Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 9, 2019
At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President David W. Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will pay a state visit to China from December 11 to 18.
This will be the first visit to China since President David W. Panuelo took office. During the visit, President Xi will hold talks with President David W. Panuelo and Premier Li Keqiang will meet with him. The leaders of the two countries will exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest. Besides Beijing, President David W. Panuelo will also visit Hainan and Guangdong.
This year marks the 30 anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the FSM. The past three decades witnessed substantial progress in our bilateral relations and fruitful outcomes in exchange and cooperation in various fields. In November 2018, the leaders of the two countries agreed to elevate China-FSM relations to comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, opening a new chapter for bilateral relations. Taking President David W. Panuelo's visit as an opportunity, China stands ready to work with the FSM to enhance political mutual trust, step up practical cooperation and deepen people-to-people exchange to scale new heights in China-FSM comprehensive strategic partnership and deliver more benefits to our two peoples.
Q: Recently, the UN, among other agencies and organizations, released reports and made remarks, pointing to human rights abuse in the US and some EU countries, including massive illegal detainment of immigrant children and frequent infringements on children's rights. What's your comment?
A: China pays close attention to the relevant UN reports and remarks. We are shocked and deeply concerned about the human rights abuse in the US and EU countries. Recently, the human rights situation in the US and some EU countries has worsened with widening wealth disparity and aggravated discrimination and xenophobia. Tens of thousands of immigrant children are held in the US and the family seperation policy has caused many tragedies. Just as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out, the detention of immigrant children in the United States may constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment banned by international law.
Protecting human rights is tangible responsible action rather than lip service or an excuse for interference. Tomorrow marks the Human Rights Day. We hope the US will take this opportunity to implement its pledges to human rights, safeguard the basic rights of all groups especially the underprivileged, and make concrete contributions to the cause of human rights both at home and beyond.
Q: A question on New Zealand. Tourists are believed to be missing, injured or even dead after a volcano erupted on Monday on an island. Can you confirm Chinese nationals are among the tourists affected by the situation?
A: We noted reports on the volcano eruption on White Island. We also noticed that New Zealand just held a news briefing on that. Police confirmed that one was dead with many others injured and missing. No casualties of Chinese nationals have been reported so far.
The Chinese diplomatic mission in New Zealand remains in close contact with New Zealand and closely monitors the situation.
Q: On December 5 and 7, CGTN streamed two English documentaries, namely "Fighting terrorism in Xinjiang" and "The black hand– the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and terrorism in Xinjiang", drawing attention from at home and abroad. However, western mainstream media, who werevery vocal about Xinjiang-related issues, all turn a blind eye and remain silent this time. What's your comment?
A: That's a good question. I want to do a survey on the spot. How many of you, my foreign friends from the press, have watched these two documentaries? Please raise your hand. Any one? No. None of you, actually. I'm disappointed. This well explains why the western mainstream media go silent and skip it.
I noticed Reuters, France Radio International and The Daily Telegraph in fact made brief report. This morning, New York Times, AP, ZDF, AFP, NHK and NIKKEI attended the press briefing on Xinjiang's situation held by the Information Office of the State Council, but none of you covered that, did you? Can you tell me frankly why it wasn't reported? Haven't you always upheld the principle of objective, comprehensive and fair reporting? You are very interested in Xinjiang-related issues. When those ill-intentioned spread lies about Xinjiang, you flock to hear them. But when the facts and truth are readily available at hand, you sidestep it and look the other way. Why is that? What are you worried about? What are you afraid of? Don't you feel like doing some soul-searching about the underlying problems?
You didn't watch those documentaries. I did, and got saddened by them. "Fighting terrorism in Xinjiang" features original video footage of terrorist attacks including Urumqi riots on July 5, 2009, the terrorist attack in Beijing on October 28 and another attack in Kunming on March 1, 2014, capturing China's efforts and sacrifices in dealing with the threat of the "three evil forces" with numerous objective facts. Another documentary "The black hand– the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and terrorism in Xinjiang", with harsh, detailed facts, reveals the evil deeds of the ETIM, including spreading extremist ideology, fueling ethnic hatred, victimize women and children, launching terrorist attacks, etc. They present indisputable facts that the ETIM is part of the international terrorist system, which threatens not only security and stability of China's Xinjiang, but also the common security of regional countries.
