Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 24, 2008
On the afternoon of April 24, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Olympic torch relay, European Parliament's adoption of a resolution relating to China and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon! I have no announcement to start with. The floor is open.
Q: European Commissioner for External Relations Waldner said that the Chinese Government should have dialogue with Dalai in order to make substantive progress on the Tibet issue. The EU Delegation has proposed to have full and constructive communication with China on this issue during its stay in China. What is China's response?
A: As we underscored on many occasions, the Tibet issue is purely China's internal affair that brooks no foreign interference. This is our firm principled position which we hope the international community can fully understand. The Central Government's attitude to Dalai cannot be clearer, that is, the Dalai side must immediately stop all separatist and disruptive activities. The door for dialogue is open if Dalai accepts the requirement of the Central Government.
We look forward to European Commission President Barroso's visit to China along with many other commissioners from 24 to 26. Apart from the theme of sustainable development and climate change, the two sides will also exchange views on China-EU relations and international and regional issues of common interest. We hope this visit will help us expand strategic common ground, build up political mutual trust and deepen cooperation of mutual benefit so as to promote a long-term, healthy and stable development of China-EU relations. In the past couple of months, we have reiterated our position on Tibet-related issues. We hope that the EU will respect facts and fully understand and support the Chinese Government and people's position on major issues that bear on our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Q: How do you comment on the Olympic torch relay in Canberra? The Australian Olympic Committee said that the torch relay was very peaceful and successful albeit the Chinese escorts were minimized to only two or three. What is China's response?
A: As we saw several hours ago, the Olympic torch relay in Canberra concluded safely and smoothly. It was a grand event with many passionate participants from all walks of life in Australia. Australia offered effective cooperation during the torch relay.
Carrying the concept of peace, friendship and harmony, and bringing the Olympic spirit to the world, the Olympic flame is sure to win warm welcome wherever it goes, leaving no room for any disruptive attempts.
Q: Former French Prime Minister Raffarin will arrive in Beijing today before he conveys a letter from President Sarkozy to Chinese leaders. Does China have any message for President Sarkozy?
A: At the invitation of People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Former French Prime Minister Raffarin will visit China from April 24 to 27. Mr. Raffarin is an old friend of the Chinese people. The red carpet is rolled out for his visit, and leaders from the Central Government will meet with him. We hope the two sides can have an in-depth exchange of views on how to further promote our bilateral relations.
We note that recently, people with visions in France have been working hard to build up mutual understanding between the two peoples and promote bilateral relations. We appreciate their efforts. Further development of China-France relations is in the common interest of the two peoples. We hope that people from both countries can cherish our friendly relations of cooperation which is the result of decades of joint efforts. We should view and handle this relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective to promote a sustained development of the bilateral relations.
Q: Does the Chinese Government support its citizens' legal protests over CNN's biased reports and its commentator Cafferty's insulting remarks against China? Will the domestic public opinion influence the Chinese Government's policy?
A: I have noted that some Chinese people are expressing their appeals on the internet spontaneously. What they are opposed to is the insults against the Chinese people and the distorted and biased reports on China. CNN should not turn a blind eye to their appeals. We have made clear our position on Cafferty's remarks which we hope CNN take serious. CNN's remarks and attitude have not only deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, but also severely damaged CNN's own reputation, and undermined the cooperation between us as well. We'll wait and see how CNN will respond.
Q: An e-mail is currently circulating on the internet, calling on the Chinese people to launch protests during the May Day. Will the Chinese Government allow this kind of protest during the May Day?
A: I would not comment on those on-line remarks. I believe that people will exercise their freedom of expression within the framework of law. I also hope that the public would express their appeals in a reasonable, legal and just way.
Q: The European parliament recently adopted a resolution, alleging that China's unconditional support to some autocracies in Africa has led to human rights violation in those countries, and that China should cut down its fiscal support to those regimes. Do you have any comment on that?
A: We have taken note of the European parliament's criticism on China's policy toward Africa. This is a highly irresponsible and unfounded accusation in disregard of the facts. We urge the European parliament to stop the confrontational and provocative act and do more in the interest of China-EU relations.
No one is in a better position than the African countries and their people to comment on China's policy toward Africa and China-Africa relations. The African people welcome and support China-Africa cooperation, for it is in the interest of the common development of both sides.
The cooperation between China and Africa can be traced back to over five decades ago. It did not start today when the oil price keeps rising. China-Africa relationship is featured with sincerity, friendliness, equality, mutual benefit, cooperation and common development. China respects African countries' independent choices of their own development path. We have never imposed our own values on other countries. Neither have we used aid as a tool of pressure. The cooperation between China and Africa is pragmatic and extensive, covering fields of agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, science, technology, culture, heath, human resources, education, tourism, sports, and etc. Moreover, in its cooperation with Africa, China has paid special attention to areas of technology and human resources cooperation. In doing so, we aim to enhance African countries' own capabilities of independent development. During the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, China put forward an eight-point proposal for further development of China-Africa relations, including reducing or exempting debt, cutting tariff, enhancing training, increasing investment and aid. we hope that these new measures could bring concrete benefits to the African people.
The European parliament's resolution mentioned the energy cooperation between China and Africa. In fact, China lags far behind the EU and the US in its energy cooperation with Africa, both in scope and quality. Africa exports 79% of its oil production, 36% of which goes to Europe, 33% to the US, and only 8.7% to China. If China's 8.7% share of the African oil exports is labeled as energy ravage, then what happens to the 36% ?
