Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on August 13, 2008
On August 13, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the situation in South Ossetia and Pakistan, the Six-Party Talks and the Beijing Olympics.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the press conference today. Now, the floor is open.
Q:US President Bush made some comments on the freedom of religious belief during his stay in China for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. How do you comment? It is reported Georgian Ambassador to China has asked China to mediate between Georgia and Russia. Will China offer help to Georgia? The last question, Dalai is on his visit to France and will meet with some French MPs. How do you respond to that?
A:As to your first question, the Chinese Government adheres to the principle of putting people first and governance for the people and attaches great importance to safeguard and promote the basic rights and freedom of its citizens, including religious freedom. Our achievements in this field over the past few years are witnessed by all. For the differences in human rights and religion between China and the US, we uphold dialogue and exchange on the basis of equality, mutual respect and non-interferences in each other's internal affairs to expand common ground, enhance understanding and narrow differences.
Our position on the South Ossetia issue is clear. We hope disputes be resolved peacefully through dialogue so as to achieve regional peace and stability.
On issues concerning Tibet, China's position is clear and persistent. We hope that the French side work together with us to remove obstacles, promote mutual trust, maintain the hard-won momentum of improvement of bilateral ties, so as to push forward sound and stable development of China-France relations. We hope France properly handle issues concerning Tibet.
Q: What is the result of the investigation into the attacks against the American tourists last week in the Drum Tower? What's China's attitude towards Pakistan's ruling coalition's impeachment against President Musharraf?
A: We attach great importance to the incident you mentioned and have taken every measure to rescue the injured while the police are busy with the investigation. China has informed the US embassy of relevant information and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry have visited the injured.
We express condolences to the victim and solicitude to the bereaved family and the injured. We will handle the case properly according to law and keep communication and coordination with the US side to deal with the aftermath.
As to your second question, we have taken note of relevant reports. We hope Pakistan maintain stability and support the efforts of Pakistani Government and its people to safeguard national stability and promote development.
Q: There is international criticism of the Chinese government for "extinguishing" the Uighur culture. How do you respond to that? What specific security threats does the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" pose to China? Among the series of attacks in Xinjiang after August 4, how many have links with this group?
A: On your first question, the relevant accusation is totally groundless and also unacceptable to us. China adopts the system of ethnic regional autonomy. The 56 nationalities in China, whether Han people or the 55 ethnic minorities including the Uighur, are all equal members of the big family of the Chinese nation. They enjoy all rights and freedom as Chinese citizens according to law. As witnessed by all, the Chinese Government has always been dedicated to economic development and social stability of Xinjiang, safeguarding lawful rights and interests of people of all nationalities in Xinjiang, and protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of all ethnic minorities there. People of all nationalities in Xinjiang support national unification, safeguard territorial integrity and oppose separation, violence, terrorism and religious extremism. Some elements of the "Three Forces" attempt to discredit China, and China's policies on ethnics and religion, even to sow discord between the Han and Uighur nationalities. This attempt is dangerous and unattainable.
China has been constantly faced with the threats from "East Turkistan" terrorist forces over recent years. They have committed a series of grave terrorist incidents in China, especially in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, causing great casualties and property losses. The resolve of the Chinese Government and all nationalities in Xinjiang is firm on fighting against terrorist forces. We are capable of safeguarding national security, territorial integrity, and unity of nationalities and social stability in Xinjiang.
You just asked if there is any connection between some recent attacks and the terrorist forces. Evidence has shown that "East Turkistan" forces might be behind these incidents. Public security authorities are launching in-depth investigation into the incidents. I believe relevant results will be released in due time with the progress of investigation.
Q: The Dalai Lama recently made a statement that he would be willing to give up his request of "political autonomy" in Tibet in exchange for protection of Tibetan culture and reduction of Han migration from the Chinese government. How do you respond to that? Second question, So far, no procession or demonstration has been seen in the three designated parks. Some reported that those applying for demonstrations have been detained by the Chinese Government. How do you comment?
A: On your first question, our position and policy on issues concerning Tibet and Dalai is persistent and clear, and the Dalai side is fully aware of that. As to Dalai Lama, we should not only listen to what he has said, but also watch what he has done. We should see his concrete actions.
As to your second question, China is a country ruled by law. Just as in other countries, assemblies, processions and demonstrations must be held according to relevant legal regulations and procedures, and shall not be carried out without approval from relevant authorities. This is our persistent policy as well as the principle by which we handle relevant issues during the Olympic. No one will be detained for applying for demonstrations.
As to the specific details of the demonstrations during the Olympic, as the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, I don't have that information. Please make further inquiry to relevant authorities.
Q: Why did the Chinese Government revoke the visa of Mr. Cheek, member of Team Darfur of the US, who was planning to hold demonstrations in China for the Darfur issue?
A: Granting visa is a sovereign affair of one country. According to relevant Chinese laws and previous practices of the Olympics and other large-scale international events, we have made appropriate arrangements on the issue of entry visas during the Olympics, with an aim to provide a safe environment for athletes and spectators from all over the world.
Q: Will the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il attend the closing ceremony of the Olympics?
A: I don't have the information yet. It is up to the Olympic committee of the DPRK to decide in line with the IOC rules.
Q: Witnesses said on Monday that some Georgian citizens held demonstrations in front of the Russian embassy in China. Has the Foreign Ministry taken any measure to strengthen the security around Georgian and Russian embassies? Could you give us the official figure of foreign leaders attending the opening ceremony?
A: Some Georgian citizens held demonstrations in front of the Russian embassy the day before yesterday. After getting the information, the Chinese side took corresponding measures to ensure the safety of the area and maintain normal traffic order. The crowd was persuaded to disperse and leave, and no extreme actions took place at the spot. I'd also like to stress that staging processions and demonstrations in China must abide by Chinese laws and regulations.
Altogether 84 accredited international dignitaries attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, among which 54 heads of state, 16 heads of government, 9 royal representatives, 1 regional leader and 4 first ladies coming to China by themselves.
Q: Could you brief us on the DPRK-Japan meeting in Shenyang and when will the Six-Party Talks be resumed?
A: I have noted that the recent consultation between the DPRK and Japan in Shenyang has made some progress, and we welcome that. China always supports Japan and the DPRK to resolve their concerns properly through dialogue and improve their ties. We hope the dialogue could keep going and yielding positive results.
Implementing the remaining second-phase actions in a comprehensive and balanced way is an important consensus reached at the meeting of heads of delegation this July. Now, all parties are conducting positive coordination and communication towards this end.
China supports relevant parties, within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, to continue their consultations through bilateral and multilateral channels. We hope parties, endeavoring to meet each other half way, work together to press ahead with the Talks. China is willing to play a positive and constructive role in this.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance!