|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on July 14, 2009|
On the afternoon of July 14, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, Ladies and gentlemen. I have an announcement to start with.
The 15th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement will be held from July 15 to 16 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei will head the Chinese delegation to attend the Summit.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: It is reported that the Australian side has summoned the Chinese Ambassador on the case of the arrest of staff members from Rio Tinto. Could you confirm? Secondly, the Chinese Government immediately set up a media center in Urumqi after the July 5 incident in Xinjiang. Will China take similar measures concerning media report in dealing with emergencies in the future?
A: As for staff members of Rio Tinto stealing China's state secrets, the competent authorities will handle the case according to law.
As for your second question, relevant authorities of China took measures to facilitate the work of foreign and domestic media in Urumqi. The purpose is simple, we hope that the media could cover the incident fairly, objectively and faithfully. Some people asked me, compared with March 14 incident in Lhasa last year, why does China adopt a different approach this time? The answer is, we want to see less distortion, fabrication and defamation in the reports. It takes time though. The international coverage of the incident is not free of these phenomena, which we hope to see less and less in the future. And we hope to see less biased, distorted and misleading reports.
Q: The Chinese Government has been saying that it has solid evidence to prove that July 5 incident in Urumqi was incited by overseas separatist forces headed by the Uighur World Congress. Has the Chinese Government ever suspected some foreign governments are behind the Uighur World Congress?
A: We resolutely oppose any foreign country and foreign force to connive at and support the Three Forces and we urge them to immediately stop their support to the Three Forces including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement forces.
Follow-up: You just said you urge them to stop their support to the Three Forces, which means the Chinese Government believes some foreign governments do back the Uighur World Congress and Rebiya Kadeer. Which countries are they?
A: Substantial facts have proven that in recent years, the Three Forces in and outside China have been engaged in activities undermining China's national security. Some countries have harbored and even financed these groups. We hope and strongly urge these countries to stop their assistance and support in whatever form.
Q: According to Chinese media, besides Rio Tinto, senior executives from other five steel plants have been detained or questioned. Do you have any comment? Does this mean a wider scope of probe going on about the espionage case?
A: On the Rio Tinto case, competent authorities in China are conducting investigations according to law. Hence, it is natural that some people are being investigated or questioned. I don't have any specific information, but I can assure you that the related actions are carried out in line with both facts and law.
Q: What message will this deliver to the multinationals doing business in China?
A: As I said before, the Rio Tinto case is an individual judicial case. Lawful actions have been taken by relevant authorities against those in Rio Tinto for stealing state secrets and gravely impairing China's economic security and interests.
However, this does not mean that we are going to restrict foreign business in China or the cooperation between foreign and Chinese enterprises. China unswervingly practices an opening-up strategy featuring mutual-benefit. Since the reform and opening-up, China has attracted a large amount of foreign investment, which is not only beneficial to China, but also to those foreign enterprises as well as their countries. China ranks the first among developing countries in attracting foreign investment for 17 consecutive years. This by no means is a coincidence. One of the significant factors is that China's legal system has been improving and the Chinese Government guarantees the lawful rights and interests of foreign enterprises in China. Meanwhile, foreign enterprises have the responsibility and obligation to observe China's laws and regulations.
In the future, we will continue to create favorable conditions for foreign investment in China and the cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises. Most foreign enterprises think positively of China's investment environment. However, if any foreigner or foreign company violates Chinese law, the case have to be handled according to law.
Q: Is China worried that the Urumqi incident will trigger a wave of revenge against China's overseas enterprises and citizens from Islamic extremists?
A: We have made our position on July 5 incident very clear on many occasions that it is a serious crime of violence carefully plotted and organized by the Three Forces aimed to separate China and undermine ethnic solidarity. The actions taken by the Chinese Government according to law is to stop this crime, restore social order and safeguard ethnic solidarity, which is not targeted at any ethnic group or religion. It would be very irresponsible and extremely dangerous to circulate the so-called ethnic confrontation or religious conflict. We need to build a harmonious world in which different civilizations respect each other, conduct exchanges on an equal footing and carry out mutually-beneficial cooperation. Instigating ethnic confrontation and religious conflict will only undermine regional and world peace and stability.
We hope that the Islamic countries and our Muslim brothers could see the truth of July 5 incident in Urumqi, and I believe if they do so, they will surely understand and support China's ethnic and religious policy and the measures adopted to handle the incident. China and the Islamic countries have long been respecting and supporting each other and the Chinese Government and people always firmly support the just cause of the Islamic countries to pursue national independence and safeguard state sovereignty. We enjoy profound basis for our relations, one of which is that we respect, understand and support major concerns and core interests of each other.
We believe that China and Islamic countries further develop their ties through joint efforts on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, in particular, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The Chinese Government resolutely opposes terrorism in whatever form and stands ready to enhance cooperation with relevant countries in combating terrorism so as to protect the safety of China's overseas institutions and citizens.