In its energy cooperation with Africa, China adheres to the principles of equality, mutual benefit and win-win, helping the African countries to build their own oil industry and bring more job opportunities there. Chinese companies in Africa are doing a lot to repay local society by launching public goods programs, which are welcome by the local people. China-Africa energy cooperation is a cooperation of mutual benefit that perfectly follows international rules. Many of them adopt the mode of international cooperation. China-Africa energy cooperation help the African countries transform their advantages in energy resources into advantages in development. It is totally unreasonable to make irresponsible accusations against China-Africa energy cooperation.
The European parliament's resolution also mentioned China's arms sales to Africa. Certainly the Chinese Government has been strictly observing relevant UN resolutions, and never sold arms to countries or regions under UN Security Council's arms embargo. The European parliament's accusation is totally unfounded and irresponsible.
Q: US intelligence officials claimed that they possess evidence that the DPRK had provided nuclear reactor devices to Syria. Could you confirm? Will that affect the Six-Party Talks?
A: As a matter of fact, we have seen that the second-phase action plan of the Six-Party Talks is proceeding proactively with positive progress in the disablement of DPRK nuclear facilities, implementation of assistance to the DPRK and improvement of relations between relevant countries.
We hope the US and the DPRK continue to display sincerity and flexibility in enhancing consultation, so as to achieve positive results and properly address each other's concerns by strengthening mutual understanding and trust.
Q: You just mentioned China's arms sales to Africa, could you update us on the arms sales to Zimbabwe?
A: I expounded on China's position on this issue at the last briefing. According to my knowledge, relevant Chinese company has decided to ship back the cargo that was due to deliver to Zimbabwe.
Q: Paraguayan President-elect expressed willingness to develop relations with China. Is there any new development in China-Paraguay relations?
A: China is ready to establish and develop normal relations with any other country in the world on the basis of the One-China principle and the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. The One-China principle is one of our fundamental principles while handling relations with other countries.
Q: Some said that the Chinese Embassy in Australia provides accommodation and other assistance to those welcoming the torch relay in Canberra. Could you confirm? The US, civil groups in South Africa and the Zimbabwean opposition party asserted that arms sales to the Zimbabwean government would add destabilizing elements to local situation. How do you comment on that?
A: On your first question, I wonder the motives of those who keep asking us whether our embassies organized overseas Chinese to welcome the torch relay. Did they ask those disrupting the relay who is their organizer? I believe that will be more newsworthy. How come they have the freedom to disrupt and sabotage the torch relay, whereas Olympic-loving people have not the freedom to welcome the torch?
On your second question, I made it very clear last time that the contract was signed last year and this is completely normal arms trade in no violation of Chinese laws and regulations and our international obligations. It is groundless that some attempt to play up and politicize the issue. Some people in the US always like to point a finger at others and act as world police. They are not that popular around the world. We have friendly relations with many African countries and we understand and support each other. Those attempts of playing off African countries against China will surely get nowhere.
Q: How many foreigners does China expect here during the Beijing Olympic Games? Why does China tighten up its visa policies? My second question is, some foreigners felt their safety under threat in the Carrefour incident happened in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province. How do you comment on this?
A: We cannot predict the exact figure of people to be here during the Olympic Games. All the people who love peace and Olympics are welcome to Beijing. We will be a hospitable host.
As for the visa question, China will follow the Olympic routine and facilitate visa application by foreigners who want to come to China and attend the Olympic Games, an international sports event. Based on the practices of previous Olympics and other large-scale international sports events, we've made due arrangements regarding visa applications of foreigners in light of China's laws and regulations. For example, necessary documents need to be filed with the applications, which I believe is a normal and reasonable requirement. Besides, as for the question of the multiple-entry visa applications, as far as I know, such visas are still issued to those who meet the requirements.
It is more convenient to apply for Chinese visa compared with many other countries. To ensure a smooth entry into China, We suggest foreigners to apply for visas in advance in their home or resident country.
As for the safety of foreigners in China, the Chinese Government always protects the security and lawful rights of all foreigners in China pursuant to law. China is a safe destination. There are no reasons to lose confidence in this. We disapprove of the recent sporadic radical moves, which I believe will be properly addressed in accordance with law.
Q: The online protests and comments in China might be interpreted as anti-Western sentiment. Will that affect China's relations with other countries and tarnish China's image especially ahead of the Olympics?
A: You could see it is not that the Chinese are doing something against the West, instead, some in the West are challenging the Chinese. What the Chinese people express are righteous appeals and their opposition to biased reports, acts tarnishing China and those conniving with and supporting the separatist activities. I hope the international community heed the voice of them.
China is a land of courtesy. The Chinese people will welcome athletes from all countries and people from various circles to attend the Beijing Olympic Games in a warm, friendly and open manner. We will work with other countries to host a great sports event and build a bridge of friendship and understanding among people across the world.
Q: The torch will pass through Nagano on April 26 and many have rallied there. What's your expectation for the relay before President Hu Jintao's visit?
A: It is the pride and honor of the Japanese people as well as a token of China-Japan friendship to have the torch relay in Nagano. I am glad to see people from all walks of life gather in Nagano to welcome the torch there. We hope the torch relay there will be smooth and safe so as to enhance the friendship between the two peoples and carry forward the Olympic spirit.
Q: According to the Japanese police, only two Chinese escorts will be allowed to follow the torch during the relay. Do you think that will affect the security of the torch?
A: The BOCOG is discussing with the Japanese side on the specific arrangement. It is believed that through the joint efforts, the relay in Nagano will proceed smoothly and securely. I am convinced that the Japanese police will make decisions based on their judgment of the situation there and provide proactive and effective assistance.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.