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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 29, 2022

2022-04-29 22:45

CCTV: On April 28, the UN Security Council’s President issued a press statement to condemn the terrorist attack in the University of Karachi, Pakistan. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: On April 28, the Security Council issued a press statement to condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on the van of the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi, Pakistan. It expressed the deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments of Pakistan and China, underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of the terrorist attack to justice, and urged all states to cooperate actively with the Governments of Pakistan and China on this matter.

The Security Council press statement reflects the international community’s strong indignation over and stern condemnation of this terrorist act, as well as the sympathy and condolences for the Chinese and Pakistani civilians killed in the attack, which represents the feeling of the international community.

Justice will not be absent and the evil will be severely punished. Terrorism is the common enemy for all mankind and fighting terrorism is the shared responsibility of the international community. At present, international terrorism continues to pose serious threats to people’s safety and stability in all countries. All parties shall strengthen coordination and cooperation and take all measures to crack down on terrorism and jointly uphold world peace and tranquility. 

AFP: According to foreign media reports, President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China criticized the dynamic zero-COVID policy for having gravely impacted EU companies in China. Do you have any comment? Does China approve of taking further measures to mitigate the impact of epidemic control efforts on foreign companies?

Zhao Lijian: I have noted relevant reports. I also want to point out that when he mentioned the epidemic in China, he also made a positive judgment on China’s epidemic response in general. At the same time, he also said that China’s economic development prospects are bright, and the future of EU enterprises lies in China.

As for the epidemic in China, my colleagues and I have made comments at this podium on many occasions. The Information Office of the State Council holds regular press conferences on the epidemic situation in China. I believe you may have noted the readouts and attended those press conferences. I would like to stress that the dynamic zero policy for epidemic control is in line with China’s national conditions and based on science, and has achieved good prevention and control effects that are universally recognized. In 2021, a wave of outbreaks driven by the Delta variant once spread to more than 20 provinces in China. China swiftly took prevention and control measures to effectively deal with over 30 cluster outbreaks and put them under control within 14 days, which is basically the length of an incubation period. This effectively protected the safety and health of Chinese and foreign citizens living in China.

Now we are faced with a surge of COVID cases caused by the Omicron variant. This virus strain spreads very fast, far beyond our imagination. The active measures taken by some Chinese cities have achieved and are making positive gains as we speak. China has made important contribution to the global fight against COVID-19, which is highly commended by the international community.

Of course, the prevention and control measures have had some impact on people’s work and daily life. However, we have seen that the vast majority of the Chinese people as well as foreign citizens living and working in China and foreign businesses here have expressed their understanding and support for the epidemic prevention measures, and there have been many heart-warming stories. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the Chinese people and foreigners living in China, we have stood together and striven to rise above this round of Omicron outbreaks with great confidence and strength. We believe that with the concerted efforts of all sectors of society, we will win the battle against the epidemic and make greater contribution to the global COVID-19 response.

The Paper: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently visited Russia and Ukraine. He said the UN is committed to finding ways to create the conditions for effective dialogue and a ceasefire and a peaceful solution as soon as possible. He also called on both sides to end the conflict and realize peace following the values of the UN Charter and international law. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: We welcome UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ mediation efforts to deescalate the tension between Russia and Ukraine. China always supports Russia and Ukraine in overcoming difficulties to continue negotiations and welcomes the international community’s efforts that are conducive to promoting peace talks.

Two months into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the increasing spillover effects are disturbing. We have noted that there is a growing call among people in Europe for an early end to the conflict through dialogue and negotiation. The prolonged war and sanctions on Russia lead to a 44.7% growth of energy prices in the euro zone compared to last year, which is accompanied by increasing inflation and has had growing impact on ordinary people’s life. However, US arms and grain dealers and traders are raking in enormous profits. 

Under the current circumstances, the international community must choose solidarity, democracy, dialogue and negotiation and independence over division, hegemony, unilateral sanction and taking side. We need to work together to deescalate the conflict and achieve peace as soon as possible. China stands ready to play a constructive role along with all parties to this end. 

Bloomberg: A question on Ukraine-related issues. A report by Bloomberg today highlights that Russia’s war on Ukraine has triggered a profound reassessment in European capitals of their individual and collective relations with China. What’s the foreign ministry’s view on this?