Q: Are there any foreign iron ore enterprises related to Rio Tinto case under investigation?
A: I am not aware of the specifics. The Foreign Ministry is not the authority in charge of the case.
Q: Some Chinese media compare Rebiya Kadeer to Dalai Lama. How do you comment on that?
A: One is a female, while the other is a male. But they do have something in common, that is, they are both engaged in activities to split the motherland and undermine ethnic solidarity.
Q: On the sidelines of the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Egypt, Indian Prime Minister will meet his Pakistani counterpart. This will be their first meeting after the terrorist attack in Bombay. As the common neighbor of the two countries, how do you comment on that?
A: Both India and Pakistan are China's neighbours. China is happy to see they properly resolve their dispute through negotiation and dialogue. The improvement of their relations is conducive to peace, stability and common development in South Asia. We are glad that the two leaders will meet each other during the Summit.
Q: A Chinese official confirmed when answering a question from a US journalist that China has agreed to the resolution to freeze the bank accounts of 15 senior DPRK officials. Are their accounts in Macau SAR included? Is there any difference in the extent and level concerning China's implementation of the sanctions this time compared with Resolution 1718 in 2006? Third, this year is the Year of China-DPRK Friendship and marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK. What is the diplomatic agenda between China and the DPRK in the latter half of the year?
A: First, I have not heard about the information you mentioned. I don't know whether it's accurate or not. But I can assure you that the Chinese Government has been faithfully implementing UN Resolutions, and there is no exception on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
This year is the Year of China-DPRK Friendship and marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK. There are some activities for celebration and commemoration.
Q: According to the report of the South China Morning Post, al-Qaeda threatens retaliation against the Chinese in North Africa. Have you heard about it?
A: July 5 Incident is a severe violent crime orchestrated and organized by the Three Forces in and out of China. It is neither a religious issue nor an ethnic one. The Chinese Government takes relevant measures in accordance with the law to safeguard national unity, ethnic solidarity and social stability. The Chinese Government is firmly against terrorism in all forms. We will follow closely the relevant development and join hands with other countries to take necessary measures with a view to protecting the safety of overseas Chinese institutions and personnel.
Q: Some Indian and Pakistani media reported that China has expressed to Pakistan its concerns that some Uyghur organizations engage in anti-China separatist activities on the Pakistani territory. Could you share with us some more information?
A: We have reiterated that relevant countries in the region including China and Pakistan need to enhance cooperation and jointly fight against the Three Forces to safeguard our common peace and tranquility. China has maintained close communication and cooperation with Pakistan in this regard.
Q: After July 5 Incident. Journalists from three countries were detained by the police when they did coverage there. There was no clear restriction on the streets. Could you explain it?
A: First, we would like to facilitate the proper and lawful coverage activities by the foreign journalists in Urumqi. What you mentioned is due to the fact that some foreign journalists disregarded advice from the competent Chinese authorities. Their coverage activity caused some extremist acts of some people on the spot. Some law-enforcement personnel were injured when they were carrying out their duties. Under such circumstances, the competent authorities brought the several journalists away from the spot in accordance with law. We have reiterated that we hope journalists abide by the Chinese laws and local regulations and refrain from stiring up instability or creating news in their coverage work. The competent authorities of China will take measures in accordance with the law if any incident erupted during the process. My colleagues have made explanations to your news agency days ago. Today since you raised the question again here, I would like to remind the foreign media again to pay attention to this point.
Q: On the threats from al-Qaeda to the overseas Chinese people and companies, will China issue any security warning? How do you see the possibility of attacks by al-Qaeda? Have you made detailed preparation to deal with it?
A: Terrorism, a kind of non-traditional security threat, has become a more and more severe challenge to the whole world. It is not only faced by China but by other countries. In recent years, the Chinese Government has paid more and more attention to the safety of overseas Chinese people and institutions by timely reminding and helping them to enhance self-protection. At the same time, we have increased bilateral and multilateral communication and cooperation to jointly guarantee the security of overseas Chinese people and institutions.
Q: The U.S. announced that China-US Strategic And Economic Dialogue will be held late this month. What is your expectation about the Dialogue?
A: China and the U.S. have agreed to hold the first China-US Strategic And Economic Dialogue (SAED) in Washington late this month. We hope to exchange views with the U.S. on China-US relations and some strategic, comprehensive and long term issues in global affairs so as to enhance mutual trust, deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation, and ensure the development of a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship in the 21st century. Under the current situation, it would be a major topic in the Dialogue, especially the Economic Dialogue, on how to deal with the in-depth development and wide spread of the international financial crisis and promote the early recovery of the world economy. On the Strategic Dialogue, China and the U.S. will exchange views on bilateral and major international and regional issues.
If there are no other questions, thank you. See you.