Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on February 12, 2009
On February 12, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on Pakistani President's visit to China, the new Zimbabwe Government taking office, Tibet-related issues, and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have an announcement to start with.
At the invitation of the Chinese Government, President Asif Ali Zardari of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will visit Hubei Province and Shanghai from February 20 to 23.
Now the floor is open.
Q: Yesterday afternoon a group of Lithuanian parliament members filed a document stating that the Dalai Lama is an official representative of all Tibetan people and accusing China of invading Tibet back in last century. What is your reaction on that?
A: Tibet has been a part of Chinese territory since ancient times. The Tibet issue bears on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is the internal affair of China. Anyone familiar with the Tibetan history should know that starting from Yuan Dynasty (13th century), successive Chinese Central Governments have exercised uninterrupted effective sovereign jurisdiction over Tibet. Tibet has never become an independent state, which is a historical fact that cannot be changed. We hope parliamentarians from the relevant country can improve their understanding about the history.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform in Tibet. In the past 5 decades, Tibet has witnessed ground-shaking changes and achieved historical progress in its social system. The emancipation of serfs in Tibet, just like the abolition of slavery in the US and some countries in Europe, was a major milestone of great historical importance in the world history of human rights. Tibet has made remarkable achievements in political, economic, cultural and other fields since 50 years ago. People of all ethnic groups in Tibet fully exercise the rights enshrined in the Constitution and Law on Regional National Autonomy. Tibet enjoys comprehensive social progress, rapid economic development, religious harmony and prosperous cultures, with people's living standard greatly improving. The Tibetan people have experienced and witnessed for themselves the historical changes in Tibet in the past 50 years, and can make a faithful and objective evaluation on the development and changes in Tibet. I don't know how the serf owners of the old times, who used to trample on the dignity and human rights of the Tibetan people under the theocratic feudal serfdom, suddenly transform themselves into human rights defenders.
I would like to reiterate that the Dalai issue is absolutely not an ethnic issue, nor an issue of religion or human rights, but a major issue concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. On such issues, the Chinese Government and people have a resolute position. We will never bow to any outside pressure, nor make any compromise. We hope the international community can fully respect and support all efforts made by the Chinese Government to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect the fundamental interests of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. The Chinese Government will continue to pursue and improve the system of regional national autonomy, support the social and economic development of Tibet and other Tibetan areas, and take all forceful measures to safeguard the fundamental interests of people of all ethnic groups.
Q: The judges of the International Criminal Court have decided to indict Sudan's President for war crimes in Darfur, and issued a warrant for his arrest. What is China's reaction to that?
A: I haven't seen any official release on that. We always hold that measures taken by the International Criminal Court should be conducive to the stability of Sudan and proper settlement of the Darfur issue.
There has been positive progress on the Darfur issue lately. Various parties, including the Sudanese Government, have all make active efforts. We believe that under the current circumstances, we shall continue to give full play to the main channel role of the tripartite mechanism of the UN, the AU and the Sudanese Government, and push forward the political process and peace-keeping mission in a balanced way. The international community should create more favorable international environment for the proper settlement of the Darfur issue.
Q: As you announced, this is President Zardari's second visit to China in four months' time. This is a very important visit. He is likely to visit various projects for cooperation between the two countries, especially in agriculture, hydro power generation, banking and finance. How do you see that the visit will help further deepen cooperation between China and Pakistan in these areas?
A: Just as you mentioned, this is President Zardari's second visit to China after his successful state visit last October. During the visit, President Zardari will observe China's development in water conservation, agriculture and the financial sector, which will strengthen bilateral cooperation in the above areas. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the visit. State Councilor Dai Binguo will travel to Hubei Province to meet with President Zardari on behalf of the Chinese Government. We believe that the visit will help to consolidate China-Pakistan all-weather traditional friendship and deepen bilateral all-dimensional friendly cooperation.
Q: Just now you mentioned the issue of reporting in Tibet. When can journalists go freely to Tibet for coverage? The Chinese Government and Foreign Ministry have always emphasized on adopting an open attitude toward reporting activities. Ordinary Chinese tourists can now travel to Tibet freely, but foreign journalists are denied access, which is unreasonable. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment?
