Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on July 7, 2009
On the afternoon of July 7, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, Ladies and gentlemen. The floor is now open for your questions.
Q: How many Chinese diplomatic missions overseas have been attacked by "Eastern Turkish" activists since July 5 incident in Xinjiang? And have you made representations to relevant countries?
A: On the afternoon of July 6, local time, about 150 "Eastern Turkish" activists gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands to stage a protest. They tossed stones at the Embassy building and broke quite a few window glasses, posing severe threat to the Embassy staff and property and disturbing normal work.
On the morning of the same day, local time, Chinese Consulate General in the German city of Munich was attacked by two unidentified youngsters with gasoline bombs, causing slight damage to the Consulate building and the national flag.
We express strong condemnation to these attacks. China has made solemn representations with the Dutch side and German side, urging them to take every measure necessary in accordance with the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations so as to ensure the safety and dignity of Chinese diplomatic missions and staff, guarantee normal work order and prevent reoccurrence of such incidents. We also demand the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Both the Dutch side and the German side pledged to take concrete and effective measures to ensure the safety and dignity of Chinese diplomatic missions and staff.
Q: The violence in Xinjiang last Sunday has been presented on Chinese TV as an attack by Uygurs on Han citizens, but there's been no clue of the ethnicity of the casualties. Could you give us numbers or at least give us an idea whether the majority of the victims are Han? Were there any Uygurs killed by the security forces in the clash?
A: After the severely violent act involving beating, smashing, looting and arson erupted on July 5 in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, local authorities took decisive measures according to law. At present, the situation has been basically brought under control, and social order in Urumqi City is returning to normal. Relevant investigation is going on. I believe the figures you're looking for will be available after the investigation.
Q: Chairperson Rebiya Kadeer of the World Uygur Congress said during her interview with British TV 4 that she has nothing to do with the violence. Do you have any specific evidence to prove that she is behind the whole thing?
A: This is a violent crime remotely directed and incited from abroad, and executed inside the country. The evidence is well established and beyond doubt. In the past couple of days, competent authorities have released facts that foreign separatist forces led by the "World Uygur Congress" and represented by Rebiya Kadeer plotted and instigated the violence. As the investigation goes on, I believe the truth will come out eventually. Rebiya can make lies all she likes, but the international community will not be fooled. Even if she could make a fool of people for now, people will not be fooled forever. More and more people in the international community will recognize the terrorist and violent nature and the attempt of the Eastern Turkish separatist forces to undermine national unity and separate China.
Q: Since Rebiya is in the United States, will the Chinese Government make representations with the US and ask for her extradition?
A: We all know what kind of person Rebiya is. She is a criminal convicted by the Chinese judiciary authorities for committing crimes that jeopardize national security and major economic crimes. In the spirit of humanitarianism, competent authorities released her on medical parole overseas. Before she left, she pledged to never engage in any activities that could jeopardize national security. However, what she did in the past few years is totally a different story. Since she went abroad, she has never ceased activities that attempt to separate China, undermine national unity and impair peace and harmony in Xinjiang. We urge the international community not to provide any form of support or even encouragement for her separatist activities.
Q: Compared with the Lhasa incident last year, the Chinese Government seems more open towards media report this time. Is that because your policy has changed?
A: We adopt an open and transparent policy towards media report on July 5 incident. We are providing assistance and convenience to foreign and domestic media for their report in Xinjiang with the hope that international media could cover the incident in an objective and fair manner.
Q: Over the last few days, foreign journalists have been repeatedly detained. Today some foreign journalists in Xinjiang were also detained. Could you tell us what's happening here? Secondly, some overseas human rights organizations expressed concern that those rioters arrested may not get a fair trial. Do you have any comment?
A: On your first question, like I said, competent Chinese authorities have been actively assisting international media report. We set up a media center in Urumqi where competent authorities could facilitate your work. As for the journalists detained, after learning the news, my colleagues and I immediately contacted and coordinated with local authorities for a proper solution. As there are now many foreign journalists in Urumqi, I'd like to remind you that there are still some uncertainties in the local area where the social order is yet to be completely restored after this abhorrent incident of violence. So on the one hand, you are welcome to go there to report, and on the other hand, we hope you could respect local regulations, abide by Chinese laws and look out for your own safety. Competent authorities handled relevant cases according to law for the sake of your safety. We expect your understanding and cooperation. Should you encounter any problems in your report, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will to our utmost to help you out. But in case you break the law, or commit what you know is forbidden by law, then there will be nothing we could do. After all, law is meant to be observed.
