عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on February 24, 2022

AFP: China has consistently refrained from condemning Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine. Now that President Putin has begun an invasion. Will China finally condemn Russia’s actions?

Hua Chunying: China is closely monitoring the latest developments. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control.

Global Times: According to reports, Beijing-based Qi An Pangu lab released a report on February 23. It found that Equation, the hacking group under the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been creating a top-of-the-line backdoor and conducting a decade-long cyber attack operation called “Telescreen” (Bvp47) against 45 countries and regions, including China, Russia, Japan, the ROK, India, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Thailand, Egypt and Brazil. The operation covers such industries as communications, universities, research institutions, economic and military sectors. Some of the attacks even use Japan as a springboard to attack other countries. As we understand, this is the first time that a Chinese cybersecurity lab has publicly exposed the complete chain of technical evidence about the cyber attack launched by the NSA. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: We noted relevant news reports and the technical report. We express grave concern over the irresponsible, malicious cyber activities exposed by the report and strongly urge the US to offer an explanation and immediately stop such activities. China will take necessary measures to uphold China’s cybersecurity and interests.

According to the report, Equation, a hacking group affiliated with the NSA, has conducted cyber attacks against Chinese communications, scientific research departments and economic sectors for more than a decade. Previously, Chinese cybersecurity company 360 also released a report to expose that APT-C-39, a cyber attack organization of the US government, has launched large-scale attacks on China, which could cause serious leak of massive personal information and data, business secrets and intellectual property and undermine the security of China’s critical infrastructure. It is worth noticing that relevant attacks date back to as early as 2005, and last until 2015 and beyond. We cannot help but ask whether the US is sincere about implementing the consensus on cybersecurity reached with China in 2015. 

The US intelligence law allows the US government to carry out massive and indiscriminate information and data theft including on its allies. Edward Snowden and Wikileaks have exposed how the US government engaged in large-scale surveillance and theft of secrets all around the world. The revelations from this report show that besides China and other major developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the US doesn’t even spare its allies and partners, and its cyber attacks even cover its European allies, its fellow members of the Quad and the Five Eyes. At present, the US is actively seeking bilateral and multilateral cybersecurity cooperation globally in the name of helping other countries to improve capability. One cannot help but wonder what is its real intention.

Cyberspace is a shared homeland for humanity and cybersecurity is a common challenge faced by all countries. We hope the US will take a responsible attitude and uphold peace and security in cyberspace through dialogue and cooperation with all parties. 

Bloomberg: Can you say then China considers Russia’s action an invasion? Is it an invasion? Is it a violation of the UN Charter?

Hua Chunying: We have stated China’s principled position on the Ukraine issue. There is a complex historical background and context on this issue. The current situation is the result of the interplay of various factors.

We noted that today Russia announced its launch of a special military operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s defense ministry said that its armed forces will not conduct missile, air or artillery strikes on cities. China is closely monitoring the latest developments and calls on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control.

I would like to stress once again China’s consistent position. We should pursue common, cooperative and sustainable security for all countries. The legitimate security concerns of all sides should be respected and resolved. We hope all sides will keep the door to peace open and continue to work for deescalation through dialogue, consultation and negotiation and prevent further escalation.

CCTV: Speaking on the Ukraine issue, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that China should respect the principle of state sovereignty and territorial integrity and that China has an obligation to urge Russia to “back down”. He also said the growing relationship between China and Russia is concerning. The two sides’ joint statement shows that China is trying to use its influence on Russia to create a world order both want. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: I noted the remarks by the US State Department spokesperson.

First, when it comes to respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity, I’m afraid the US is in no position to tell China off. The Chinese people have deep understanding and strong feelings about state sovereignty and territorial integrity through first-hand experience. Recent history saw China invaded by the Eight-Power Allied Forces and other colonialist powers, which left behind indelible poignant memories of national humiliation. Just a little more than 20 years ago, the Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was hit by NATO bombing, which killed three Chinese journalists and injured many more. NATO still owes the Chinese people a debt of blood. Even today, China still faces a realistic threat from the US flanked by its several allies as they wantonly and grossly meddle in China’s domestic affairs and undermine China’s sovereignty and security on issues including Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan. China remains the only permanent member of the Security Council that has yet to realize complete national reunification. It is because of all these that China consistently and firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations, firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and firmly defend international equity and justice.

