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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on January 21, 2022

CCTV: At the invitation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and join in the torch relay, his office spokesperson officially announced on January 20 local time. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics and take part in the torch relay as a bearer. President Shahid has expressed on multiple occasions his firm support for the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying it “showcases the technology and scientific knowledge that humanity has been able to achieve – it showcases the best of China, it showcases the best of humanity”. He added, “I have every confidence that this Olympics is going to be very, very successful”.

Lately, international organizations including the UN and the IOC as well as people from many countries have all said that they support and look forward to the Games and reject politicizing sports, which fully demonstrates the international community’s shared aspiration of working “together for a shared future”. As the curtain is about to rise on the Beijing Games, we have every confidence that China will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic event to the world by working together with all sides to practice the Olympic spirit of “together”.

Yonhap News Agency: A proposal to impose sanctions on another five North Koreans has been blocked at the UN Security Council after discussions due to the reservations of China and Russia. After that, eight countries including the US issued a statement calling for more sanctions on the DPRK. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side noted the latest moves of various parties concerning the situation on the Korean Peninsula. With regard to the specific discussions at the Security Council, I have no information to offer. I can tell you that the Security Council has no plan to discuss the so-called draft resolution concerning sanctions on the DPRK. We hope members of the Security Council will view the current situation prudently with a long-term perspective and the big picture in mind, focus on advancing the political settlement process of the Peninsula issue, give serious consideration to China’s proposal, and make positive effort to stabilize the situation, build up mutual trust and resume dialogue. 

The Paper: Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, praised China’s preparatory work for Beijing 2022 in epidemic control and environmental protection in an interview and sent his best wishes for the event in Chinese. “By hosting the Winter Olympic Games, China is demonstrating its commitment to Olympic ideals,” he said. Kostas Bakoyannis, mayor of Athens, also expressed warm congratulations on behalf of his city in a video message, saying that “Beijing will be the first city in history to host both Summer and Winter Olympics”. Do you have any comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: We deeply appreciate these best wishes from the cradle of the Olympic Movement. I also noted that a video clip featuring a group of British pupils singing a song called “Meet Me in Beijing” in Mandarin has become a trending topic in China. The lyrics go like this: The Great Wall bears the memory of a profound history. Feel the strong pulse of the Chinese nation, an ancient civilization lit up with youthful vigor. She greets guests from around the world with a most welcoming smile. Meet me in Beijing in 2022 for the blazing Olympic flame. The singing of these children and the wishes of our Greek friends all demonstrate the international community’s confidence in and expectation for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

To present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games is a solemn pledge China made to the world, and a goal we have been committed to meet since winning the bid. According to statistics released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, over 346 million Chinese people have participated in winter sports since Beijing won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015, which means we have hit the target of engaging 300 million people in winter sports. Now the Chinese government and people are going full steam ahead to present a grand gathering for global winter sports-lovers and showcase Beijing’s charm as the host city of both Summer and Winter Olympics.

In just two weeks, the Olympic flame will be dancing to the drumbeat of the Chinese Year of the Tiger. We hope that all Olympians will excel themselves in the competition like soaring dragons and leaping tigers in Beijing, and the international Olympic cause will move forward by leaps and bounds and contribute vitality to realizing world peace and development.

Dragon TV: It has been reported that Mali’s interim government will hold a state funeral on January 21 for former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who passed away a few days ago. Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Mr. Keita was a veteran statesman in Mali who contributed to the development of China-Mali relations. The Chinese side is deeply saddened by his passing and extends sincere sympathies to the Malian government and people as well as the family of Mr. Keita. China and Mali enjoy traditional friendship. We stand ready to work together with the Malian side to continue supporting each other and bring bilateral relations to new heights.

AFP: I have two questions. The French parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim population “genocide”. How does the Chinese Foreign Ministry view this? And also, the European Parliament on Thursday urged EU member states to impose sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and seven other senior officials over the ongoing human rights crackdown in the territory. What is your comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the French National Assembly’s resolution on Xinjiang ignores facts and basic knowledge of law and constitutes gross interference in China’s internal affairs. The Chinese side firmly opposes this.