On your second question, actually, I feel surprised that those so-called "human rights" organizations have not shown the slightest sympathy to those innocent civilians who were brutally killed, but point figures at China under the pretext of human rights. The local law enforcement authorities detained some individuals with the purpose of safeguarding social order, safety of people's lives and property as well as normal living and production order. No country under the rule of law, and no responsible government would tolerate such violent crimes involving beating, smashing, looting and arson. The actions taken by local authorities are completely legitimate and justified and have received public support. There will be further investigation over those arrested. Our law is fair. Not a single good person will be wronged, and not a single bad person could escape. The human rights organizations you mentioned wear colored spectacles when they made those remarks. With such colored spectacles, they simply dislike and pick faults with anything Chinese Government does. We don't expect fair or objective conclusions from them. They should reflect their mentality which stands on the opposite side of morality, law and the Chinese people.
For you to have a comprehensive and better understanding of what happened on July 5, we prepared some video footage overnight, which is a realistic recording of the incident. What the rioters did was nothing but abhorrent atrocity. If this is not crime, we don't know what is. I've brought some video copies here. You can take one piece each for free after the conference at the entrance of the Press Hall.
Q: Have you heard of any specific cases in which foreign journalists broke laws in Xinjiang. If so, what laws did they break?
A: They broke the cordon.
Q: Some people believe that it was a peaceful demonstration by Uygurs that only became a riot after the police shot fire. Will this be part of your investigation?
A: With all the facts, and you still call it a "peaceful demonstration"? Facts have proved that this is an evil crime of murder, arson and robbery. To call this a "peaceful demonstration" is like to call black white. Only criminals would want to cover up what they committed. And only cowards would resort to violence, spread rumors and distort facts. They are doing this because they are afraid of seeing sustained development, ethnic solidarity, social stability and prosperity in Xinjiang.
Q: If you are trying to facilitate our reporting work in Xinjiang, why is the internet shut down and phone service unavailable? We have had lots of trouble trying to communicate with our team on the ground since they can't use internet at all in the local area.
A: I understand your concerns. Official from Urumqi has responded to this question at the press conference this noon. He said it is found that the separatist forces abroad frequently used internet and mobile phones to plot, instigate, and organize the incident, so relevant local authorities took some measures according to law. We hope you understand that these measures are only taken so as to handle the situation and maintain social stability. If you have any difficulties with signals, you can come to us. We'll see if there's anything we could do.
Q: It is reported that during the U.S. President Obama's visit to Moscow, Russia and the U.S. reached an agreement on reducing strategic nuclear weapons and anti-missile systems. How do you comment on that?
A: China welcomes the Joint Understanding for the START Follow-on Treaty signed by the US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev. As the US and Russia own the biggest nuclear arsenals in the world, their massive reduction of nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner will create necessary conditions to bring about complete and thorough nuclear disarmament. We hope the two countries could reach a new treaty shortly and take concrete measures to reduce nuclear weapons by a large margin.
China has all along supported and advocated complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China is ready to join hands with other parties and continue to contribute to the global nuclear disarmament.
Q: A question about Rebiya Kadeer. You just said there is some evidence to prove she is behind the violence in Xinjiang. But the only information we got from the Chinese media is a quote from her saying that "something is going to happen in Urumqi", which could just be a statement of worry and unhappiness over the incidence in Shaoguan. It's not enough to prove that she plotted the violence. Do you have anything more concrete that you are going to release? If you do have proof that Rebiya is behind the violence which led to death of 156 people, wouldn't the Chinese Government be obliged to seek for her extradition and bring her to justice?
A: In China, we say that fire can not be wrapped up with paper, meaning that truth will come to light sooner or later. As the investigation goes on, the truth will be known to all. I believe relevant authorities will present more evidence to the public. We also hope foreign countries can recognize the terrorist and separatist nature of the Eastern Turkistan forces and do not support or sympathize with them in any form.
If there are no other questions, thank you for coming. See you.