If we look at the US, during its nearly 250 years of history, there were only 20 years when it was not conducting military operations overseas. The pretexts it used can be democracy or human rights or simply a test tube of laundry powder or even fake news. Such a country’s understanding of respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity is definitely different from ours. The international community can see this very clearly.

The US side suggests that Russia acted with complicit support from China. I don’t believe Russia would be too pleased to hear that. Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an independent major power. It is fully capable of formulating and implementing its diplomatic strategy independently based on its judgement and national interests.

I must also stress that China-Russia relations are based on the foundation of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party. This differs fundamentally and essentially from the practice of the US, which is, ganging up to form small cliques and pursuing bloc politics to create confrontation and division based on ideology. China has no interest in the friend-or-foe dichotomous Cold War thinking and the patchwork of so-called allies and small cliques and has no intention to follow such a path.

As to the China-Russia joint statement, I suggest the US side give it some further study. China and Russia aim to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, firmly uphold the international system with the UN’s central coordinating role in international affairs, and firmly safeguard the international order based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law. This shows exactly that China and Russia are acting responsibly and positively maintaining international strategic security and stability.

ITV News: Despite the scenes that we have seen from Ukraine this morning, you seem to suggest that peace is still possible. Does President Xi plan to phone his close friend President Putin and appeal for some calm and potential diplomatic solution?

Hua Chunying: The door to peace should never be shut casually. Even with the latest developments in Ukraine, we still call on all sides concerned to exercise restraint and take constructive steps to ease the situation as soon as possible and prevent the situation from getting out of control.

China consistently holds that all sides should respect and take seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns and strive to resolve regional hotspot issues peacefully through negotiation and consultation. Yesterday I shared the efforts made by China to promote a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine issue. President Xi Jinping, during a phone call with French President Macron, called on all sides to adhere to the direction of political resolution, assume their responsibility and work for peace. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also stressed the importance of this.

CCTV: ROK Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong reportedly expressed deep concerns over Japan’s move to have a group of gold mines on Sado Island listed as a world heritage site in a meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris on February 22, stressing that the island is linked to the forced labor of Koreans. Director-General Azoulay said UNESCO fully understood Seoul’s concerns and will continue to follow how Japan honors its pledge made in a previous bid. Does China have any comment?

Hua Chunying: China’s position on Japan’s forced recruitment of laborers is consistent and clear. We fully understand and support the ROK’s attitude. Forced recruitment and enslavement of laborers is a grave crime committed by the Japanese militarism during its overseas aggression and colonial rule. It shall not be denied or whitewashed in any way. In a similar bid previously, Japan admitted that there was forced labor at some of the sites involving workers from China, the Korean Peninsula and other Asian countries, and promised to set up an information center to display historical records and honor the victims, but it never fulfilled the promise. Now again ignoring the painful memories of its neighbors, Japan is trying to make a similar new bid. Naturally other sides will question its true intention.

Japan should face up to and reflect upon history, adopt an honest and responsible attitude and take concrete actions to properly handle issues left over from history, lest it should further lose the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.

AFP: During yesterday’s press conference, the Foreign Ministry criticized the United States for raising tensions and creating panic. Do the events of the last 24 hours show that Americans’ warnings are justified? And should China have heeded such warnings and asked its citizens to leave Ukraine?

Hua Chunying: The US has been increasing tensions and hyping up war for some time. Do you know how many arms and ammunition the US has sent to Ukraine?

If all parties had done more to promote peace, showed more respect and accommodation for each other’s security concerns, and reasonably and properly resolved the issue to enable a soft landing, what the situation would have been today? The US signaled that Russia would launch large-scale invasion on February 16, and Russia dismissed that as disinformation. Would you like to see the false alarm of the US become a reality, or to see the problems nipped in the bud and not develop to the current point with true care for the Ukrainian people and regional peace and security?

From the very beginning, China has taken a responsible attitude and persuaded all parties not to escalate tensions or incite war. I think what China is doing is very responsible. Those who follow the US’ lead in fanning up flames and then shifting the blame onto others are truly irresponsible. As the culprit, the person who started the fire should think about how to put it out as soon as possible.