We have stated China’s position on Xinjiang-related issues on multiple occasions. At the press conference last Friday, my colleague also shared with you some observations on debunking lies on Xinjiang so that you won’t be deceived by them. After the turn of the century, the Uyghur population grew from 8.34 million in 2000 to 11.62 million in 2020, with an average annual growth rate of 1.67 percent, much higher than the national average of 0.83 percent for ethnic minorities over the same period. If there had been genocide in Xinjiang, would the Uyghur population have increased so much? In front of indisputable facts, a lie repeated a thousand times will remain a lie. For those who pretend to be asleep or seek sensationalization, their words and acts are not worth our attention.

On your second question, I want to stress that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. Since the implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong has returned to the right track of development with security, stability and rule of law better protected. This is an undeniable fact for any unbiased individual. We urge the European Parliament to respect facts, not confuse black and white, abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, and refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs. On the human rights front, the European Parliament needs to reflect on itself and quit the old habit of lecturing others.

China News Service: We noted that the US Federal Register website released a notice scheduled to be published on January 21 local time announcing sanctions on China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) First Academy, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) Fourth Academy, and Poly Technologies Incorporated (PTI) for engaging in missile technology proliferation activities. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: Out of political purposes, the US uses all sorts of pretexts to sanction and suppress Chinese enterprises. This is typical bullying practice. China deplores and rejects it.

The Chinese government consistently opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery. China exercises strict control on export of missiles and related items as well as technologies in accordance with domestic policies, laws and regulations on non-proliferation. China’s normal cooperation with relevant countries does not violate any international law or involve proliferation of WMDs.

In recent years, the US has been flagrantly applying double standards in non-proliferation. Besides conniving at and supporting its allies’ development of missiles and related technologies, it also plans to sell to Australia Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads and have a flight range of up to 2,500 kilometers. The US should earnestly reflect on its non-proliferation record and arms trade policy. It is in no position to make wanton comments on other countries’ normal arms trade cooperation. We urge the US to correct its mistakes, withdraw the decision on imposing sanctions, and stop suppressing Chinese companies or maligning China. The Chinese side reserves the right to adopt further measures.

Bloomberg: Britain’s top foreign and defense officials have held talks with their Australian counterparts in Sydney today. Those talks focused on advancing the AUKUS security pact, which involves nuclear-powered submarines and sharing notes on countering China’s growing clout. Does the Foreign Ministry have a response to these talks?

Zhao Lijian: As we have repeatedly stressed, AUKUS is a typical military bloc. The three countries’ cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines violates the purposes and object of the NPT and has a huge impact on the international non-proliferation regime. Therefore, more and more countries have become vigilant and rejected it. The US, the UK and Australia, in disregard of the international community’s concerns, willfully advanced cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines. This further revealed their hypocritical cherry-picking double standard on non-proliferation. It is even more untenable for the UK and Australia to hype up the “China threat” narrative in this context. We firmly reject it. Relevant sides should immediately stop the erroneous acts of stoking division and inciting confrontation.

NHK: With two weeks to go before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, how does China see certain western countries’ decision of not sending official representation to the Games on the grounds of “human rights issues”?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side has stated repeatedly its position on the decision of a handful of western countries led by the US of not sending official or diplomatic representation to the Beijing Winter Olympics. They cannot represent the international community. Their acts will be rejected by people in all countries including athletes participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics.

China Daily: US media revealed not long ago that William Patterson, a leader of the US Civil Rights Congress, submitted a petition titled “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations General Assembly in December 1951. It documents hundreds of killings and other abuses targeting Black Americans from 1945 to 1951, arguing that the crimes committed by the US government against Black Americans constitute crimes of genocide as defined in the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The petition concludes that proof of Black genocide “is everywhere in American life” and calls on the UN to demand that the US take steps to stop genocide. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports. This retrospect on the dust-laden history more than 70 years ago has once again exposed the open wound of racial discrimination in the US. The petition records that more than 10,000 Black people had been lynched or killed, often for something as small as “failure to say ‘sir’ ” to white people. Many more, it adds, suffered from “serious bodily and mental harm” from beatings, assaults and the terror caused by the constant threat of such attacks. Regrettably, the problem of racism laid bare in the document remains unresolved today and has even worsened. People cannot help but ask, nearly 250 years after the US was founded and almost 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, has Uncle Tom finally got a cabin of his own? Has Django been unchained? Has the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. come true? Why is it that people like George Floyd cannot breathe?

