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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 13, 2021

CCTV: We noticed that the “Summit for Democracy” hosted by the US received little attention from the international community and mostly criticism from mainstream media. Some comments read, when hosting the summit, the US did not have democracy in mind, but its own interests. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The foreign ministry has issued a Spokesperson’s Statement on the “Summit for Democracy” held by the US. We noticed that some media reports pointed out that the summit received lukewarm response from the international community. Very few people watched the live video on social media. By contrast, video clips about US military intervention and killings of innocent civilians were viewed many times online. This shows serving US own interests under the pretext of democracy proves unpopular. The “Summit for Democracy” indeed tears open the US mask of “democracy defender”, and reveals its true face of “democracy saboteur”. 

The world is facing continued resurgence of COVID-19, fragile economic recovery, and complex and grave global challenges such as terrorism and climate change. What the world needs is not a division of countries into “democratic” and “non-democratic” camps by a certain country’s standards, still less smears and suppression, unilateral sanctions and military interventions in the name of democracy. All countries should uphold common values of humanity for peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, abide by norms governing international relations based on the UN Charter, promote democracy and the rule of law in international relations, jointly respond to global challenges and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Bloomberg: South Korea said it won’t join the US-led boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, citing a need for Beijing’s help in de-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. Does the foreign ministry have a comment?

Wang Wenbin: The ROK side has expressed its active support for a successful Beijing Winter Olympics hosted by China at various levels on different occasions. This is in line with the Olympic spirit and demonstrates our friendly relations. China positively recognizes this. 

China and the ROK maintain close communication and coordination on the Korean Peninsula issue. We stand ready to work together with the ROK for a political resolution and contribute to lasting peace and security on the Peninsula.

Radio Television Hong Kong: The US Department of the Treasury slapped sanctions on Chinese company and personnel by citing the human rights situation in Xinjiang. What’s your response? Recently, the US has imposed multiple sanctions on Chinese companies. Will China take countermeasures in response?

Wang Wenbin: Based on lies and disinformation, the US once again imposed sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity by citing so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. This act seriously interferes in China’s internal affairs, gravely violates basic norms governing international relations and seriously damages China-US relations. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this. 

Xinjiang-related affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. Xinjiang’s development achievements are there for all to see, and China’s policy on Xinjiang has won widespread support. The US has no right or qualification to point fingers or interfere arbitrarily. The so-called sanctions by the US fully expose its sinister intention of using Xinjiang to contain China and the hypocritical nature of its pursuit of hegemony in the name of democracy and human rights. The US should know that the Chinese government is firmly committed to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, cracking down on violent, terrorist, separatist and religious extremist forces, and opposing any external interference in Xinjiang affairs and China’s other internal affairs. The retrogressive acts of the US will not undermine the overall development of Xinjiang, stop China’s progress, or reverse the development of history. 

We urge the US to immediately revoke its wrong decisions and stop moves that interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s interests. If the US insists on having its way, China will take strong countermeasures in response. 

Xinhua News Agency: We noted that the Annual Report 2020-2021 of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) shows that over 80% of ASPI’s funding is from government entities of Australia or Western countries, with the US Department of State being the biggest source of income. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Like you said, the Annual Report of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) reveals that among the institute’s over $10 million (AUD) revenue, 69.2% is funded by the Australian Department of Defence, federal government agencies, state and territorial government agencies or defence industries, and 18.3% is funded by overseas government agencies. The two biggest funding payments from overseas government agencies are both from the US Department of State. Among them, one funding of over $980,000 (AUD) serves the purpose of setting agenda on such issues as Xinjiang human rights, China tech and systems of influence projects, and the other funding of almost $600,000 (AUD) is for the purpose of doing “research” on talent recruitment, social media and China tech projects. 

ASPI openly styles itself as an “independent” and “rigorous” institute, but the fact tells a different story. Most of ASPI’s funding is provided by Australia and its ally governments and its research topics are assigned by sponsors. It is thus implausible that ASPI calls itself a research institute. It uses so-called witness testimony that cannot be substantiated or traced to fabricate lies and disinformation on Xinjiang and other China-related issue. This will only hurt its own reputation. 

