Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 27, 2008
On the afternoon of March 27, 2008, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the recent highly violent crimes in Lhasa involving beating, smashing, looting and arson and some distorted and fabricated reports of Western media.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one announcement to make.
At the invitation of the Chinese Government, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand will pay a visit to China from April 2 to 9.
Now, I'd like to take your questions.
Q: Could you comment on the monks' protest during the foreign journalists' tour in Lhasa this morning? Does that indicate the discontent of Tibetans with the Central Government?
A: I'd like to stress that people of various ethnic groups in Tibet including the monks and nuns resolutely uphold national unity and territorial integrity, oppose separatist activities and support the lawful measures taken by the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region to safeguard social stability and the interest of the people.
I just heard of the incident you mentioned and I don't have the specific information, making me in no position to make any comment.
Q: According to reports, Czech President refused the invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Could you give us more details?
A: I'd like to brief you on the procedure of how foreign political dignitaries are invited to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Firstly, the IOC and the BOCOG jointly send invitation to the Olympic Committees in countries and regions, then these Committees invite royal representatives, heads of state, government prime ministers and sports ministers of their respective countries and regions to attend the Games. As to whom will be invited, it is to be decided by these Committees. We will warmly welcome the distinguished guests invited to the opening ceremony and the BOCOG will warmly receive them according to IOC stipulations. Whether a political figure accepts the invitation or not is his response to the Olympic Committee of his own country. I have no intention to comment on that.
The Beijing Olympics is a major event for people worldwide. I believe with the joint efforts of all peoples, the Beijing Olympics will surely be a great success.
Q: It is reported that the Chinese Government will send people to escort the torch relay in Australia. Could you confirm?
A: I have checked with the competent authorities, it is not true.
Q: Douglas Spelman, director of the Taiwan section of the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs of the US State Department , said that the US hopes to improve its ties with Taiwan, assist the latter in military defense and hopes China reduce its military deployment against Taiwan. How do you comment on that?
A: The Taiwan question remains to be the most important and sensitive issue at the core of the China-US relations. We hope the US honor its commitments to adhering to the One China principle, observing the three China-US Joint Communiques, opposing "Taiwan Independence" and Taiwan's joining the UN and other international organizations exclusive to sovereign states so as to deal with the Taiwan issue in a prudent and proper manner.
As to the Chinese Government's policy towards the relations across the Straits, President Hu Jintao made it very clear in his important speech on March 4. Our position remains unchanged.
Q: How come the CNN was not invited to the Lhasa trip? When will be the next trip to Lhasa? During the phone conversation between President Hu Jintao and President Bush, the latter hoped to see dialogue between the Chinese Government and Dalai. How do you respond to that? We heard that around 660 people have surrendered to the police for their involvement in the Lhasa incident. Could you confirm?
A: We have taken note of CNN's special interest and treatment of the Lhasa incident and I can fully understand your feelings. Given the limited quotas, we could not satisfy everyone. I hope you could understand that. I am not sure about the exact date of the next trip, but I believe you will have the opportunity in the future.
Yesterday evening, President Hu Jintao expounded on the Chinese Government's principled position on the Dalai issue during his conversation with President Bush. I'd like to reiterate here. The door for dialogue is always open. However, we request him to truly and thoroughly abandon his separatist propositions, stop separatist activities, recognize Tibet and Taiwan as inseparable parts of the Chinese territory, in particular, stop his activities of inciting and plotting criminal acts of violence in Tibet and other areas and disrupting the Beijing Olympics.
As to how many people have surrendered, I suggest you referring to the competent authorities. We urge those offenders who are involved in beating, smashing, looting and arson but remain at large to hand themselves in to the police as soon as possible.
Q: Today, while the HongKong media are visiting the Jokhang Temple, some monks were protesting, claiming that the government arranged some people to be there in the Temple and confined the monks inside. Do you have any comment?