Zhao Lijian: The EU and China are respectively the largest grouping of developed countries and the largest developing country, with extensive common interests and a deep foundation for cooperation. It is fair to say that a steady China-EU relationship is crucial for world peace, stability and development. China views its relations with the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective. We stand ready to work with the EU to build China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization. Indeed the EU needs to reflect upon the Russia-Ukraine conflict. My colleagues and I have repeatedly pointed out that the conflict may appear to be a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but in fact it is one between Russia and the US-led NATO. The EU should reflect on who is benefiting from this war, who has been turned into a battlefield in this war, and who has suffered the biggest loss during this war. With regard to China, we hope the EU will form its independent perception of China and follow an independent China policy, work with China to ensure the steady and sustained progress in China-EU relations and make greater contributions to world peace and prosperity.

CCTV: The fourth Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival and Quality African Products Online Shopping Festival kicked off yesterday. Coffee, wine, black tea and nuts from African countries enjoyed great popularity among Chinese consumers on the first day of their launch. Can you share more information?

Zhao Lijian: The fourth Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival and Quality African Products Online Shopping Festival began yesterday. Multiple provinces and cities actively pool strengths to promote quality products from Africa. Chinese consumers can find more than 200 specialties from over 20 African countries on various Chinese e-commerce platforms. Our journalist friends are welcome to shop around the special section of the Quality African Products Online Shopping Festival on the platforms. I’m sure your shopping carts will be full then.

I want to stress that the Quality African Products Online Shopping Festival is another concrete action taken by China to implement the nine programs announced by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the latest outcome of stronger cooperation on digital economy and expanded Silk Road e-commerce cooperation between China and Africa. China always delivers on its commitments instead of only paying lip service when it comes to cooperation with Africa. The fruitful outcomes over the past 20-plus years since the establishment of FOCAC have shown that China-Africa cooperation is a stellar example of South-South cooperation, and China and Africa will stay reliable partners shoulder to shoulder on the path of development and iron-clad friends sharing weal and woe together. China will continue to uphold and practice the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, and work with Africa to promote the orderly implementation of the outcomes of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC centered on the nine programs, so as to deliver more tangible benefits to the Chinese and African people.

Phoenix TV: Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said on April 27 when participating in the Raisina Dialogue in India that the “no limits” cooperation between Russia and China is a matter of great concern and like-minded countries must develop “great deterrence” by utilizing all forms of technology. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: An important takeaway from the success of China-Russia relations is that the two sides rise above the model of military and political alliance in the Cold War era, and commit themselves to developing a new model of international relations on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third countries. This is fundamentally different from the Cold War mentality behind some countries’ pursuit of small cliques and zero-sum game.

The US breached its assurances and continuously promoted the eastward expansion of NATO, which is undoubtedly responsible for the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has triggered an unprecedented refugee crisis as more than five million Ukrainians entered neighboring European countries, while the US is staging a political stunt in accepting refugees. Only 12 Ukrainians entered the US through the refugee program in March. As the UN and the international community call for an early end to the conflict, the US continues to add fuel to the fire, clamoring for a fight “to the last Ukrainian”. Besides, the US keeps providing funding and arms to Ukraine. What it is really trying to achieve here is not peace, but the continuation the conflict so that Russia will be weakened, as admitted by the US. 

Is the US bringing peace or war? Is it upholding security or causing turmoil? The world’s people have clear answers to those questions. 

People’s Daily: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: For 25 years since the CWC’s coming into effect, it has played an important role in safeguarding international peace and security. A total of 193 countries have committed to the convention and 99% of the chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed. Humanity is moving toward the vision for a world free of chemical weapons.

As a founding state party to the CWC and the second largest provider of the assessed contributions of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), China has made major contributions to maintaining global chemical disarmament and security governance system. China always upholds an objective and fair position, and put in notable efforts in promoting the settlement of hotspot issues including the issue of Syrian chemical weapons. China staunchly supports international cooperation in chemical industry and firmly defends developing countries’ legitimate rights to and interests in peaceful use, thus winning wide appreciation in the international community.