Recently, research fellows at ASPI frequently testified at the so-called “Uyghur Tribunal” and played a part in the farce. The harder they try to sell the show, the quicker their credibility will go bankrupt. 

TASS: President Xi Jinping will meet President Putin via video link on December 15. Can you share with us more information on the discussion?

Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping will have a virtual meeting with President Putin on December 15, Beijing time. The two heads of state will take stock of the bilateral relations and cooperation outcomes over this year, make top-level design for the relations next year, and exchange views on major international and regional issues of common concern.

We expect and believe that this video conference will further enhance our high-level mutual trust, vigorously promote China-Russia "back-to-back" strategic coordination and the robust development of all-round practical cooperation. This will provide more stability and positive energy for the complex and fluid international landscape. 

Please stay tuned as we will release relevant information on the details of the meeting and related outcomes after the meeting.

People’s Daily: Adama Barrow, candidate of the ruling National People’s Party in The Gambia, reportedly won the presidential election with 53% of the vote. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noticed that The Gambia’s Independent Election Commission has announced the results of the presidential election. Relevant African observer groups have also recognized the process of the election. We are glad to see the peaceful election and extend congratulations to President Barrow on his victory.

The Gambia is China’s good friend and partner. China attaches high importance to relations with the country and stands ready to work together with the new administration in The Gambia to implement the outcomes of the eighth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC and achieve new progress in our friendly and cooperative relations.

Bloomberg: Australia has agreed to buy artillery from South Korea and increase ties between their defense industries, a move that commentators say will cement a new comprehensive security partnership amid tensions with China. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after signing the pacts, “We share a view about the role of liberal democracies in today’s world and particularly in the Indo-Pacific” . Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We urge Australia to honestly face up to concerns over its military buildup shared by regional countries and the international community, instead of trying to deflect attention in the name of democracy and freedom or creating an “imaginary enemy” based on ideology.

Dragon TV: A joint statement was released by 112 WTO members on investment facilitation negotiations the other day, which says countries aim to reach a final multilateral agreement concerning investment facilitation by the end of 2022. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: On December 10, China, together with 111 WTO members including the EU, Russia, Japan, Chile, Brazil and Nigeria signed a joint statement on investment facilitation. The G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking were established at the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit. To translate the outcomes of the summit, discussions on investment facilitation were carried out at the WTO in 2017. The parties have reached a preliminary consensus on the framework and main rules of the agreement. They are advancing negotiations on the basis of the current text, with the aim to complete the negotiations on the text concerning investment facilitation by the end of 2022, and push for the conclusion of a final multilateral agreement. The website of the Ministry of Commerce of China has released relevant information.

I want to stress that China stays committed to expanding high-level opening up, implementing national treatment of foreign companies, and providing an open, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for the investment and development of companies from all countries. China will work with all parties to establish international rules, improve the transparency of global investment policies, streamline and expedite the procedures for investment approval, promote relevant international cooperation and build an open world economy.

Global Times: On December 10, a UK High Court approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US where he has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have taken note of some media comments saying that the Assange case fully exposes the double standards of the US on the issue of “freedom of the press and speech”. It seems that anyone can enjoy “freedom of the press and speech” as long as they refrain from criticizing or disclosing the unspeakable crimes committed by the US. Otherwise, they may end up behind bars like Mr. Assange.

When the US once again calls for safeguarding “freedom of the press and speech”, people will remember what happened to Mr. Assange.

China Daily: President Xi Jinping announced new measures of providing vaccines to African countries at the eighth ministerial meeting of FOCAC. I wonder how will China implement this important pledge made by President Xi?

Wang Wenbin: At the recently concluded eighth FOCAC ministerial meeting, President Xi announced that China will provide another one billion doses of COVID vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. This is an important measure to step up China-Africa anti-pandemic cooperation and help Africa close the immunization gap.

As the pandemic drags on and rebounds and variants spread across the globe, vaccines are still the most powerful weapon to defeat COVID-19. To implement President Xi’s solemn pledge, a new batch of one million doses of vaccines for Mozambique arrived in the country yesterday. One million doses for Zimbabwe and 400,000 doses for Niger will be delivered soon. In early December, China also provided a new batch of vaccines for Somalia and the Gambia.

