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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on January 25, 2022

CCTV: Park Byeong-Seug, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to reports by ROK media. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-Seug’s attendance of the opening ceremony of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. China and the ROK are each other’s important neighbor. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. The ROK is the host country of the last Winter Games. It has been actively supporting China in hosting a successful Winter Games, which is in keeping with the Olympic spirit and embodies the bilateral friendship. China is ready to work with the ROK to practice the Olympic spirit of “together” and take the Beijing Winter Olympics as an opportunity to enhance friendly exchanges and cooperation in various sectors and bring the China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership to a new level. 

Hubei Media Group: On the ten-day countdown to the Beijing Winter Olympics on January 24 local time, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on nations to observe the Olympic Truce during the 2022 Beijing Games in a written address. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes and firmly supports Secretary-General António Guterres’ written address.

The Olympic Truce has a long tradition. It carries with it mankind’s pursuit of peace and mutual assistance. It also chimes with the UN’s founding mission of upholding international peace and security. Not long ago, the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution on Olympic Truce for the Beijing Winter Games, which demonstrates international confidence in a successful Winter Games to be hosted by China and embodies the strength of all people aspiring for solidarity, cooperation and world peace.

China stays committed to upholding peace and practicing true multilateralism. We deeply participate in and support the cause of the UN. China actively participates in summer and winter Olympics and supports all previous Olympic Truce resolutions. By doing so, we have injected China’s strength into efforts to safeguard world peace, promote development of countries and enhance friendship among the people through sports. China also calls on countries to take the opportunity presented by the Beijing Winter Games to resolve differences through dialogue, replace confrontation with cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and promote world peace and development. 

In just ten days, the Olympic flame will blaze in Beijing for the second time. China has confidence that we will work with all parties to act on the Olympic spirit of “together” and take Beijing 2022 as an opportunity to work for a peaceful and better future.

Shenzhen TV: It is reported that German Navy Chief Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach said in a speech on January 21 during his visit to India that he is a “very radical Roman Catholic” and sees China acting as “an enemy”, and said that “We need Russia against China”. What is China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: His remarks feature typical religious extremism. In today’s world defined by peace and development, overtly preaching religion-based division of blocs and inciting hatred and hostility is a regression of history. It is ridiculous and extremely dangerous. This practice should be universally condemned by the international community. We noted that Schönbach has already resigned and he has only himself to blame for that. 

I would also stress that China and Germany are comprehensive strategic partners. Since the formation of the new German government, Chinese and German leaders have had close interaction, and agreed that it is important to have a keen grasp of the bilateral relations from a strategic perspective and promote practical cooperation with a pragmatic attitude. Both sides agreed to take the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2022 as an opportunity to strengthen communication and cooperation, expand mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, respond to challenges together, and make due contribution to global governance.

Xinhua News Agency: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach arrived in Beijing on January 22 for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games and relevant activities, the IOC told media the other day. Could you share more information on his schedule in Beijing?

Zhao Lijian: We welcome IOC President Thomas Bach to China for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games and relevant activities. Mr. Bach has expressed his best wishes and support for Beijing 2022 on multiple occasions, and we highly commend that. The Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a grand gathering for all athletes and a symbol of human solidarity and friendship. We are confident that along with all parties including the IOC, we will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games to the world.

As to Mr. Bach’s schedule in China, we will release information in due course. Please stay tuned. 

RIA Novosti: Earlier the military in Burkina Faso said that the President of the country was no longer exercising his powers, the government and the National Assembly are dissolved, and borders are closed. Do you have any comment? Is China considering an evacuation from Burkina Faso?

Zhao Lijian: China is closely following the development of the situation in Burkina Faso and noted the remarks of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). China calls on all parties in Burkina Faso to bear in mind the fundamental interests of the nation and people, peacefully resolve differences through dialogue, restore normal order at an early date and uphold national stability and solidarity.

The Chinese embassy in Burkina Faso has issued a security alert. China will spare no effort to protect the safety of Chinese citizens in the country.

AFP: According to a Bloomberg report, foreign diplomats attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics could go through a 21-day centralized medical observation if they are deemed close contacts of any positive case in the audience. Could you confirm it?

Zhao Lijian: For your specific question on the epidemic prevention and control work of the Beijing Winter Olympics, I would like to refer you to competent authorities. 

Beijing Youth Daily: According to Cambodian media reports, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics at invitation. Can you confirm this and offer more details?

Zhao Lijian: As China’s neighbor with long-standing friendship, Cambodia firmly supports China in hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics. His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is an old friend of the Chinese people. We welcome His Majesty to China to witness the historical moment of Beijing becoming the first city ever to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. 

Global Times: We noted that relevant data from the US non-profit organization “Gun Violence Archive” website shows that in 2021, there were 691 cases of vicious gun violence incidents involving at least four victims in the US, a record high since the website started tracking gun violence cases in the US in 2013. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: I noted the situation you mentioned. I also noticed that the archive revealed that gun violence resulted in 44,750 deaths in 2021. Among them, 1,533 were teens or children at or under the age of 17. Up to 40,359 people were injured, including 4,107 people at or under the age of 17. These numbers also set record highs since the website started to track the data.

Behind those numbers are bereaved families and devastated relatives. This is shocking and heartbreaking. With every gun shot, the American dream is perforated with a bullet; and with every whiff of gunpowder, public introspection and suspicion arise. People wonder, is democracy flaunted by the US blind to people’s lives, and is freedom touted by the country only about the freedom of shooting other people?

Gun violence in the US has grown into a tumor of society. Compounded with grave problems including the unchecked pandemic, drug proliferation and racial discrimination, gun violence has become a serious systemic human rights issue. Oddly enough, the US politicians pretend not to see, still less address people’s deep sufferings. The politicians are obsessed with blowing the country’s own trumpet, and lecturing other countries. We cannot help but wonder: On what grounds have they put themselves in the position and given themselves such confidence to do so? We hope the striking numbers can have a sobering effect on these people so that they will do some soul-searching and take concrete actions to improve the human rights conditions in their own country.

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