It is particularly hair-raising and heartbreaking when you watch the part which shows a video filmed by ETIM members. In that video, a terrorist forced his six-year-old son to learn shooting. The child said "no" again and again but was eventually forced to pick up the gun. When he pulled the trigger, we heard both the gun shot and crying. There's another video filmed by the ETIM showing children using remote controls to detonate models of vehicles with "China Police" written on them. Those iron-clad facts tell us the simple truth that the ETIM wouldn't even spare women and children in violent and terrorist activities.
When faced with those facts, I'm asking the mainstream Western media and those in the US and some European countries accusing China's Xinjiang policy, can you really stay apathetic? Don't you feel condemned by your conscience?
I'd like to stress that the truth and facts about Xinjiang are right there, no matter you want to report it or not, and no matter you have reported or not. Lies cannot hide the truth, just like the clouds cannot hide the sun. As you work in the press, I believe it is your social responsibility to present the basic facts and truth in a fair and just manner instead of making preconceptions, remaining deaf and blind to facts and misleading your readers.
I noted earlier that both Chinese media and foreign social network users expressed strong responses to this phenomenon. I believe you should have some responsibilities as reporters and journalists. I hope you can watch the documentaries, think about them and report them objectively. You are also welcome to talk to us about your takeaway. I look forward to your truly comprehensive, impartial and unbiased reports.
Q: It is reported that as the US exercises veto power to block the appointment of judges to replace those whose terms are up, the DSM appellate body of the WTO won't be able to play its due role. I wonder if you have a comment on that?
A: The Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM), often referred to as the "crown jewel", is one of the three pillars of the WTO that plays a key role in the organization. As the US has been blocking the DSM appointment process, after tomorrow there will be only one judge in the mechanism, leaving it in a condition where it cannot normally function. This seriously undermines the authority and efficacy of a multilateral trading system. Such behavior is condemned by most WTO members. In the recent G20 foreign ministers' meeting and Sherpa meeting, all sides expressed deep concerns and called for immediate actions to save the multilateral trading system from a crisis.
China, as a staunch defender of the multilateral trading system, has been working to resolve the stalemate in the Appellate Body appointment. China and other 115 WTO members submitted a proposal of relaunching the appointment. China also submitted a proposal of the Appellate Body reform with other 40 members including the EU. We are trying to consolidate consensus and working for a solution.
The Appellate Body – the "crown jewel", – is now in a crisis, but our efforts to safeguard the multilateral trading system will not stop. China will continue to work with other like-minded members – which are the majority of the WTO members – to address the challenges. In the meantime, we are working on a solution that can keep the DSM operating, so that the authority and efficacy of the WTO can be upheld.
Q: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today's revisionist powers China and Russia are seeking "veto power" over the economic and security decisions of smaller nations. China tripled its annual military spending since 2002 with estimates close to 250 billion dollars last year. Beijing continues to violate the sovereignty of Indo Pacific Nations. He still plans to shift the American military's focus to competing with China and Russia, even as security threats pile up in the Middle East. What's your comment?
A: According to public information, the US military budget for 2019 tops $716 billion, more than double that of 2002, accounting for over 40% of the world's total military expenditure and equivalent to the total of the nine countries next to the US. The US defense budget accounts for 3.5% of its GDP in 2019, while China's annual defense expenditure accounted for less than 2% of its GDP in the past 30 years, which is lower than not only the world's major countries, but also the world average of 2.6%. China's per capita military spending is even lower, only accounting for 1/22 of America's, one ninth of Britain's and one fifth of Japan's. With hundreds of military bases around the world, the United States has been war-free for only 16 of its 240-plus years of existence. The US has imposed "regime change", instigated "color revolutions" and exerted maximum pressure, thus causing regional instability and untold suffering for the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela. The list goes on.
