|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 8, 2020|
On December 8, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement made groundless accusations against China's promulgation and implementation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with law and announced that the U.S. side will impose so-called sanctions on Vice Chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The above-mentioned move by the U.S. side severely violates basic norms governing international relations, interferes in China's internal affairs and harms China-U.S. relations. The Chinese government and people express strong indignation to and strongly condemn the outrageous, unscrupulous, crazy and vile act of the U.S. side.
Hong Kong is part of China, and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and the United States is in no position to interfere. The NPC Standing Committee's legislation on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong in accordance with the Constitution to improve governance on Hong Kong and crack down on criminals is totally within China's sovereignty. For some time, the U.S. side has been meddling in Hong Kong affairs in every way under the pretext of upholding democracy, human rights and autonomy in Hong Kong and supporting violent activities that split the nation and disrupt social order. Now, the U.S. side is blatantly imposing the so-called sanctions on Vice Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee. This fully exposed the vicious intent of the United States to interfere in China's internal affairs, mess up Hong Kong and undermine China's stability and development. The retrogressive behavior of the United States will only trigger greater indignation among the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots. We have this solemn message for the United States: The Chinese government is firmly determined to oppose U.S. interference in Hong Kong affairs, to uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and to implement "one country, two systems".
China strongly urges the U.S. side to immediately withdraw this erroneous decision, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop going down the dangerous and wrong path. In response to the egregious act by the U.S. side, China will take firm and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
CCTV: On December 4, Robert Destro, US Assistant Secretary of Sate and so-called Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, called on US allies to pass their own versions of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. He also accused China of ramping up its efforts to eliminate the languages, cultures and religions of Tibetans, Uyghurs and Kazakhs. He said that the United States is committed to helping Tibetans safeguard their way of life. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: Tibet affairs are purely internal affairs of China and no external forces have the right to interfere. The U.S. setting up the so-called "Special Coordinator for Tibet Issues" is just a move of political manipulation, meant to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine Tibet's development and stability. China has always been firmly opposed to this and has never recognized it.
With regard to the so-called the US Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, China has repeatedly stated its position. This Act seriously violates the basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs. China pursues the policy of opening up to the outside world. Tibet is an open region and no provisions have ever been made on restricting the entry of foreigners into Tibet. China welcomes friends from afar to visit and do business in the Tibet Autonomous Region. This policy will not change. But the prerequisite is that necessary procedures are duly observed in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations. Recently, diplomatic envoys from more than 20 countries have visited Tibet. They all spoke highly of the economic and social progress the Tibet Autonomous Region has made over the years.
With regard to the so-called elimination of minority languages, cultures and religions, I would like to stress that the Chinese Government guarantees the freedom of ethnic minorities in using and developing their own languages and characters in accordance with the law, and guarantees the freedom of religious belief of the people of all ethnic groups in accordance with the law. At present, China has nearly 200 million religious believer of all ethnic groups, more than 380,000 religious clerks and more than 140,000 legally registered places for religious activities. The classics of various religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and so on are published in various languages.
Recently a young man of the Tibetan ethnic group from Litang county, China's Sichuan province, took the internet by storm. He has been appointed to promote tourism in the county. In the promotional short clips which he shot for his hometown of Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, he also teaches some simple Tibetan language to his followers. We also have many Uyghur stars in many fields. They are very popular artists, performers, TV hosts and so on, well liked by young people. Facts are that the life of the ethnic minorities is getting better and better. Their hometown is getting more developed and their culture is flourishing.
We urge the US side to stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs, destroy Tibet's development and stability, and offer no stage to the "Tibetan independence" forces to engage in anti-China separatist activities. China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests. We also believe that the international community will not be deceived by the lies of some anti-China politicians.
You mentioned that the United States said that the US is committed to helping Tibetans safeguard their way of life. Well. First things first. They'd better do more to protect the American people's lives in this pandemic situation.