I also want to point out that throughout history, the US committed systemic violation of Native Americans’ human rights in every aspect through slaughter, expulsion and cultural assimilation, which is more than enough to constitute de facto genocide. The US government is culpable for this. In 1814, then US President James Madison issued a decree rewarding 100 dollars for the scalp of every Indian man above the age of 12 and 50 dollars for that of every Indian woman or child. “Indian skin makes good boots”; “the US must pursue the Indians to extermination”; “an Indian should be executed every ten minutes”; “the only good Indians are dead Indians”. Such unthinkable racist remarks were uttered by then US presidents.

Even today, the evil of genocide still runs in the blood of the country. The US should grit its teeth to remove this poisonous tumor afflicting every sinew of its society. It’s high time that the US terminated the two-century-long chapter of Native American genocide and racial discrimination in the US once and for all.

Xinhua News Agency: Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani descent who was held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay for two years, recently gave a media interview, recounting the painful torture he and his inmates suffered, including being tied up and interrogated, beaten up and subjected to waterboarding. He added that “probably the worst form of torture is to hold somebody without charge or trial, without even telling them what crime they’ve committed. You’re paying the ultimate price of your freedom.” Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The failure to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison is a stain that cannot be erased in the US’ human rights track record. This report you mentioned, along with the scandals exposed continuously over the past two decades about the arbitrary detention, torture and abuse of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay prison, all indicate that this facility dubbed “prison” is in fact like purgatory. In this purgatory on earth, there is no freedom, only humiliation; no justice, only crimes; no humanitarianism, only hegemony.

The abhorrent atrocities in the Guantanamo Bay prison are textbook examples of heinous US human rights abuses. Twenty years on, the US has not stopped abusing prisoners or shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison. It has even gone further to extend its network of black sites all over the world, which have become a hallmark of the US’ affront to rule of law and human rights abuses, and a bitter irony of the US as a champion for human rights as American politicians claim. It has fully exposed the hypocritical double standard of the US on human rights issues. We advise the US to look at what the Guantanamo Bay mirrors before making irresponsible remarks on and interfering in the affairs of other countries. It should first apologize and offer compensation for the atrocities it has committed and shoulder its responsibility. 

Beijing Daily: According to reports, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said at a press conference on January 19 that “the fraught relations with Beijing have incurred business losses” and they need to “implement a de-escalation plan”. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister has presented the plan. “We have passed over some ideas through European institutions and directly by ourselves, but as I said during the meeting de-escalation in many ways depends on those escalated the situation,” the minister explained, saying there is hope for a Lithuania-China summit in the near future. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The root cause of the fraught relations between China and Lithuania is that the Lithuanian authorities have obstinately taken erroneous steps on issues concerning Taiwan, which harm China’s core interests and undermine basic norms governing international relations. The international community has its fair judgement as to who is culpable for the souring China-Lithuania ties and the ensuing escalation. On China’s part, the door to communication with Lithuania remains open. If the Lithuanian side truly hopes to mend fences, it should show its sincerity with concrete actions.

Hubei Media Group: According to reports, the US and Japan released a Joint Statement on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on January 20, saying that noting China’s ongoing increase in its nuclear capabilities, they request China to contribute to arrangements that reduce nuclear risks, increase transparency, and advance nuclear disarmament. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The US and Japan released their Joint Statement on the NPT to commend their contribution to global governance in the nuclear sector and wantonly comment on China’s nuclear policy. It is nothing but a trick to deflect attention, shift responsibility and conceal their deplorable track record in the nuclear sector.

As is known to all, the US is the top threat to global strategic security. With the world’s largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, the US is still investing trillions of dollars to upgrade its “nuclear triad”, developing low-yield nuclear weapons, lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons, advancing the deployment of anti-missile systems around the world, and seeking to deploy intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Besides, in recent years, it has withdrawn from one treaty and group after another in violation of the spirit of multilateralism, clung to the Cold War mentality in the security sector, and sought to create various sorts of small cliques and exclusive circles by ganging up on others. We urge the US to properly manage its own affairs, diminish the role of nuclear weapons in its national security policy, earnestly assume its special and primary responsibilities towards nuclear disarmament, and further substantively reduce its nuclear arsenal. 

Japan has long styled itself as a “model student” in international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Actually, it says one thing but does another. As a non-nuclear-weapon state, Japan keeps in long-term storage a large amount of sensitive nuclear materials exceeding its actual needs, including weapons-grade plutonium, which poses severe nuclear proliferation risks and constitutes nuclear security hazards. To retain the benefits of the US’ nuclear umbrella, Japan spares no effort to thwart the adoption of a no-first-use policy by the US. If Japan really intends to advance the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation process, it should respond to these international concerns in a responsible manner and win the trust of the international community with concrete actions. 