CGTN: According to reports, Chinese students in the US have reported being subjected to harassment and interrogation for extended periods of time, and even deportation in some cases. They said that the US side rudely questioned whether they are CPC members, restricted their personal freedom for long periods of time, and refused their requests to contact families and local Chinese embassy and consulates. Do you have any comment on that?

Hua Chunying: China deplores and rejects the US’ vile act of continuous interrogation, harassment and repatriation of Chinese students and discrimination against CPC members. The Chinese side lodged stern representations with the US side every time it learned of such incidents.

The discriminatory and malignant practice of the US gravely violates the basic human rights, fundamental freedoms and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens pursuing studies in the US and severely undermines the normal people-to-people, cultural and educational cooperation between the two countries. And yet the US styles itself as a “human rights defender” and a “beacon of freedom”. Nothing could be more ironic. Such actions run counter to its statements that “the US welcomes Chinese students” and “we should encourage the younger generation to interact more and be more exposed to each other’s culture”. They also run counter to the shared aspiration of the Chinese and American people for friendly exchanges. The frequent acts by the US aimed at suppressing Chinese students reflect its sinister psyche and are symptoms of its loss of confidence. They will not make the US safer or stronger, but will only hurt its interests, image and reputation.

We urge the US to immediately rectify its mistakes, stop creating ideological confrontation, or even attempt to use it as a pretext to suppress and harass Chinese students and harm the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of the Chinese personnel concerned.

Bloomberg: A question on oil prices. Given the oil prices are rising amid the Ukraine crisis, will China be on board with releasing strategic oil reserves in sync with the United States to quell the gains?

Hua Chunying: We believe that under the current circumstances, all parties should exercise restraint and ease tensions through dialogue and negotiation. Only when the situation stabilizes can spillover effects of various types be prevented. And I also want to say that the world today is not peaceful and there have been enough problems. Truly responsible countries should take responsible actions to jointly safeguard global energy security, maintain security and stability of the global supply and industry chain, and avoid regional tensions that impact the security and stability of the international energy market.

Beijing Youth Daily: China said earlier this month that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s visit to China and the signing of the China-US Shanghai Communiqué. China and the US will hold a series of commemorative activities in the near future. We have noticed that the US government has not made any comment on the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s visit to China. US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on February 23 that the US has no plans at the moment for a statement on the 50th anniversary of Nixon’s visit to China. Do you have any comment? Could you give us more details on what commemorative activities China plans to hold?

Hua Chunying: As to whether the US would issue a statement or why they wouldn’t, you should ask the US side. 

Yesterday, I reviewed with you at this podium the main content of the Shanghai Communiqué issued by China and the United States during President Nixon’s visit to China 50 years ago. The one-China principle affirmed in the Shanghai Communiqué, as well as the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, constitute the political foundation for the normalization of China-US relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Certain details you are interested in are somehow interesting. It is understandable that the attitude of the US has caused some speculation and associations by correspondents. However, I believe it is all the more necessary and relevant for the US to revisit the spirit and inspiration of the Shanghai Communiqué today when China-US relations are facing difficulties and challenges.

As far as I know, the two sides will hold some commemorative activities together in the near future, and some representatives and guests from both sides will attend. Relevant activities are still being scheduled. If there is any information on the specifics, we will release it in a timely manner.

Hubei Media Group: According to reports, Member of the European Parliament Herve Juvin said that on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, the US is a fomenter of the conflict and hopes to take advantage of it to control Europe and obstruct European independence on security affairs. He believes that the US wants to sabotage the relations between Russia and the EU and rope the latter in onto the track of confrontation against Russia. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: With regard to the role of the US in the current situation in Ukraine, I noticed that apart from this MEP, some European media have also made their reflections and observations. 

Recently the EU, France and Germany have made a lot of efforts through diplomatic mediation in order to ease the tension. The current situation is certainly contrary to Europe’s interests. The European side should indeed think seriously about what is truly conducive to maintaining peace and stability in Europe, and what is the best way to uphold long-term peace and stability in Europe.

AFP: The Russians said they would not attack cities and they announced they were clearly targeting military targets. So is it okay for you to invade another country as long as they are hitting on military targets and not cities? And then you also said that the US has been supplying ammunition to Ukraine. But is it not the right of any sovereign country to buy arms and ammunition wherever it wants in order to protect itself?

