceful protests in Hong Kong. What's your comment?

A: This afternoon, probably at this moment, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council is holding a press conference, where they will take questions on what has happened in Hong Kong recently.

Regarding what you mentioned about the remarks by the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Hong Kong police's "brutality in response to peaceful protests", I would like to say a few words.

First of all, I believe his allegation of Hong Kong police's "brutality in response to peaceful protests" is entirely misleading. You may have seen the storming of the Legislative Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR by the violent radicals. They also attacked the police using lethal weapons in a premeditated and organized way. How could some people in the US call such behaviors "peaceful demonstrations and protests"?

Recently, certain people in the US and Europe have covered up for violent radicals in Hong Kong and turned a blind eye to their violent illegal behaviors. But I believe you are all aware that American and European police have never shown any mercy to violent behaviors at home. They have blatant double-standards on this issue.

As you may remember, at the beginning of this year, the European Council passed a bill, stressing that freedom of protest and speech does not mean there is no limit, and that it should be exercised to the extent permitted by law and subject to restrictive measures of policing. You may have also noted some recent incidents in New York where citizens harassed and doused police officers in duty with water. We noted that the US President, officials at various levels and the police all condemned such behaviors, which in their words are unacceptable and intolerable. During the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in 2011, the New York Police Department gathered police forces from eight cities. They had riot control vehicles, riot control police, snipers and rangers. Their weapons included police batons, electric batons and stun guns. The US police also said on many occasions that if the life of any policeman was ever threatened, they would respond with force on the spot. The US lawmaker you mentioned may need to check with US police how they would have responded to such violent attacks on police in Hong Kong had they happened in the Washington D.C. or New York city. I believe you can imagine the scene.

I shall stress that peace and stability, like the air and sunshine, are hardly noticed when we have them, while none of us can live without them. The central government firmly supports the SAR government in effective administration in accordance with law. We firmly support the police in punishing illegal violent behaviors and safeguarding long-term stability, development and prosperity in Hong Kong. I believe all Hong Kong-loving people with a sense of justice should stand together to defend Hong Kong's stability and security. We cannot allow the cloud and rain of some people in the US to poison the cherishable sunshine and air in Hong Kong.

Q: According to Iran's Parliament members on July 28, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in the Parliament that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. Do you have any comment on that?

A: As far as I know, the relevant work is being orderly carried out. In yesterday's extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, all parties including Iran applauded China's leading effort in the renovation of the Arak heavy water reactor and expressed willingness to provide more support. China will stay committed to upholding and implementing the JCPOA and fulfill its due responsibilities and obligations.

As I said earlier to the journalist of the Islamic Republic News Agency, ensuring the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is both the requirement of UN Security Council resolutions and the only viable and effective approach to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. We urge the US to abandon its "maximum pressure campaign" on Iran and avoid setting more obstacles for other parties to implement the deal, including the renovation of the Arak heavy water reactor.

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