I want to stress that China adheres to the path of peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. The development of China's national defense strength is out of the need to safeguard China's national unity, territorial integrity and development interests, as well as international and regional peace and security. We pursue an independent foreign policy of peace. We believe that all countries, big or small, are equal. We never interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, and oppose the practice of the big and strong bullying the small and weak and the imposition of one's own will on others. China has never threatened, intimidated or extorted others. Such practices are not to our liking, nor are we good at them. The biggest threat to world peace and stability is precisely unilateralism and bullying, which undermine the current international order and challenge the norms governing international relations. We urge the US to abandon the outdated cold-war, zero-sum mentality and refrain from seeking and making enemies everywhere.
Q: DPRK's permanent representative to the UN said recently that denuclearization has "already gone out of the negotiation table". President Trump warned that Kim Jong Un has far too much to lose if he acts in a hostile way. How do you comment on the worsening tension between the US and the DPRK? During the meeting between foreign ministers of China and the ROK, China said the Security Council should start discussions about easing sanctions on the DPRK. How did parties respond to that?
A: We also noticed the renewed tension between the DPRK and the US. The current situation of dialogue and detente on the Korean Peninsula has not come by easily and is the result of the concerted efforts of all parties. The DPRK and the US are the major two parties to the Peninsula issue. It calls for the joint efforts of the DPRK and the US to achieve the denuclearization and enduring peace of the Korean Peninsula. Under the current circumstances, we hope the DPRK and the US will cherish the hard-won opportunity for political settlement and the existing constructive results, remain committed to dialogue and consultation, maintain patience and work together to break the deadlock in dialogue at an early date for new progress in the political settlement process.
A few days ago, State Councilor Wang Yi visited the ROK and had discussions with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on the Korean Peninsula issue. You may have seen the readout. The DPRK's legitimate concerns on security and development deserves attention and should be addressed.
It is our consistent position that the Security Council should, in light of the evolvement of the situation on the Peninsula, begin discussing invoking relevant resolution provisions to modify sanctions according to the principle of synchronized and reciprocal steps. To break this impasse, the DPRK and the US must work together to meet each other halfway.
Q: A follow-up question on Xinjiang. Today there was a press conference with the governor of Xinjiang. He was asked how many people are in the so-called training centers. He didn't disclose the figures. He said the figures are dynamic, and they are changing everyday. Can the Chinese government publish the figures?
A: This morning the State Council Information Office held a press release on stability and development in Xinjiang. Chairman Shohrat Zakir of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Secretary Xu Hairong of Urumqi's municipal committee of the CPC talked about and answered questions on Xinjiang's stability and development.
As you just said, the figures are dynamic, with people coming and leaving. So no precise number can be provided. However, in the past few days, people from many countries who have visited Xinjiang are bravely telling the true story to the press. They have voiced harsh criticism on the US slanders and hegemonic acts.
As we can all see, the vocational education and training centers have been very effective. Xinjiang has not seen a single terror attack in the past three years. People there are enjoying a higher sense of happiness, satisfaction and security than ever before.
One important point when viewing the Xinjiang-related issues is the focus. I believe the focus should be placed on the truth and facts. Should you discredit and attack China based on lies fabricated by a handful of individuals seeking political asylum overseas? Or should you trust the information released by Chinese authorities and seen with your eyes? That is the core and fundamental issue as it reflects something deeper in the mind of certain media and journalists.
When presented with lies versus truth, every journalist is facing a test of conscience. Are you being truly objective and just or are you being selective and partial? What does your decision reveal? I very much look forward to your coverage.
Q: Do you have any details about the border talks to be held between India and China? There are reports in India saying they are likely anytime. Do you have any schedule details on that?
A: I understand you are referring to the Meeting of the Special Representatives of China and India on the Boundary Question. The two sides have maintained close communication on relevant issues. We will stay in close touch with India regarding the Meeting of the Special Representatives of China and India on the Boundary Question. We will keep you updated if there is anything new.