Hua Chunying: I’m sure you have noticed that Russia stated that in its special military operation in Ukraine, its armed forces will not conduct any missile of artillery strikes on any Ukrainian city.

As to the definition of “invasion”, it brings us back to how we view the current situation in Ukraine. As we have stated repeatedly, the Ukraine issue has a very complicated historical background and context. The current state of affairs is not what we would hope to see. It’s hoped that all sides will work in concert to give peace a chance and strive to ease the situation as soon as possible through dialogue, consultation and negotiation.

As to the right of sovereign countries to buy arms, I have a question for you. If two people near you are arguing and a fist fight seems to be coming next, what will you do? Hand one of them a gun, a knife or some other sorts of weapon? Or break up the fight with persuasion first and then get to know the whole story leading to the argument and helping them resolve the issue peacefully? It’s as simple as that. Weapons can never solve all problems. This is not the time to pour oil on the flame, but to put our heads together to come up with a way to put out the fire and safeguard peace.

Here is another question. Western media used the word “invasion” for Russia’s operation. When the US took illegal unilateral military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan without the mandate of the UN and caused massive civilian casualties, did you use the word “invasion” or some other word?   

Anadolu Agency: But according to Russian Defense Ministry’s statement, Russian army targeted air defenses of Ukraine this morning. So it’s usually considered as the start of an invasion. If this happens, will China see this as an aggression and an attack on a sovereign state?

Hua Chunying: China is closely following the development of the situation. The current situation in Ukraine is not what we wish to see. So we continue to call on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible so as to ease the tension.

Beijing Daily: It is reported that Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said that the China Initiative is “not the right approach”. The Initiative lowers the threshold of the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute China-related criminal acts, and applies different standards based on race, ethnicity or family relations. The DOJ is ending the China Initiative, but will continue to prioritize handling and proactively fight back any actions that harm US citizens and institutions, which requires a new set of comprehensive counter measures. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: The so-called China Initiative is the poisonous legacy of the previous administration, and should have been abolished long ago.

Facts have proven that the Initiative is in essence a tool for a handful of anti-China forces in the US to abuse the concept of national security and go all out to contain and suppress China. It exacerbates racial discrimination in the US, severely harms Asian-American groups, and also poisons the atmosphere of China-US mutual trust and cooperation. The Foreign Ministry of China and the Chinese Embassy in the US lodged multiple solemn representations on different levels from the very beginning to urge the US side to stop implementing the Initiative.

The US media have revealed repeatedly that the so-called China Initiative set targets first and carried out investigation accordingly. Such acts, in total disregard of judicial justice, will only result in wrongful convictions. It is reported that over the past two years, most of the so-called China-Related Cases Examples under this initiative did not involve intellectual property or commercial theft. Most of the charges range from fraud to misrepresentation to tax evasion. Nearly 2,000 university scholars across the US signed an open letter to the US Department of Justice in protest of this initiative. More than 20 Asian-American groups in the US sent a joint letter to the US President demanding the end of this Initiative. Not long ago, the United Chinese Americans protested outside the US DOJ demanding the end of China Initiative. A total of 192 Yale professors wrote and signed a letter to the Attorney General pointing out that the strategy has “fundamental flaws”. With all these voices against this initiative, it is clear that the initiative finds no support and will hurt the interests of all.

We urge the US side to stop hyping up the so-called China threat, stop seeing China as an imaginary enemy, stop smearing and suppressing China with fabricated pretexts, and stop disrupting and undermining normal China-US exchange and cooperation in all sectors, to root out the poisonous legacy of the former administration and do more to promote the steady development of China-US relations, and mutual trust and cooperation.

CNBC: China is a trading partner of Ukraine and Russia. On Tuesday, I saw an announcement that due to the overseas market conditions, China may be buying more edible oils. And also we just saw the Customs bureau said China can import wheat from Russia. Given the current situation, does China have any plans to increase or decrease trade with each of these countries?

Hua Chunying: China will continue to carry out normal trade cooperation with Russia and Ukraine in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. 

AFP: Has China spoken to the Ukrainian side in the last 24 hours or so since military operations began? Specifically, has China spoken to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, or does it plan to do so?