We should also note that there are multiple challenges to the comprehensive and balanced implementation of the CWC. The US is the only state that still has chemical weapons stockpiles as it has not completed the destruction of the stockpiles. Japan has repeatedly missed the deadlines for the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China, posing severe threats to the safety of Chinese people’s lives and property and the security of biological environment. Some countries used the issue of Syrian chemical weapons and other hotspots for political manipulation, gravely obstructing the normal operation of the OPCW. Relevant countries should work together with the entire international community, earnestly assume responsibility and fulfill obligation and jointly defend the authority of the CWC.

Reuters: Yonhap is reporting that Dandong has shut down train operations into North Korea at the request of Pyongyang because of the rising COVID cases in the border provinces. The unification ministry said that it can’t confirm that trains were still operating normally as of yesterday. Can you confirm if China has stopped train going from Dandong to North Korea?

Zhao Lijian: I can confirm that given the COVID-19 situation in Dandong, the cross-border railway freight transport between Dandong and Sinuiju has been suspended through friendly consultations between China and the DPRK. 

Xinhua News Agency: The US, together with partners including the EU, the UK, Australia and Japan, jointly launched the so-called Declaration for the Future of the Internet the other day. The US was reportedly mulling the launch of an Alliance for the Future of the Internet at the Summit for Democracy last year, but the plan was postponed following push-back from various parties. Now the latest attempt of the US will be followed with relevant activities. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Be it the Alliance for the Future of the Internet or the Declaration for the Future of the Internet, they both reveal that the nature of the Internet policies of the US and some other countries is all about drawing ideological lines, instigating division and confrontation, undermining international rules and trying to impose one’s own standards on others. The Declaration is the latest example of dividing the Internet and provoking confrontation in cyberspace.

The Declaration underscores the reliance on a global and interoperable Internet. However, the US has abandoned multilateral platforms such as the UN and is keen to form various exclusive cliques instead, in an attempt to draw ideological lines and undermine the global rules of Internet governance by touting its unilaterally-defined principles. 

The Declaration opposes abusing digital technologies for unlawful surveillance and claims that the access to personal data should be based in law and conducted in accordance with international human rights law. However, the US has conducted mass, systemic and indiscriminate information and data theft across the globe by abusing the Internet over the years. This seriously intrudes on Internet users’ privacy and violates the principles of international human rights. Even leaders of some countries endorsing the Declaration are targeted. 

The Declaration stresses that countries should refrain from using the Internet to undermine elections, including through covert information manipulation campaigns. However, the US has been spreading disinformation to willfully interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and even overthrowing governments over the years. 

The Declaration states that businesses of all sizes can innovate, compete, and thrive on their merits in a fair and competitive ecosystem. However, some countries, the US in particular, cite national security as an excuse without providing any evidence to hobble and coerce companies of other countries and promote their own immature systems. 

The Declaration claims that governments should not impede access to global Internet. However, the US is the first in the world to declare cyberspace as a new operational domain and pursue “Forward Deployment” of cyber military forces around relevant countries, endangering the security of their critical infrastructure. Not long ago, a former senior US official openly called for cyber attacks on other countries. 

The Declaration purports to support the work of the UN and other multilateral platforms. However, the contents in the Declaration are at odds with UN rules. The stress on the “non-technical factors” in the supply chain reveals the Declaration’s ideology-driven approach on issues of cyber security. 

With the above citations from the Declaration, I want to emphasize that no matter how it is packaged, the US move is actually an old agenda taking on a new form. By launching a resemblance of the Clean Network program that has long lost support, the US is trying to create an exclusive bloc in the name of democracy . 

Cyberspace is the shared space of activities for all. The future of cyberspace should be in the hands of all countries. Countries should step up dialogue and cooperation and work together to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace. We call on relevant countries to return to the international community to work out an inclusive process based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, return to the UN and other multilateral platforms to discuss and establish international rules on the Internet and digital governance that reflect all parties’ will and respect all parties’ interests, set up a multilateral, democratic and transparent global Internet governance system, and build a cyber and digital space featuring peace, security, openness, cooperation, and order.

Bloomberg: It’s related to COVID. Basically Beijing being the capital of China, we are curious, are government workers in Beijing being told to work from home as a precaution against COVID-19? What methods does the foreign ministry have in place with regards to employees working from home and other sort of COVID prevention methods in this time? 