Bloomberg: First of all, I'd like you to clarify, if possible, on what sort of countermeasures will China be taking in response to the US sanctions on the Vice Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee. And secondly, I wanted to talk a little bit about the nature of the people that have been targeted by the U.S. side. The people are basically vice chairpersons of the NPC, which would suggest that the Trump administration is gradually targeting more and more senior Chinese officials with sanctions. I'd like to ask if you have any comment on this trend and how might that be reflected in the countermeasures that China will take?
Hua Chunying: I have just made clear China's position on the egregious acts of the U.S. side. We strongly urge the US side to immediately rescind its wrong decision and stop interfering in our internal affairs. In response, China will take resolute and forceful countermeasures. As for what these countermeasures will be, just know that whatever should come will come.
As you mentioned just now, this latest sanction shows a trend. Everyone can see the essence of it very clearly.
Over a period of time, anti-China extremists in the United States, headed by Pompeo, have totally lost their minds in their unscrupulous political crackdown on China. They cling to the old Cold War thinking and ideological prejudice, look at China's development and China-US relations from the perspective of zero-sum game, regard China as an opponent or even an enemy, and attack the system and path chosen by the Chinese people. As for their true motive, in fact, many international media have already seen it through, and they do make a point in commenting that this is "last-day madness". They seek to consolidate their legacy of containing China and leave little wriggle room for the new administration to adjust it in the future. This wrong practice seriously tramples on the basic norms of international relations, harms the interests of the Chinese side, and at the end of the day damages the interests of the American people.
Some people in the United States have been repeating their attacks on the Communist Party of China day after day. For example, Pompeo said the other day that the Communist Party of China is committed to spreading Marxism-Leninist ideas and exerting influence worldwide. He said that the United States is not confronting China. But it is as plain as day that what he is really doing is hijacking American public opinion and China-US relations, pushing the national image and reputation of the United States into a dangerous precipice.
The Communist Party of China always stands by and works for the people and always represents and serves the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. China adheres to the path of peaceful development, and the fundamental goal is to enable the Chinese people to lead a better life. This is absolutely different from the pursuit of global hegemony by individual American politicians. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of the United States, nor has it exported its development model or engaged in ideological confrontation. The US side should adopt a correct strategic understanding of China, stop attacking the Communist Party of China, abide by the norms of international relations, and refrain from meddling in China's internal affairs. It should not get in the way of the Chinese people in their pursuit of a better life.
Pompeo said that the United States is not confronting China. In some way we can argue that he is right in saying that, because it is certain people in the US that have been confronting mankind's common values with their hypocritical covers of human rights and democracy, and challenging multilateralism and international justice with unilateral bullying and hegemony.
Xinhua News Agency: According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators Report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on December 7, China's IP office received 1.4 million patent applications in 2019, more than twice the amount received by authorities in the second-busiest country, the United States. Applications received in 2019 by offices located in Asia saw a considerable increase compared with 2009, primarily driven by long-term growth in China. Do you have a comment on this?
Hua Chunying: The WIPO report attests to the significant progress China has has achieved in protecting intellectual property rights (IPRs). Thanks to the government's commitment in recent years to prioritizing the central role of scientific innovation in national development, implementing the innovation-driven development strategy and IPR strategy, and strengthening innovation and IPR protection, there has been a marked increase in innovative capability and IPR protection awareness all across the Chinese society.
I would like to share some more data with you. According to the WIPO report and relevant data, in 2019, about 59,000 Chinese applications were filed via WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System, making China the biggest source of international patent application filings. China filed 6,339 applications for international registration of trademarks through the Madrid System, ranking the third in the world. China retains its 14th place in the Global Innovation Index (GII), remaining the only middle-income economy among the 30 top-ranking countries. According to the China Internet Development Report 2020, China filed up to 110,000 applications of AI patents in 2019, surpassing the United States for the first time and becoming second to none.