We will further uphold the friendly and cooperative spirit between China and Africa, follow through on the outcomes of FOCAC, speed up vaccine provisions to African countries and improve the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to help Africa ultimately defeat the pandemic.

Radio Television Hong Kong: It is reported that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he will announce at the right point whether government officials will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Games and will take into consideration the decision by other countries. According to Japanese media, Japan is considering not sending officials to attend the Games, but is discussing not designating it as a “boycott” as next year marks the 50 anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I don’t comment on unconfirmed information with unknown sources. 

I want to reiterate that all acts to politicize sports run counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter. 

Hubei Media Group: The 10th Olympic Summit was held virtually a few days ago. The Declaration of the summit pointed out that “the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be the start of a new era of global winter sport”. The summit stands firmly against any politicization of the Olympic Games and sport. Do you have more information on this?

Wang Wenbin: It is learned that the 10th Olympic Summit was held virtually on December 11. IOC President Thomas Bach, international sports officials including Presidents of major International Federations, and officials from national Olympic committees of China, Russia and the US attended the meeting. 

On certain countries’ announcement of not sending government officials to attend the Beijing Olympic Games, the Declaration of the summit stands firmly against any politicization of the Olympic Games and sport, and strongly emphasized the need for the political neutrality of the IOC, the Olympic Games and the entire Olympic Movement. The summit participants also welcomed the strong support for the Games by the Member States of the UN, which adopted by consensus the Olympic Truce Resolution that was co-sponsored by 173 UN Member States.

The Declaration voiced the common appeal of the sports community for supporting the Beijing Winter Games and opposing politicization of sports. It once again shows that a handful of countries’ political posturing and manipulation by standing on the opposite side of the international community and exploiting the Beijing Winter Olympic Games gets no support and is doomed to fail.

Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, on the night of December 10 local time, tornadoes ripped across Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and other US states, causing over 100 deaths and huge economic losses. The Biden administration has declared a state of emergency in Kentucky. Does China have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China extends sympathy over the heavy casualties and economic losses caused by tornadoes in six middle states in the US including Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee. We wish the injured a speedy recovery and hope the affected people could rebuild their home soon.

Radio Television Hong Kong: The Times of the UK and the Wall Street Journal of the US published articles saying that the upcoming election for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council will only include officially-vetted candidates. What is your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The new electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region fully demonstrates the principle of One Country, Two Systems, which is broadly representative and politically inclusive, and ensures balanced participation and fair competition. I want to stress that whether Hong Kong’s democracy and election fares well is judged by whether the arrangement suits Hong Kong’s realities, and whether it benefits Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity, stability and security. The election of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is purely China’s internal affairs, which brooks no irresponsible remarks from foreign forces with ulterior motives. We urge relevant sides to abandon prejudice and malicious intentions, stop smearing Hong Kong’s democracy and development, and stop disrupting elections in the Special Administrative Region. 

The Paper: On December 12, Elizabeth Truss, the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, issued a statement in her capacity as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting. The Chair’s Statement said that on China, they “discussed a range of issues and challenges, such as the situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, in the East and South China Seas and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China’s positions on issues relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan as well as maritime issues are consistent and clear. We firmly oppose the G7’s attempt to interfere in China’s domestic affairs, smear China’s image, and harm China’s interests.

The US and the UK are the world’s most advanced economies with cutting-edge medical technology. And yet, with a combined population accounting for 5% of the world’s total, they registered 23% of all COVID-19 cases and 18% of fatalities. We urge them to strive to protect their people’s right to life and health and prevent further loss of lives to the pandemic instead of selling hollow rhetoric about democracy and human rights around the world.

We urge the US, the UK and others to stop adopting coercive means such as arbitrary detention of foreign citizens, wanton suppression of certain companies, and flagrant illegal unilateral sanctions, work to foster an open, inclusive, transparent and non-discriminatory international trade and investment environment, and respect other countries’ legitimate development rights and interests. 

We urge the US, the UK and others to discard the Cold War mentality, stop drawing ideological lines, practice true multilateralism, and contribute to safeguarding international solidarity and jointly addressing global challenges instead of dividing the world and setting up barriers to thwart concerted efforts to confront problems faced by humankind.

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