A: You are reading a statement, which represents the views of some journalists. I fully understand your interest. But I would like to point out that in the first place, the reason behind the fact that foreign journalists find it more difficult to go to Tibet for coverage is very clear, not caused by us, nor what we would like to see. I know the local authorities are working very hard to try to satisfy media's request for information about the Tibet Autonomous Region. You are in contact with them through phone calls and fax. I also know that some journalists did visit Tibet, which you may not be aware of. It's not true that no journalists have visited Tibet. Some journalists did go to Tibet. I hope your wishes can be satisfied one by one, the sooner the better. In the future, we will organize media trips to Tibet from time to time as before, facilitating your coverage. In fact we have made utmost efforts for the trip, taking into consideration as much as possible media organizations of different categories from different regions and countries. Some media's requests may not be satisfied this time. I hope they can understand.
Q: French auction house Christie's is going to auction some collection of late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, including two bronze sculptures looted from the Summer Palace. It is reported that the auction has been canceled. What is China's reaction to that?
A: An official of China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage has responded to the question on Christie's planed auction of the bronze sculptures of rat and rabbit heads. It is well-known that those sculptures are China's lost precious cultural treasures which were looted by the joint Anglo-French forces many years ago during the Second Opium War. China has incontrovertible ownership of those objects which should be returned to China. Auctioning cultural objects looted in war time not only offends the Chinese people and undermines their cultural rights, but also violates relevant international conventions. We hope relevant parties handle the issue carefully.
Q: I have two questions concerning Africa. Yesterday, Zimbabwe's opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister of the united government of Zimbabwe. What impact will it have on China-Zimbabwe relations? Second, President Hu Jintao is visiting Africa, could you tell us what agreements will be signed during his visit? It is reported that China will help Senegal build a national theater, are there any other projects to be built with the help of China?
A: As for your first question, the swearing-in of prime minister and deputy prime minister of the united government of Zimbabwe marks substantial progress in its political reconciliation process. This is of great significance in solving the Zimbabwean issue thoroughly by political means. China welcomes the progress and extends its congratulations. We also highly commend the positive efforts of Africa, the Southern African Development Community in particular, to settle the Zimbabwean issue. We hope that all parties concerned in Zimbabwe would continue working together to achieve the smooth establishment of the new government, and lead the Zimbabwean people to shake off the current difficulties and embrace stability and development.
On President Hu's visit to Africa, the delegation's spokesperson will update you the details of the visit. It is a shared aspiration of China and Africa, and in both sides' interests, to strengthen their friendship and cooperation of mutual benefits. This year is important for Sino-African relations. It is a year that bridges the past and future, and presents great opportunities for the development of China-Africa relations. We believe President Hu's visit will deepen the traditional friendship and promote pragmatic cooperation in extensive areas between the two sides. As for the agreements to be signed during the visit, I suggest you follow the press release of the visit.
Q: I want to ask if China had any comment regarding the report that the UN issued at the end of its review of China's human rights record.
A: On February 9 and 11, during China's first UPR review under the UN Human Rights Council, a review report was approved unanimously upon consultation. The review was generally proceeding smoothly in an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation. A vast majority of countries spoke positively of China's human rights policies and achievements and supported China's efforts to take on the path suitable to its national conditions. A small number of countries attempted to politicize the process. Their groundless accusations of China were denounced by most countries. Following the spirit of openness and candidness, the Chinese delegation gave a comprehensive and well-received account of China's remarkable progress in its human rights cause, the challenges and targets in improving human rights and answered questions. The Chinese Government will earnestly implement the constitutional principles of governing the country by law and safeguarding human rights, and continue to make unremitting efforts to promote and protect human rights.
Q: Where is "Tian Yu 8" fishing ship heading after it's been rescued from the pirates of Somalia? When will it return to China?
A: We have released relevant information about the rescue of "Tian Yu 8" two days ago. According to my knowledge, it's on its way back to China. As for the countries it will stop over and its specific schedule, I suggest you refer your questions to the relevant shipping company.
Q: The third conference of the Peace and Security Mechanism of the Northeast Asia will be held in Moscow next week to discuss the Nuclear Issue on the Korean Peninsula. Who is going to attend the meeting from the Chinese side? What about the agenda?
A: According to my knowledge, Mr. Yang Houlan, Ambassador for Korean Peninsula Affairs will attend this meeting on behalf of China. We will cooperate closely with the other parties to push for a positive outcome of this meeting. I suggest you ask Russia, the host country, about the specific arrangement.
If there are no more questions, thank you for coming. See you next time!