A: We organized the trip to Tibet to help the outside world better understand the actual situation there. Those remarks you mentioned are out of ulterior motives. Had we not organized the trip, someone would point a finger at us. Now when we manage to do so, they still won't put their fingers down. The remarks are completely groundless and irresponsible. I don't know much about the specific remarks from some monks, but our trip is to let you see a real and objective picture there.
Q: Some monks said that they were confined in the temple since March 10. Could you tell me why?
A: I am not a spokesperson of religious affairs and I don't have the information of the specific case. But I can tell you that the criminal act of violence in Lhasa has been eased and the social order there has been restored.
Q: I have been keeping asking this, could you tell us the casualties in the violence in Lhasa and other Tibetan-inhabited areas such as Qinghai and Sichuan, including the death toll of innocent people, the police and the criminals?
A: I do not have all the numbers you want. At present, all I have is some statistics related to the Lhasa incident. There are 18 innocent people slashed or burned to death, 382 injured, 58 of which seriously wounded. There are 242 public security and armed police injured or killed, 218 of which slightly injured, 23 seriously injured and one killed.
Follow-up: How do you explain the 140 death toll claimed by "Tibetan government in exile"?
A: I have no idea how they arrive at that number. Ask them about it. Do they have a name list, or any other hard evidence?
Q: What is China's response to the US Department of Defense mistakenly sending missile fuses to Taiwan? Did this incident come up in the phone conversation between President Hu Jintao and President Bush?
A: We have made solemn representation to the US, expressing serious concern and strong dissatisfaction. We require the US to have a thorough investigation, inform us of all the details promptly and eliminate the negative impact and consequences.
Once again, we urge the US to honor its commitment to China in the August 17 Joint Communiqué, stop selling weapons to and cut military ties with Taiwan so as not to undermine the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the healthy and stable development of the bilateral relations.
As for the phone conversation between President Hu Jintao and President Bush, we have already released relevant information.
Q: Mr. Gillani was sworn in as Pakistan's new Prime Minister on Tuesday. Do you have any comment?
A: We would like to extend our warm congratulations to Mr. Gillani. Premier Wen Jiabao has sent him a telegraph of congratulation. China and Pakistan enjoy very close and sound cooperation of good neighborliness. We stand ready to work with Pakistan, our good neighbor, friend and partner, to further promote our friendly relations of cooperation.
Q: The "Tibetan government in exile" alleged that during the peaceful demonstration of monks in Ganzi, Sichuan on 24th, the Chinese armed police shot one dead and left another severely wounded, and later arrested over 90 people. Can you confirm?
A: I already briefed you at last press conference. A handful of rioters committed criminal activities involving beating, smashing up properties, looting and arson in Ganzi on 24th. They attacked our armed policemen on patrol, leaving one dead and several injured. Relevant departments have dealt with the case according to law.
It does not surprise me that wherever crimes take place, our law enforcement personnel would be there and stop them; I do feel surprised that whenever such crimes occur, the Dalai Clique seems to be well-informed. I wonder why, and I suggest you to do some homework, and find it out. Informants are welcome to come up with clues.
Q: Some very detailed reports suggest that the CIA could be behind the Tibet incident, and that the incident could be financed by larger international networks. Do you believe these reports? And what would be China's response if the CIA is behind this?
A: Our principled position is that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times. Since when did the so-called "Tibet Independence" come up? I suggest you look up the source of "Tibet Independence" in historical archive. You will find that there were no such words as "Tibet Independence" a century ago. Maybe you can do some homework, study historical archive and find out the first person to come up with "Tibet Independence". This could help you getting closer to the truth in covering issues relating to Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
What happens in Tibet is an internal affair of China. The Chinese Government resolutely opposes any interference in the Tibet issue, which is our internal affair. We urge relevant countries to respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect the universally recognized norms governing international relations, and do not support the Dalai Clique's separatist activities in any form under any excuse. I would like to stress that the Chinese Government has the determination and capability to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Q: The Ministry of Public Security said today that a 19-year-old Uighur woman admitted guilty as being part of the incident on March 7th involving China Southern Flight. Could you feed us with more information? Is she a Chinese citizen? The Ministry of Public Security said that there were other people involved. Is there a number? Was this woman tortured before she confessed?
