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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 20, 2022

2022-06-20 20:20

CCTV: It is reported that on June 17, the UK home secretary approved the extradition of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, to the US. Wikileaks said in a statement that Assange is a “journalist and a publisher” who “is being punished for doing his job”. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We have taken note of the reports. Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, released large numbers of documents on US-launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and disclosed facts about CIA’s cyber hacking operations. Over the past decade or so, the US government has responded by making up charges against Assange including sexual assault, espionage and computer misuse and clamping down on him through secret surveillance, global hunt, backroom deals, etc. with the single purpose of putting him behind bars. 

The UK has spared no effort in assisting the US in arresting and extraditing Assange and processed the case at top speed. This puts on full display the UK’s allegiance to its special relationship with the US, and highlights the fact that the US and the UK have worked hand in glove to bring transnational repression against particular individuals. 

The case of Julian Assange is a mirror. It reflects the hypocrisy of the US and the UK on “press freedom”: people are free to expose other countries but subject to severe punishment if they expose the US, the UK and their allies; people are treated either as heroes if they expose other countries or as criminals if they expose the US, the UK and their partners; in other countries, holding the media accountable amounts to “political persecution”, while in the US and the UK, clamping down on media is to “act in accordance with the law”. 

All eyes are on Assange’s human rights conditions and what may become of him. Let us hope and believe that at the end of the day, fairness and justice will prevail. Hegemony and abuse of might will certainly not last forever.

MASTV: Today is World Refugee Day. How does China view the refugee issue that keeps worsening?

Wang Wenbin: Today marks the 22nd World Refugee Day. 

We noted that the UN Refugee Agency recently pointed out in its annual report that the number of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people forced to flee conflict and persecution exceeded the milestone of 100 million for the first time on record. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also made the latest estimation that conflict, violence and other crises left a record 36.5 million children displaced from their homes by the end of 2021, the highest number recorded since the Second World War.

These heart-wrenching figures highlight the consequence of a few countries’ arbitrary aggression and interference in other countries’ internal affairs. According to statistics, between 49 million and 60 million people have become refugees due to the wars waged by the US after 9/11, including 11 million in Afghanistan alone. The US launched wars purportedly for democracy and human rights, and walked away leaving a mess behind. But it is the people of regional countries that face displacement, poverty and backwardness and a future full of uncertainties. What the US has been doing is the biggest factor fueling the refugee issue worldwide and constitutes gross human rights abuses. 

Recently, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, wrote that some countries attempt to outsource responsibility for protection of refugees by "warehousing" them elsewhere. He also commented that the richest states, blessed with the greatest resources, “respond by building walls, closing borders and pushing back people journeying by sea”. It tramples on and is a “contempt for the ideal of protection”, he added.

The World Refugee Day lasts only one day, but the refugees have to deal with their plight every day. Some Western countries led by the US have long exported war and turmoil, interfered in other countries’ internal affairs and created humanitarian disasters. They are the ones that generated the refugee issue in the first place. We urge those countries to earnestly reflect on the grave impact of their behavior, eliminate the root cause of the refugee issue, and step up to their due responsibilities. China is ready to work with the international community, firmly support multilateralism, and play a constructive part in improving global refugee protection system and working to address the refugee issue.

Beijing Daily: We saw in a report released at the opening ceremony of the third Qingdao Multinationals Summit yesterday that China remains an important destination for investments from multinationals worldwide. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I noticed that according to the report titled “Multinationals in China: Rechoice in the Restruction of Global Supply Chains” released at the third Qingdao Multinationals Summit, China remains an important destination for multinationals’ global investment. China has witnessed steady growth in investment from multinationals. Both the structure and performance of such investment have kept improving. The number of new foreign investment contract projects and projects with additional foreign investment worth over 100 million USD has increased from 834 in 2019 to 1,177 in 2021, growing by double-digit for three consecutive years. China attracted 33.73 billion USD investment to its manufacturing industry in 2021, witnessing an increase of 8.8 percent year-on-year, and over one third of FDI went to high-tech manufacturing. 

As a host of policies on efficiently coordinating pandemic response and socioeconomic development continue to take effect, major indexes improved margins in May and China’s economy has shown momentum of recovery. According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, China’s export of goods increased by 15.3 percent in May year-on-year. A report released by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange the other day shows that China’s export container shipping market remained generally stable. At Shanghai port, ships bound for all important routes, including Europe service, US West Coast service and US East Coast Service, are almost fully loaded on average. During last weekend’s June 18 shopping festival, e-commerce platforms in China reported record-high sales volume. Busy delivery workers are an epitome of the robust picture of consumption in China. 

China’s steady economic performance has further boosted the international community’s confidence in China’s economic prospects. The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in its latest white paper that most member companies said they believe it is vital to stay competitive in the China market in order to win globally, and they stand committed to the Chinese market. In the first five months of this year, the paid-in FDI increased by 17.3 percent compared to the same period last year, or 22.6 percent in USD terms.

Going forward, we will further ease market access, promote fair competition and improve liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment to build a market-oriented business environment based on the rule of law that is up to international standards. Just as State Councilor Wang Yong pointed out in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Qingdao Summit, China’s door will open wider, offering a better business environment and more development opportunities to the world. We welcome foreign companies to invest and operate in China, explore the China market, participate in fair competition and share the dividends of development.

Bloomberg: We reported that the Biden administration officials are increasingly worried that the vague new assertion by China on the Taiwan Strait could result in more frequent challenges at sea for Taiwan. So does the foreign ministry have a comment on this? 

Wang Wenbin: We’ve previously made it clear that China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the Taiwan Strait. China has always respected the navigational rights that countries are entitled to in accordance with international law. However, we firmly reject any country’s provocation and threat against China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom of navigation.

China Review News: We have learned that the organizer of the Qatar World Cup has changed “Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei” in its application system. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Taiwan is part of China. The one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations and shared consensus of the international community. China appreciates Qatari government’s commitment to the one-China principle and its handling of the issue in line with the established practice of international sports events.

AFP: Could you confirm that the second part of UN biodiversity summit COP 15 has been shifted out of Kunming, China and will be held outside China now although China is still presiding over the summit?

Wang Wenbin: The first part of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) was successfully held last October, which renewed the political drive to advance global biodiversity governance. Due to the impact of COVID-19 worldwide, the second part of COP 15 has to be postponed. At present, China is having consultations with the CBD Secretariat and the presidium for the scheduling of the second part of the meeting. China will continue to perform its duties as the President and have discussions with all parties to determine the scheduling and location of the second part of the meeting. China will also make active preparations in light of the COVID situation to ensure a safe and successful second part and bring global biodiversity governance to a new level.

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