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest in the pandemic prevention and control measures. We are now at a crucial stage of COVID-19 containment in Beijing. It is Beijing’s top priority to ensure the safety of the public, including our foreign journalists here, and the safety of the whole city. To effectively stem the spread of the virus, the Beijing Municipality has introduced a series of prevention and control measures, and we at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Beijing residents, will do our best to support the related work.

I want to stress that the epidemiological investigation of the chain of transmission in the city is thorough, prevention and control measures are fully implemented and the new cases are identified within the control zones. China is committed to the dynamic zero-COVID policy in the face of the Omicron variant. We believe that with the joint efforts of the whole of the society, we will ultimately win the fight against COVID-19 and make greater contribution to the global response in solidarity.

China News Service: We have noticed that following the release of the so-called 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the US Department of State, many countries including Cuba, India, Iran and Turkey have deplored and openly criticized it. The ASEAN Post published an article that wrote “Instead of schooling other countries on their human rights shortcomings, the US probably needs some self-introspection and should first address its human rights situation.” What is your comment on this? 

Zhao Lijian: The so-called 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices of the US passes judgment on the human rights conditions of 198 countries and regions. But there is a country that it missed out intentionally: the US itself. The US criticized so many countries, so it is only natural that it faces opposition from across the world. Clearly, the fact that nearly one million American people have lost their lives to COVID-19 and more than 120 people die on a daily basis due to gun violence as well as the cry of “I can’t breathe” by people like George Floyd did not affect the mood of the self-claimed “human rights lecturer”, but urged the “human rights judge” to deflect the outside world’s attention on the US’ deplorable human rights conditions. As the spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “no one can expect the US government which is addicted to lying, to tell the truth.” He added, the US sheds crocodile tears when talking about human rights.

Making unwarranted accusations against other countries’ human rights will not make one’s own human rights conditions better, but will only expose the hypocrisy and double standards. The US’ hegemony in human rights’ hide is long exposed to the international community. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said that in order to manipulate and intimidate countries that do not subordinate to Washington's interests, the US is using human rights as an instrument. The US State Department has been racking its brain for the so-called report on human rights for more than 40 years. The fundamental reason is that the report can serve as a “black book” to stigmatize and demonize US rivals, and a price sheet to coerce and blackmail other countries. China will never agree to this. Developing countries will never agree to this. People with a sense of justice and conscience in the international community will never agree to this.

Human rights are by no means the privilege of a few countries, still less a tool for pressuring and politically blackmailing other countries. The US has been politicizing human rights to a greater extent to defend its hegemonic interests. This runs against the trend of history and severely impedes the sound development of the world human rights cause. The US government should immediately stop concocting the so-called report, and focus on facing up to and improving the human rights conditions at home.

AFP: An official of the information division of the publicity department of the CPC Beijing Municipality Committee said that Health Kit was under cyber attack from external forces yesterday. Relevant information online showed that some community-based health workers fighting COVID-19 in Shanghai claimed that some external forces are attempting to disrupt the realization of “ dynamic zero-COVID” policies. Are such allegations true? Which countries do these cyber attacks come from? Why would they attack this public health program? Aren’t officials concealing some failings of their work by blaming external factors?

Zhao Lijian: I noted that relevant situation was covered at yesterday’s press conference about COVID-19 prevention and control held by Beijing. The Chinese officials spoke on the recent attacks on Health Kit (Jiankang Bao) from outside China. In fact, during the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, similar cyber attacks targeted Health Kit. These attacks were effectively dealt with. China will continue to safeguard cyber security to support Beijing’s response to COVID-19.

You said that China revealed such information to shift blames on its COVID-19 response efforts. I have to say this is your unwarranted speculation. There is no need for China to do this, and we will never do this.

CNR: The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among China and Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China was held today. Can you share more information?

Zhao Lijian: The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among China and Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China was held this morning via videoconference. The meeting was co-chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Acting Prime Minister Reginald Austrie of Dominica, and attended by all nine Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China. All attendees took stock of the experience over the past five decades of diplomatic relations between China and Caribbean countries, had an in-depth exchange of views on building a closer China-Caribbean countries community with a shared future, and shared their full confidence in the future of the relations between China and Caribbean countries.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed at the meeting that all parities believe that over the past 50 years, especially since President Xi’s visit to the Caribbean in 2013, the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and Caribbean countries have been deepening, with fruitful outcomes of cooperation in various areas. The two sides have set an example in mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits and common development between countries. All sides agreed to take the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties as an opportunity to bring China-Caribbean countries relations to new levels. State Councilor Wang Yi put forward four suggestions on building China-Caribbean countries relations at a higher level, namely jointly promoting peace and development, jointly chart a blueprint for the development of China-Caribbean countries relations, jointly deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and jointly carry on the friendship between the peoples.