A: About the March 7th case involving the China Southern Flight, the Ministry of Public Security has updated the public on the investigation, and I have no more to add. The case is under further investigation, and I believe eventually truth will come out.
Relevant Chinese authorities deal with the case according to law. I'm wondering your motive by raising such a question. There are many criminal cases in the US and France. Would you also come up with such questions when criminals in those countries are investigated and tried? Do you always presume that torture is involved? Can you explain why you raised that question?
Journalist: Is that your answer?
A: That's my answer. And we never fabricate news.
Q: You may be aware that there's now a non-governmental website, ANTI-CNN.COM, where people criticize the untrue reports on the Tibet issue by some foreign news agencies like the CNN. Do you appreciate or support this website? Is the Chinese Government providing financial or physical support to this website? Also, could you brief us on the negotiation between the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Holy See on the establishment of diplomatic ties?
A: Your first question is worthy of careful thinking for the press, as it reflects a social phenomenon. You asked whether the Chinese Government is involved. You won't ask that if you take a look at the reports by the western media. It is these irresponsible and unethical reports that infuriated our people to voice voluntarily their condemnation and criticism.
The Lhasa incident is over. Our country will have a better future, and so will Tibet. But it leaves us with a legacy, a mirror to see the true face of some people out there. It is also a textbook of bad examples, and it helps our people discern clearly the essence of the much-vaunted "justice" and "objectiveness" by some western media. What happened in Lhasa is bad and unfortunate; but if there's anything good about the Lhasa incident, this will be one.
As for your second question, when it comes to improving and handling our relations with the Vatican, we adhere to two principles, which remain unchanged.
Q:Last week, a US citizen was tried for involvement in selling secrets to China. Do you have any comment? China has been stressing objective report, but the live broadcast of light flaming ceremony on Monday was blacked out. How do you explain that?
A; On your first question, the so-called military secret stealing by China from the US is utterly groundless. I have reiterated on our solemn position on many occasions.
On your second question, the farce put up by a handful of persons is known to Chinese people who have already expressed their strong indignation.
Q: It is reported by DPA that the Ramoche Monastry in Lhasa has been sealed so that a monk was starved for shortage of food. Can you confirm?
A: I am not aware of the specific information. But I can assure you that Tibet is progressing and monks and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet enjoy their rights and freedom according to law. Today's Tibet is not under the brutal feudal serfdom which was even more cruel than that of the medieval Europe. I do not know where you get the information, but I don't believe such a thing. Your colleague with DPA is here, you may ask him the source of the news.
Q: I am with DPA. At present, we can only get information from Tibetans in-Exile and actually we don't like it, but we can not get more information from competent authorities of China. We do want to check the information with local authorities so as to do report objectively, but it's very difficult.
A: Let me put it this way, if a hungry person has no money to buy food, is he justified in stealing, robbing or looting the bank? It is robbers' logic.
Q: In the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting this weekend, French Foreign Minister may raise the Tibet question on the meeting. Does China have any communication with EU officials on that?
A: I would like to emphasize that the Tibet issue is absolutely China's internal affair which brooks no foreign interference. We hope the EU can make a clear distinction between the right and wrong and condemn the rioters. Because they broke the laws, and undermined the public order, social stability as well as people's life. The EU countries are neither free of crimes, nor violence. How do they deal with those cases? Think it over. They should neither adopt double-standard nor send wrong signals to the Dalai clique on the issue.
The policy of the Chinese government on Dalai is consistent and clear-cut.
If there are no other questions, thank you and Bye-bye!