Currently China is advancing high-quality economic development, which would not be possible without the strong support of IPR. China is accelerating efforts to formulate the 14th five-year plan for IPR. The terms of "science and technology" and "innovation" have been mentioned many times in the communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC, and the recommendations of the plenum made clear stipulations on strengthening IP protection. Just as President Xi Jinping pointed out, no country can become an independent innovation center or enjoy fruits of innovation alone; innovation should benefit the world rather than being encaved. As a major force in global scientific innovation and a major creator of intellectual property, China stands ready to work with other countries to strengthen scientific innovation and cooperation, actively participate in global IPR governance, and contribute more to the balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of global IPRs.
Shenzhen TV: According to data released by the General Administration of Customs showed that in the first 11 months, China's foreign trade of goods totaled 29.04 trillion yuan, up 1.8 percent year on year, maintaining positive growth for the third consecutive month since total imports and exports first recorded positive growth in September. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I also noted relevant reports. This is inspiring news. In the first 11 months this year, China's trade in goods maintained positive growth, and the trade with ASEAN, the EU, the US, Japan and the ROK also registered year-on-year growth. Facts have proven that China's success in bringing the epidemic under control at the earliest time possible and resumption of work and production is increasingly benefiting the world economy, and we have confidence in playing a positive role in its reopening and recovery going forward.
In a globalized world, the economic and social development of countries are closely connected. With a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group exceeding 400 million, China is the world's biggest market shared by all. We do not aim to outshine others or pursue "China first", and are striving to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, promoting interconnectivity between countries and safeguarding safe and unimpeded industrial and supply chain.The Chinese economy's steady recovery and long-term growth will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also bring more opportunities and inject more positive energy into global economic recovery and achieving common development.
Reuters: The United States this week announced a new arms sale package to Taiwan worth US$280 million, which would be the 6th sale this year. Do you have any comment on that?
Hua Chunying: China's position on the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is consistent and clear. I'd like to stress again that the U.S. arms sales to the Taiwan region severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué, constitute blatant interference in China's internal affairs, seriously undermine China's sovereignty and security interests, send out wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and gravely undercut China-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes such acts.
China urges the United States to stay committed to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, stop arms sales to and military contacts with the Taiwan region, and immediately cancel its arms sale plans to avoid further damaging China-U.S. relations and cross-Strait peace and stability. China will take legitimate and necessary reactions to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.
Bloomberg: The Taiwan side thanked the US for emphasizing the importance of helping the island strengthen its self-defense capabilities. This is according to a statement from the "presidential office spokesman". Taiwan will continue to deepen its ties with the US and other like-minded nations with solid defense capabilities, the statement said. What's the foreign ministry's comment on this statement from Taiwan?
Hua Chunying: First of all, I want to say that Taiwan is not a country. Second, the Taiwan authorities now thank the U.S. side for selling it arms and strengthening military ties. I hope they will first of all figure it out whether the U.S. side is helping them or hurting them?
I would like to reiterate that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The Taiwan question bears on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as China's core interests. China firmly opposes US arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan, and this position is clear and consistent. No one should underestimate China's firm determination and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Taiwan authorities also need to be absolutely clear on the fact that seeking "Taiwan independence" is heading towards a dead end. They want to resist the unstoppable trend of reunification by inviting in external parties and by resorting to force, but they do not stand even the slightest chance of success in that.
The Paper: The U.S. House of Representatives reportedly passed the "Hong Kong People's Freedom and Choice Act", which will ensure that the U.S. government provide "refuge" to Hong Kongers. Do you have a comment?
Hua Chunying: I've noted that these past few days some U.S. politicians have been very busy, concerning themselves a great deal with the freedom of the Chinese people in Hong Kong. This strikes me as rather surreal.
The entire world is actually feeling so sorry for the United States. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has exceeded 15 million, with more than 280,000 fatalities. According to reports, the first five days of December alone have seen more than one million newly confirmed cases, with more than 2,000 or even nearly 3,000 people dying every day. Reports say that 12% American households sometimes or often didn't have enough to eat last month, and they lined up in long queues to receive free food from food bank. Frankly, reading these reports, one cannot imagine that such things are happening in the United States, the world's strongest country that always claims to be the beacon of freedom and democracy. Shouldn't the right to life and health be the most fundamental of all human rights? What can matter more than the freedom to rely on science to prevent and control the epidemic?