Hua Chunying: All parties are very busy now. We are closely following the development of the situation and continue to call on all parties to exercise restraint and commit to easing the tension through dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible to prevent the situation from getting out of control.

Reuters: Has China provided Russia with any military equipment, or does it plan on providing any military or otherwise support for Russia during this conflict?

Hua Chunying: On this issue, there is a fundamental difference between China and the US. When we see the risk of conflict, we won’t do the same as the US, who has offered Ukraine a large amount of military equipment. I believe that as a strong country, Russia doesn’t need China or other countries to provide weapons to it. 

AFP: Just earlier, you mentioned the mediation efforts by France and Germany in this dispute. Now these two countries have very clearly condemned Russia’s action. Don’t you think this is proof that negotiating efforts are useless, and the only thing to make Russia move back is the very strong condemnation from the whole international community, including China? 

Hua Chunying: For some time, some European countries including France and Germany have conducted mediation. The Ukraine issue is very complex. Dr. Kissinger made some public observations on Ukraine more than seven years ago. He said, if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between the East and the West.

An outsider is clear-minded. All parties of the international community should calmly learn about the historical merits of the evolving Ukraine issue. On this basis, they should work to ease the situation as soon as possible through dialogue and negotiation, prevent the situation from getting out of control and peacefully resolve the issue. Europe should think over what kind of security landscape best meets its interests.

You mentioned condemning Russia. I’m not sure whether the friends of a certain country have done their best to prevent it from going down the wrong path before there was no turning back when it set the fire and fanned the flames. No one wishes to see or stands to benefit from the current situation. We hope all parties can work together, and call on relevant parties to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from further spiraling out of control.

Reuters: You just said we hope for all sides to calm down and prevent escalation. We know China has said this many times. Will China call on Russia to withdraw? 

Hua Chunying: We call on all relevant parties concerned to exercise restraint.

AFP: You mentioned the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I’m quite sure my agency at that time spoke about invasion. So yesterday you mentioned what has happened in Iraq was the US violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. Now how come you are not able to say the same thing about Ukraine? Can you explain to us what’s the difference between the situation in Ukraine and the situation in Iraq? Is there a case of double standard? Is it okay for Russia to invade Ukraine and not okay for the US to invade Iraq?

Hua Chunying: “Double standard” can never be pinned on China because our position is aboveboard. China always believes that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be jointly upheld. These are our longstanding principles and basic norms governing international relations that should be followed by all countries.

At the same time, China believes that one country’s security cannot be at the expense of others’ security; still less should one country flagrantly undermine others’ sovereign security for his absolute security advantage. All countries’ legitimate security concerns should be respected.

You should know the whole story of Iraq. The then US Secretary of State launched military attacks on Iraq with a vial of detergent and a trumped-up charge and plunged the Iraqi people into grave disasters. This constitutes out-and-out invasion, which is a consensus of the international community.

You must have read President Putin’s remarks. I’m not the Spokesperson for Russian Foreign Ministry, and will not speak for their position. But I suppose, outsiders should uphold objectivity and fairness, and see the complex historical merits as well as their interplay and evolution on the Ukraine issue.

An unbiased mediator should not only see what is happening at the moment but also the whole story. He should not only treat the symptom but also the root cause. That is why China has been calling on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and stay committed to resolving the issue through dialogue and negotiation. 

Reuters: Does China believe Ukraine is a sovereign country?

Hua Chunying: Ukraine is for sure a sovereign country. China and Ukraine conduct friendly cooperation on the basis of mutual respect.

Reuters: How many Chinese citizens are currently in Ukraine? And what is the latest instruction that China is planning on giving them?

Hua Chunying: I don’t have the specific number of Chinese citizens in Ukraine at the moment. China’s Embassy in Ukraine has issued a security alert. Given the current situation, we remind Chinese citizens and companies to protect their own safety and prevent accidents and injuries. The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine is also in touch with our students and the Chinese business council in Ukraine, reminds them to keep following information from the embassy, and alerts Chinese citizens in Ukraine not to travel to unstable regions. Besides, the embassy also calls on Chinese citizens in Ukraine to demonstrate Chinese people’s fine tradition of working in solidarity and offering each other help. If anyone is in trouble, we hope others can lend a helping hand and give each other warmth during trying times. The embassy also reminds Chinese citizens not to panic. Anyone in trouble will receive all-out assistance from the Chinese embassy.

