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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on December 28, 2015

Q: According to the Japanese media, the foreign ministers of Japan and the ROK have reached a final deal meant to resolve the issue of comfort women today. What is China's take on the result?

A: We have noted the relevant report. The forced recruitment of the "comfort women" is a grave crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during the Second World War against people of Asian and other victimized countries. The Chinese side always maintains that the Japanese side should face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression and properly deal with the relevant issue with a sense of responsibility.

Q: It is reported that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with visiting Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif on December 27. Office of the Afghan President said that both sides agreed to hold a quadrilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China next month on a comprehensive road map for peace in Afghanistan. What is China's position on holding such a quadrilateral meeting?

A: We have noted the relevant report. As the neighbor to both the two countries, China welcomes the positive efforts made by both sides to improve bilateral relations which are conducive to resuming the Afghan reconciliation process and realizing regional stability. China supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, stays open to any initiative that will lead to national peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. China will continue to play a constructive role to this end and remain in contact and coordination with all parties.

Q: Protesters from the Philippines landed on Zhongye Island of the Nansha Islands over the weekend. What is your response?

A: We have noted the relevant situation and report. We are strongly dissatisfied with the actions and words of the Philippine side.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, Zhongye Island being a part of it. We once again urge the Philippine side to withdraw all its personnel and facilities from the Chinese islands and reefs it is illegally occupying and stop doing anything that undermines regional peace and stability and weighs against the relations between China and the Philippines.

Q: On December 26, the Foreign Ministry released a statement on not renewing the press credentials for journalist Ursula Gauthier of the French news magazine L'Obs. Do you have anything to add?

A: The statement on Saturday has already made things clear.

In her report dated November 18, Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing-based correspondent for L'Obs blatantly championed acts of terrorism and slaughter of innocent civilians, igniting indignation among the Chinese people. She did not make a serious apology to the Chinese public for her erroneous remarks, and is no longer suitable to continue working in China.

China protects the lawful rights and interests of permanent offices of foreign news agencies and foreign journalists on news coverage in China, but will never tolerate the act of speaking for terrorism.

Since this statement went public, I have noted that Ursula Gauthier tried to justify herself. I want to say that her arguments are futile as they evaded the nature of the issue and avoided the real question here. She claimed that relevant measures were a result of her criticism on China's ethnic policies. I think you are all clear that she has been working and living in China for 15 years. During these 15 years, she has been critical of China on many issues, yet she encountered no problem working in China. She also argued that China suppresses freedom of expression and thus would not allow her to work and report in China as a correspondent. I also want to remind her that among the 611 journalists from over 300 foreign news agencies, 610 of them have got their press credentials extended. Maybe she should have more self-examination.

Q: Japan and the ROK held a foreign ministers' meeting today, which is cited as a possible sign of improving bilateral relations. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the relevant report. We hope that the improvement of bilateral ties between the ROK and Japan will be conducive to maintaining regional stability and development and keeping relevant country on the path of peaceful development.

Q: In the draft anti-terrorism law, there was a provision that requires foreign companies to keep servers and user date within China. But this requirement was not found in the final version. Why is this so? Is it due to criticism from the western countries?

A: Officials in charge from the National People's Congress have given a detailed explanation. I want to stress two points:

First, this piece of legislation is the answer to the latest situation and our objective needs.

Second, if you do some research, you will find no difference between the provision and relevant legislation by western countries. I believe double standards have no place to play on this issue.

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