The parties at the conference have reached six-point consensus. First, enhancing political mutual trust, rendering each other support on issues concerning core interests as always, and upholding and practicing true multilateralism. Second, jointly promoting post-COVID economic recovery and solid Belt and Road cooperation, implementing the Global Development Initiative, working to upgrade practical cooperation including on Juncao. Third, strengthening COVID-19 response and cooperation on health, improving public health governance and building a community of health between China and Caribbean countries. China will continue to provide anti-pandemic supplies and vaccines to Caribbean countries. Fourth, forging a dynamic and interactive architecture of people-to-people exchange, with more scholarship opportunities provided by the Chinese government to Caribbean countries. Fifth, responding together to the challenge of climate change. China has decided to set up a fund for disaster prevention and mitigation between China and Caribbean countries. Sixth, having closer policy communication between China and Caribbean countries.

The Caribbean countries attending the conference welcomed and endorsed the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping. They expressed gratitude to China for its selfless and longstanding help for Caribbean countries’ socioeconomic development, and said that China has become a reliable and important partner of Caribbean countries. The Caribbean side firmly supports the one-China principle, China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the great cause of the reunification of China. 

Hubei Media Group: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China is an important work under the convention. Could you update us on that?

Zhao Lijian: Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) in China are one of the grave crimes the Japanese militarism committed in the war of aggression against China, which has long severely threatened and endangered the life and property safety of people and ecological and environmental security in relevant regions. China always attaches high importance to this issue and urges Japan to completely and thoroughly destroy the ACWs at an early date in accordance with the CWC and the Memorandum between the two governments.

According to data, with the assistance of China, Japan has so far safely excavated and recovered over 90,000 items of ACWs and destroyed more than 60,000. In the meantime, we should be aware that the destruction of ACWs by Japan is far from completion even 77 years after the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and 25 years following the entry into force of the CWC. Japan’s failure in compliance with the treaty is unsatisfactory for the people of both China and Japan and the international community. China has repeatedly expressed grave concerns and stated solemn demands to Japan over this.

I want to stress again that the complete and thorough destruction of ACWs by Japan in China at an early date concerns Japan’s political and legal commitments to China and the international community. It is also Japan’s historical and ongoing responsibility. China strongly urges Japan to take this issue seriously, increase input and accelerate the destruction process so as to atone for its historical crimes and fulfill its obligations. 

YTN: Let me ask a question about Special Representative on Korean Peninsula affairs Liu Xiaoming’s visit to Seoul next week, which was announced by the South Korean foreign ministry yesterday. Can you release his schedule in Seoul, the purpose of his visit and more details? And then is he planning to meet the people from President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol?

Zhao Lijian: Safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and advancing the political settlement process of the Peninsula issue is in the common interest of regional countries including China and the ROK. Special Representative Liu Xiaoming has been visiting relevant countries to exchange views on the Peninsula issue. As you are aware, he has already visited several countries over the past days. With regard to his schedule in the ROK, I can check with my colleagues. If there is any information on that, we will release it in a timely manner. Thanks for your attention on this.

AFP: A survey of the Pew Research Center shows that over 80% of Americans have unfavorable views of China, hitting a new high. Do you have any comment? What do you think is the reason behind increasing opposition to China in the US? Do you think this can be attributed to China’s words and actions in recent years to some extent?

Zhao Lijian: I noticed the relevant report, too. There are quite a number of surveys on China-US relations lately. I noted that some of them conclude that many Americans support maintaining China-US exchanges. US Export Report 2022 shows that nearly 860,000 jobs were supported by total exports to China in 2020. Is this by any means threat?