The CPC and the Chinese government enjoy an approval rate higher than 90 percent. I have also seen authoritative polls showing that 87 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the status-quo of their country and more than 70 percent think it is heading in the wrong direction. True democracy and freedom should serve the interests of the vast majority of the people and should be able to gain their satisfaction. How can you call it true democracy and freedom if even the vast majority of your own people are not convinced that you are working to improve their welfare and lives? How can you speak of democracy and human rights so brazenly? I believe everyone can see clearly that the Americans' professed concern for the freedom of the people of Hong Kong is nothing but a cover hiding their true aim of using Hong Kong to contain China's development in the name of democracy and freedom. We hope these Americans will not turn a blind eye to those who are getting infected and even dying every day in front of their eyes while pretending to care about the people of Hong Kong who are leading perfectly happy lives. If only they could sober up!
Global Times: German prosecutors dropped their investigation into Gerhard Sabathil last month after failing to adequately substantiate allegations that he worked for the Chinese intelligence services. In January this year, German prosecutors launched investigations into this former EU diplomat, accusing him of operating as an "informant and recruiter" for Chinese foreign intelligence. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the intelligence on Sabathil "being a Chinese spy" was fed by the US intelligence agencies to the German security departments. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: This former EU diplomat is not the first and very likely will not be the last to have such an experience. Behind these wrongfully accused victims lies a very serious issue. We hope that the relevant country will clearly discern this issue and tell right from wrong, instead of being led by the nose by certain forces. They should hold dear facts, fairness and justice.
Beijing Youth Daily: As Venezuela held National Assembly elections on December 6, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that the elections were "rigged" and the result doesn't "represent the legitimate voice of the Venezuelan people". What's your comment?
Hua Chunying: Is Mr. Pompeo the secretary of state of the United States or of the whole world? He really needs to know his place.
China believes that it is entirely the internal affair of the Venezuelan people to hold National Assembly elections according to their constitution and law. This should not be wantonly criticized by any third party. That is to say, the result of Venezuelan elections should be decided by the Venezuelan people, not Mr. Pompeo. China is committed to the principle of non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs. We believe countries should handle relations with others based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference. We call on all sides to respect Venezuela's democratic system and practice and play a constructive role in the early political settlement of the Venezuela issue.
China Daily: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released a report on December 7, putting the United States and China on the top 2 in arms sales, with 12 American arms companies in the global top 25. I wonder if you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I noticed the report. I'm not sure about its data source or statistical criteria. One thing we have noticed is that according to the report, the United States remains the world's top arms exporter, with 12 American companies taking up 61 percent of all sales of the top 25 arms traders, to which, as is well known, Taiwan authorities contributed significantly.
Like other countries, China enhances national defense and conducts normal arms trade cooperation with other countries. The Chinese government enforces strict management of export of military articles with a highly responsible and prudent attitude based on domestic policies, laws and regulations as well as international obligations. We are committed to the three principles for arms export: it should be conducive to the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country; it should not undermine peace, security and stability of the region concerned and the world as a whole; and it should not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient country. In particular, China does not sell weapons to non-state actors, which marks a substantive difference from the practices of the Untied States and a few others.
China joined the Arms Trade Treaty in July this year whereas the United States unsigned the same treaty in April last year. As a state party to the treaty, China stands ready to enhance cooperation with others to contribute more to regulating global arms trade.
Prasar Bharati: India and China are expected to hold the next round of talks as the 8th round of talks was held more than a month ago. Can you please provide any update on this and any particular reason which is causing delay of the next round of talks or disengagement?
Hua Chunying: China and India have been in close communication on the border issue through diplomatic and military channels to further ease tensions. The two sides will hold consultations over specific arrangements for further talks on the basis of acting on existing consensus reached through previous talks.