Reuters: Did Vladimir Putin tell China that he will invade Ukraine when he visited China a few weeks ago?

Hua Chunying: On February 4, President Putin visited China for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and held a meeting with President Xi Jinping. The readout has been released, which you may refer to carefully.

As I said just now, Russia is an independent major country. It independently decides and implements its diplomacy and strategy based on its strategic judgement and interests. Russia does not need to get others’ consent before making diplomatic decisions and taking actions.

AFP: Are there any other circumstances whatsoever under which China would condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine? Specifically, what will Russia do to see condemnation from China?

Hua Chunying: Why are you obsessed with China’s condemnation?

We have said that the historical merits of the Ukraine issue are very complex. The current situation after evolution is the result of multiple factors at play. The correct way is to learn the whole story and the evolving process objectively before resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation. The security of all countries should be common, comprehensive and sustainable. And only security like this is lasting.

You keep asking when will China join the US and some European countries to condemn Russia. This reminds me that it is the handful of countries you raised, including the US, that have been interfering in China’s internal affairs and attacking China based on disinformation.

In international relations, the last thing one should do is to impose his will on others. One should instead allow all countries to make independent judgement based on the merits of the matter itself.

AFP: China has been accused of committing genocide in Xinjiang, an accusation that has been called “lie of the century”. Now Russia is saying that the genocide of Russians happening in Ukraine is one of the justifications for its invasion in Ukraine. Has Russia showed you any evidence that genocide is happening in Ukraine? And if it’s not the case, are you prepared to say that this is also a lie of the century?

Hua Chunying: I can tell you, I cannot make any comparison between what happens in China’s Xinjiang and eastern Ukraine because I don’t know what happened in the latter. So we’re not going to rush to any conclusions. But I can tell you very clearly, please stop using the word “genocide” when it comes to Xinjiang the next time you write your reports because it is an out-and-out lie of the century. And I have a better right and I am in a better position to brief you on the situation of my own country.

The Chinese government has for numerous times proved to you with facts that the so-called genocide in Xinjiang is the biggest lie of the century. I hope you can listen to what we said. In recent years, more than 2,000 government officials, religious personnel and journalists, including resident foreign correspondents in China, from over 100 countries and organizations have visited Xinjiang. What they see is a peaceful and harmonious Xinjiang with steady development, where people of all ethnic groups enjoy freedom of religious belief in Xinjiang. This are the facts and truth about Xinjiang. I also need to tell you that some preventive deradicalization measures in Xinjiang are similar to the counterterrorism and deradicalization measures like “community correction” in France. 

Therefore, I hope that you will not have any prejudice against China on this issue or make groundless accusations against China based on disinformation. It is because some of you have always condemned China on this issue that I am very unhappy to hear you use the word “condemn”. Accusations must be based on facts, and should be used with caution before the full picture is known.

I also hope that after the epidemic, I can find a right opportunity to take you to Xinjiang to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Xinjiang and see what kind of life people there are leading with your own eyes. I think when the truth of Xinjiang and people’s life there spread around the world through your reports, ethnic minorities in many other countries will be very envious of the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

AFP: Is there a coincidence between the fact that President Putin was here for the opening of the Olympics and then it seemed that he’s waited until the Olympics to be over to launch offensive acts against Ukraine? Do you think Russia should wait until the end of the Paralympic Games on March 13 before targeting its neighbor?

Hua Chunying: AFP’s imagination is as rich as ever. I can tell you that more than 30 international dignitaries attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in China, including President Putin. The two heads of state exchanged views on China-Russia relations and issues of common concern. We have released relevant information in a timely and detailed manner.

Russia is an independent major country, and it decides its policy and actions independently according to its own strategic judgment and interests. As to the question concerning the timing of Russia’s move, you might have to ask Russia.

The Beijing Winter Olympics was splendid, safe and successful. We believe the Beijing Winter Paralympics will be equally splendid, safe and successful.