I would like to reiterate that the people of China and the US always have friendly feelings toward each other. The friendship between the two peoples has always been the endless source of strength and important foundation for the development of bilateral relations. Recently, Chinese Ambassador to the US Mr. Qin Gang visited several states in central and western US. He met with US officials and visited universities, think tanks and schools, where he had in-depth exchange of views with officials, scholars, students, farmers and ordinary citizens in the US. I am sure you must have seen the pictures of Ambassador Qin Gang driving a tractor during his visit to a farm. When recalling the visit, he said that the Chinese and American people have cordial feelings toward each other and the friendly exchange between the two peoples is what drives the bilateral ties forward. 

You mentioned the survey by the Pew Research Center that shows a record high share of unfavorable views held by Americans on China. I think the unscrupulous and despicable attack on China by some US politicians is the reason behind this. Some media outlets and think tanks are also following suit and smearing China. These anti-China forces, driven by ideological bias and selfish political interests, flagrantly provoked confrontation and division, disseminated political viruses, and poisoned the public opinion atmosphere in both countries.

We hope our friends from the press can follow the trend of the times and the aspiration of the people and play a more positive role in promoting understanding and trust between the Chinese and American people. We hope you can do more things that are conducive to enhancing China-US relations and refrain from being used as a tool by unscrupulous politicians to denigrate China. 

Shenzhen TV: The spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs said at a press conference the other day that there’s no progress in Indian students’ return to China for their study. Does China have any consideration for Indian students’ return?

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest. I know that Indian journalists are also very concerned about the matter. China attaches high importance to Indian students’ concern for returning to China to resume their studies, and has shared with the Indian side the procedure and experience of the return of students from other countries. The work on the return of Indian students has in fact begun and what needs to be done now is for the Indian side to submit a name list of students who have the needs to return to China. China understands that the number of Indian students is so large that it takes some time for the Indian side to collect the information. All in all, China has been prepared for the return of some Indian students. 

What I want to stress is that the current COVID situation remains complex and severe. The arrangement for the return of foreign students to China needs to be made in a coordinated manner in light of the changing international epidemic situation and the characteristics of the students’ majors. This principle applies equally to all foreign students.

PTI: I’m glad the question came up from our Chinese colleagues. It’s good to know that you are looking at this and sought a list of students from India. But are you looking at any timeline when you will be ready to open up, maybe the next month or next two months or so, so that the students back home will make some preparations for this?

Zhao Lijian: I don’t have an answer on the specific arrangement at the moment. We attach high importance to the issue of foreign students’ return to China for their studies, including Indian students. These international students are envoys for friendly exchanges between China and their home countries. After completing their studies in China, they may return home and work as journalists or diplomats, even ambassadors to China. They represent the future of our relations.

China always attaches great importance to and fully understands these students’ ardent wish to resume their studies in China. We noted that some are on government scholarship. The Chinese government has provided financial support to them in the hope that once they complete their studies, they will act as a bridge of friendship between their countries and China and contribute to the development of bilateral ties.

As to the specifics you asked about, I’m sure we will strive to provide convenience to the students through existing channels including our embassy.

Prasar Bharati: Indeed people-to-people exchanges are very important for good relations between the two countries. I’m glad to hear that China is ready to receive Indian students. In this regard I just want to inquire from you the criteria based on which you said that the Indian side will prepare the list. So has China provided any sort of criteria to the Indian side, for example, the majors or something based on which the Indian side can prepare the list, or the Indian side is free to decide on their own how to select the students who will be coming to China in the first lot?

Zhao Lijian: I’m afraid my answer might be a bit disappointing. I’m not aware of the details you are interested in. But I’m sure there will be communication on them through existing channels including our embassy to deliver on the good news.


In observance of the Labor Day that falls on Sunday this week, the MFA regular press conference will be adjourned from May 2nd (Monday) to 4th (Wednesday), and resumed on May 5th (Thursday). During the holiday, you can reach the spokesperson’s office by fax, email or WeChat as usual.

The COVID-19 situation remains severe at present. During the holiday, many medical workers, policemen, community workers, couriers and volunteers will keep working on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19. Thanks to their selfless dedication and hard work, we are able to hold regular press conferences and enjoy the Labor Day holiday in a safe environment. We would like to pay tribute and express our sincere gratitude to them.

The Labor Day is a holiday for workers all over the world. Labor has brought good and happy life for everyone. Workers are the most lovely. To conclude, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday!

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