Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on December 29, 2009
On the afternoon of December 29, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcement to make. Now, the floor is open.
Q: Did China conduct mental assessment of Akmal Shaikh? Did China provide translation for him during the trial? Will China bury him according to his ethnic custom? Where will he be buried? In addition, how many people were executed over the last week?
A: The questions you asked should be answered by judicial authorities. On the Akmal case, I have noticed that the court has responded to the questions of media and expounded on their position about the specifics of the case through the media.
British citizen Akmal Shaikh was sentenced to death for drug trafficking and it is an individual criminal case. The Chinese judiciary has dealt with the case in strict accordance with law. Drug-related crime is a serious crime recognized by the whole world for its grave social hazards. All countries are cracking down on such crimes according to law. During the trial, the litigation rights and various treatment of Akmal Shaikh were duly guaranteed.
Q: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a statement that he was "appalled and disappointed" at the execution. What's China's comment? Second question, how many foreigners have been executed in China since the Reform and Opening-up?
A: China is a country under the rule of law and the judiciary acts in strict accordance with law. China's judicial independence brooks no foreign interference and no one has the right to point fingers at China's judicial sovereignty. It is the common aspiration of people across the world to crack down on drug-related crimes. China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the UK's groundless accusations. We urge the UK to respect China's judicial sovereignty and correct its mistakes immediately to avoid doing harm to the bilateral relations.
On your second question, I don't have the figures you want and please refer to relevant authorities.
Q: It is reported that an attempted bomb attack took place on a US Delta airliner from Nigeria to Detroit on December 25. How does China comment on it? Will China step up security measures on flights to the US? Second question, the "De Xin Hai" ship was recently rescued. Can you tell us its current condition and the date of its return?
A: On your first question, we have taken note of relevant event. China opposes any forms of terrorism and this position has been consistent and unequivocal.
To ensure aviation security, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China has been enforcing high-level security measures over domestic and international flights. After the attempted bomb attack on a US Northwest airliner, the Administration has adopted stricter security measures on our flights to the US at the request of the US side and in accordance with relevant international conventions.
On your second question, the "De Xin Hai" ship is now sailing to safe waters under the protection of China's convoy fleet on its way home. We look forward to their early and safe return. As for the date of return, the shipping company will make arrangement in light of the conditions of the ship, the sailors and the elements.
Q: Among the sailors recently detained by Myanmar, some from Taiwan have returned. What efforts has the Foreign Ministry made regarding the issue?
A: On November 18, 10 fishing boats and 128 sailors were detained by Myanmar while fishing in Myanmese waters. Four of the five Chinese fishermen involved are from Taiwan and one from Fujian.
After the incident, the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar have made several representations with the Myanmese side, requesting it to handle the issue in a fair way, ensure the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese sailors and release them as soon as possible. The Chinese Embassy staff have paid three visits to the sailors and requested that Myanmar treat the detained Chinese sailors well and provide medical treatment to the injured.
Thanks to the efforts of the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar, the Myanmese side agreed to send the sailors back with certain fines paid.
Q: Can you confirm that Akmal Shaikh has been executed? Why has China never released the annual number of the executed? Recently, we have heard a lot of criticism from the UK on China. How does China comment on the current China-UK relations?
A: I have taken note of the official response of competent authorities of the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region to journalists. Please base your report on the information they have released.
On your second question, China retains the death penalty because we do not have the conditions ready to renounce it. However, China strictly control and cautiously apply death penalty. It is not true that figures of the executed have never been disclosed. It may be that you have not found the right channel for such information. Local courts have been releasing such information to the public through regular means based on relevant regulations. I suggest that you read often the Legal Daily or log onto the websites of local courts for information.
Regarding the UK's accusations, I have made response just now. China values its relations with the UK and do not hope to see bilateral relations affected. We hope the UK will view this case rationally and do not create new obstacles to bilateral relations. I have stressed just now that this is an individual criminal case having nothing to do with other issues.
Q: The Israeli government recently unveiled plans to build more than 600 new settlements in Jerusalem, which has been vehemently opposed to by parties such as Palestine. How does China comment?
A: China opposes the new settlement plan of Israel to be undertaken in East Jerusalem. The final status of Jerusalem is at the core of the Palestine-Israel negotiations and can only be properly resolved through political negotiations between the two sides based on relevant UN resolutions. China urges the Israeli side to act prudently and concretely respond to the mediation efforts of the international community so as to create conditions for an early resumption of Palestine-Israel peace talks.
Q: The DPRK has confirmed the detention of a US man who entered from China over the weekend. Has China noticed the incident and what measures will it take?
A: We hope the US and the DPRK will handle this issue properly to uphold the larger interests of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Q: It is reported that the "De Xin Hai" ship was rescued after the Chinese side dropped the ransom onto the ship. Please confirm. Has China established any special plan for similar cases in the future?
A: On your first question, we have released information about the rescue of the "De Xin Hai" ship. I do not have the specifics you mentioned.
The Chinese Government has always attached great importance to protecting the safety of Chinese citizens abroad. We will continue our convoy operations within the mandate of relevant international laws and the United Nation's resolutions in joint efforts with the international community for order and security of shipping in international waters.
Q: Some countries condemned the sentence of 11-year-imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo last Friday and the US denounced it as a "political trial". How does China comment on it?
A: With regard to the Liu Xiaobo case, we have reiterated China's position on many occasions that Liu is a Chinese citizen and the Chinese judicial authorities have tried the case publicly according to law. This case is dealt with in strict accordance with Chinese laws and legal procedures. We call on relevant countries and international organizations to respect China's judicial sovereignty and do not interfere in China's internal affairs.
If there are no more questions, the press conference concludes here. Thank you for your coming. See you next week.