Dragon TV: The Washington Post reported on February 23 that the Beijing Winter Olympics was a disaster for broadcaster NBC and the sponsors. Prime-time viewership plummeted more than 40 percent from four years ago, hitting record lows. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: That was according to the Washington Post. I’m not sure NBC would agree. What I have noted is that the CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) said that the Beijing Winter Olympics is the most watched Winter Olympics with new records in terms of broadcast hours, technology and content. It is also the most viewed Winter Olympics on NBC’s digital platforms. The IOC said that the Games set many records with the widest digital interaction, the longest broadcast hours and the highest viewership at the opening ceremony. The Games saw billions of interactions on digital platforms. During the Games, a record 64 million people followed the events through the Olympic website and APP. The Olympic channel on YouTube was watched by 58 percent more views than the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. On TikTok, hashtag OlympicSpirit videos tallied more than 2.1 billion views.

Against the backdrop of the lingering global pandemic, especially with the rampant Omicron variant, China has honored its commitment as scheduled and presented a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics to the world. This is a success for the Chinese people and the people of the whole world. We noted that the international community has spoken positively of the Games. IOC President Bach awarded the Olympic Cup to the Chinese people. His deeply moving address at the closing ceremony was received with rounds of applause from the audience. He described Beijing 2022 as a truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games.

If a handful of media outlets or individuals choose deliberately to ignore the excellent events for political reasons and to ignore the uplifting spirit and message for solidarity, peace and cooperation conveyed by the Games, then it’s their loss.

Reuters: Does China think Russia’s action is an invasion of Ukraine? If not, why not?

Hua Chunying: A suggestion for you. You may go ask the US: they started the fire and fanned the flames, how are they going to put out the fire now?

Reuters: Is China satisfied that it’s proactively enough in the effort to achieve peace in Ukraine?

Hua Chunying: We want peace in Ukraine and do not want to see the situation in Ukraine evolve to what it is today. We call on all parties to ease tension through dialogue and exercise restraint. In the meantime, we have to bear in mind that everything happens for a reason. Not only the symptom but also the root cause should be addressed, which calls for the joint efforts of all parties concerned.

You have been latching on to China today. Is China a party directly concerned? Who is the one that started the fire, fanned the flames and added fuel to it? There is a Chinese saying that whoever started the trouble should end it. The Ukraine issue needs to be resolved by the parties directly concerned through negotiations. Some of the words you used could easily remind us of those groundless accusations against China based on a lot of disinformation and rumors, which made us feel uncomfortable and offended.

So I want you to be calm, sensible and restrained. I hope you will join China in calling on all parties to exercise restraint, do more to help put out the fire, and not to let the situation get further out of control.

Reuters: Did the Chinese leader give his blessing for President Putin to attack Ukraine?

Hua Chunying: I find such a way of questioning quite offensive frankly speaking. It exposes a certain stereotype of looking at China with preconceived notions, bias, arrogance and malicious characterization. China is not a direct party to this issue. All we have been doing is promoting peace talks. 

Yesterday I shared our observations about all the ins and outs on this matter. President Putin also delivered a detail-rich speech. Why don’t you take some time to read them? Why not cool down, cast aside your entrenched notions, and look at matters from a rational and objective perspective? Who started the fire? Who fanned the flames? Who keeps pouring oil on the flame? It takes the person who started the trouble to end it. The parties directly concerned should be the ones to resolve the issue through negotiation.

Russia is an independent major power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It makes foreign policy decisions independently. China’s position is very clear. On regional hotspot issues, we consistently call for peaceful resolution through dialogue, consultation and negotiation.

When countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan were hit by illegal military operations, and when the seven billion US dollars of assets of the Afghan people were illegally plundered by the US recently, did you condemn any of it? Did you speak up for fairness and justice? Did you question the US government? That’s why I don’t think your question has the objectivity that a professional journalist’s question should possess. You are not neutral. You subscribe to preconceived notions. As a journalist, you shouldn’t impose your presuppositions on others.

AFP: I understand you feel we are all very emotional about the issue. But I believe when there is war, there is bound to be casualties. What I meant to say is that Albania and the US are preparing a resolution at the UN Security Council, that will be put out tomorrow I guess New York Time, and put to a vote on Friday. Would you mind telling us what China’s vote will be on this resolution?

Hua Chunying: We will handle relevant issues based on China’s consistent position and in keeping with the principles of the UN Charter.

Suggest to a friend