China is firmly committed to a defensive nuclear strategy and the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and undertakes unequivocally and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China keeps its nuclear force at the minimum level required for national security. No country will be threatened by our nuclear weapons so long as it does not use nuclear weapons against China. China’s nuclear policy in itself is a major contribution to efforts in advancing the international nuclear disarmament process and reducing nuclear risks. China will stay committed to safeguarding its legitimate security interests and world peace and stability.

Shenzhen TV: On January 20, UNGA President Abdulla Shahid solemnly appealed to all Member States to “demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic Truce... and to undertake concrete actions at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Truce”. He also called upon “all warring parties of current armed conflicts around the world to boldly agree to true mutual ceasefires for the duration of the Olympic Truce, thus providing an opportunity to settle disputes peacefully”. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes and firmly supports the solemn appeal made by UNGA President Shahid in connection with the observance of the Olympic Truce.

Sport is a common language of all humankind regardless of nationality, ethnicity and civilization. The gene of peace and friendship was ingrained in the DNA of the Olympic Movement since its birth. The ancient Greek tradition of the Ekecheiria, or “Olympic Truce”, aims to replace war and conflict with friendly athletic competition. The appeal in connection with the observance of the Olympic Truce contributes to promoting the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

Not long ago, the 76th session of the UNGA adopted by consensus the Olympic Truce resolution for the Beijing Winter Olympics. It demonstrated the international community’s strong confidence in China’s successful hosting of the Games and galvanized formidable strength worldwide to safeguard peace with solidarity, mutual assistance and cooperation. China hopes that all UN members states will abide by the Olympic Truce resolution, respond to the UN’s solemn appeal, promote peace and reconciliation through sports, and contribute to a safe and smooth Beijing Games by ceasing hostilities from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games.

In two weeks, the curtain will rise on the Beijing Winter Olympics. China is confident that working hand in hand with all sides in the Olympic spirit of “together”, we will take the Games as an opportunity and create a more peaceful and brighter future.

MASTV: An Indian State MP claimed that the PLA “abducted” a 17-year-old Indian youth in “Arunachal Pradesh”. The Indian Army has contacted the PLA through an established mechanism of hotline seeking his release. Could you confirm this and offer more details?

Zhao Lijian: I’m not aware of the situation. I want to stress that Zangnan (the southern part of China’s Tibet) is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China opposes India’s illegal occupation of China’s Zangnan. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) manages the boundary and cracks down on illegal border crossing in accordance with law.

People’s Daily: On January 20, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Can you share some information about it? Did the two sides exchange views on human rights issues?

Zhao Lijian: On January 20, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting with new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. This is the first contact between the two foreign ministers after the new German government took office. For one and a half hours, the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on a wide range of issues, including China-Germany relations and China-Europe relations, and reached a series of consensus.

Both sides agreed on the following: to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, and make good preparations for the seventh round of China-Germany inter-governmental consultations; to strengthen contact between the departments of both sides to seek greater synergy and plan for future cooperation, and launch dialogue mechanisms in various areas as soon as possible; to strengthen cooperation in green development and deepen exchanges on green governance; to further strengthen education, people-to-people and sub-national exchanges, among others. Both believed that they should strengthen communication and collaboration on joint response to global challenges such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on the Iranian nuclear issue, and expressed readiness to work for the conclusion of an agreement from the negotiations.

Regarding human rights issues, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that, respect for and promotion of human rights is enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, and has become the common will of the party and the country. Putting people’s interests first is both the CPC’s founding mission and the reason why our party has the most broad-based popular support. When it comes to protecting and promoting human rights, China has made historic progress and contributed significantly to the human rights cause. At the same time, we believe that there is no single best way, but always a better way to promote human rights. China is ready to share its experience with other countries on the basis of mutual respect for common progress. We firmly oppose politicizing human rights issues, and firmly reject interfering in others’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.

Press Trust of India: Regarding what you said today about the missing youth in the “Arunachal Pradesh”, you said you are not aware of it. But considering a complaint has been made at the military level, is an investigation being conducted to find out on the ground level whether he is in custody by the PLA?

Zhao Lijian: As I just said, I’m not aware of the situation. You may also ask the competent authorities directly.

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