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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on January 28, 2022

CCTV: The Chinese delegation for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games was officially established yesterday. The 387-strong delegation, which includes 176 athletes, is the biggest one China has ever sent to any Winter Games. The athletes will compete in all events, which is a historical breakthrough. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I would like to congratulate the Chinese delegation on its official establishment. China’s Olympians brim with youthful vigor, with an average age of 25.2. Among them, 20 are from nine ethnic minority groups, including the Tibetan and Uyghur ethnic groups. There are young skier as young as 17 years old and veteran athletes who will be taking part in the Winter Games for the fourth time. Chinese athletes are ready and poised for outperforming themselves at the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Many overseas delegations have been arriving in Beijing in recent days. China will play host to them and provide them with warm and thoughtful service. 

I also want to say that the hospitable Chinese people will cheer for the athletes of all countries. We hope all athletes will set new records with great tenacity and present the unique charm of winter sports to the world. We hope they will enhance exchanges and friendship during the Games and demonstrate the Olympic philosophy of mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. We are convinced that the gathering of delegations in Beijing for the Winter Olympics will usher in a new era of global winter sports and create a new chapter of solidarity and friendship among people of all countries. 

CCTV: Yesterday, on the occasion of the anniversary of the establishment of the China-France diplomatic ties and the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in a few days, relevant institutions of China and France jointly released information about the upcoming concert under the theme of “peace, friendship and love” in celebration of Beijing 2022 and the New Year. Can you share more information?

Zhao Lijian: Yesterday marked the 58th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations. To jointly welcome Beijing 2022, the cultural institutions of the two countries will jointly record a concert under the theme of “peace, friendship and love” in Beijing and Paris in celebration of Beijing 2022 and the New Year. Nearly 100 artists from ten countries including China and France are invited to give their joint performance, and the concert will be aired soon on TV channels and social media platforms of the two countries including TV5 Monde. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. This concert with the special theme jointly held by Beijing and Paris at the special timing fully demonstrates the Olympic Spirit of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”. We highly appreciate this international concert of special significance held by the two countries. We also support and look forward to more understanding of and participation in Beijing 2022 of people in France and Europe at large.

TASS: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said that the United States on Thursday called on China to use its influence with Russia to urge a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. Do you have any comments on this?

Zhao Lijian: China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear and stays unchanged. To solve the Ukrainian issue, it is necessary to return to the starting point of the Minsk-2 agreement, which is endorsed by the UN Security Council. As a fundamental political document recognized by all sides, the agreement should be earnestly implemented. China will support all efforts in keeping with the direction and spirit of this agreement. In the meantime, we call on all sides to stay cool-headed and avoid doing things that will escalate the tensions and hype up the crisis. 

China News Service: The federal government of Ethiopia adopted a resolution on January 26 to end the state of emergency ahead of its expiration. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: We are glad to see the improvement of domestic situation in Ethiopia and the government’s decision to end the state of emergency ahead of the expiration. China always believes that the Ethiopian people have the wisdom and the capability to handle internal affairs well, and supports relevant parties in Ethiopia in resolving differences through dialogue and negotiation to achieve lasting ceasefire and reconciliation at an early date.

China has been playing a positive and constructive role in the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa. Not long ago, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward the Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa during his visit to Africa, which won positive response from regional countries including Ethiopia. China is ready to continue working with all parties for lasting peace, development and prosperity in the region.

Dragon TV: According to reports, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has called on the country’s officials to fix the name of the so-called “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania”, noting that the office’s name in Chinese “was a key factor” in the conflict with China. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: China has articulated on the nature of the Taiwan-related issue concerning Lithuania on many occasions. Lithuania is clear about crux of the issue. If the Lithuanian side truly wants to ease tensions with China, then it should demonstrate sincerity, correct mistakes with concrete actions, and return to the right track of adhering to the one-China principle. Muddling through the issue by playing with words simply does not work. 

Beijing Youth Daily: Six thyroid cancer patients in Japan recently filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in the Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation for thyroid cancer that they say is due to radiation that seeped from the Japanese nuclear power plant after the 2011 disaster. The team of lawyers said that the plaintiffs kept silent in depression for the past decade due to concerns about Japan’s official statements. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have seen relevant reports. It was also mentioned that the six plaintiffs suffering from thyroid cancer are aged between 17 and 27. The reports also mentioned that after the Fukushima nuclear accident, more than 260 cases or suspected cases of thyroid cancer had been detected in a provincial health survey of roughly 380,000 people aged 18 or under at the time of the disaster. I deeply sympathize with these young people in their prime who have been paying a heavy price for the nuclear accident with their unfortunate experience.

Ever since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, people in Japan and other countries on the Pacific rim have been voicing their doubt about and opposition to the safety issue of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. According to reports, at least ten thousand people have filed lawsuits so far, asking for compensation from TEPCO. But more worryingly, the Japanese government insisted on its unilateral decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and has been proceeding with the preparatory work, in disregard of the severe consequences the Fukushima nuclear accident had caused and the opposition of different parties. A number of young Japanese have fallen victim to cancer, given up education and employment opportunities, and had to undergo tough medical treatment and surgery. Going forward, they even have to worry about the recurrence of cancer and the impact on marriage and family plans. How does the Japanese government see these facts? Does it still plan to let nuclear contaminated water endanger the life and health of people in Japan, its neighboring countries and the whole world? 

I want to stress that no responsible country and government would force its own people to pay for the government’s mistakes, nor impose its own wrongdoings on the international community. Whether the Japanese government can shoulder due responsibilities, immediately withdraw the decision of the discharge and stop relevant preparations would be a litmus test for Japan to earn trust from its own people and the whole world. Neighboring countries and the international community are looking forward to the answer.

AFP: Yesterday US Vice President Kamala Harris said that she spoke with her Taiwanese counterpart in Honduras where the two traveled to attend the inauguration ceremony of the newly-elected President of Honduras. Harris said they talked about common interests in Central America, not about China’s mainland. I wonder if you have any comment on this and how do you view these discussions?

Zhao Lijian: There is no Taiwanese “vice president” since Taiwan is a province of China. China always opposes all forms of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan. Lai Ching-te claims that his approach toward “Taiwan independence” is pragmatic. He made “Taiwan independence” comments on many occasions and obstinately insists on a “Taiwan independence” platform. The US should abide by the one-China principle and stipulations in the three China-US joint communiques, take China’s position and concerns seriously, stop all forms of official interactions with Taiwan and avoid sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” forces.

Global Times: We noted that the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in a statement issued the other day strongly condemned the operation of the US and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria’s Hasaka Governorate, and accused them of committing massacres against civilians and massive destruction of infrastructure, which caused the displacement of thousands of families. The Syrian statement also pointed out that what the US forces and the SDF have done amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of US forces from northeastern Syria. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Syrian crisis has entered its 11th year. The US military intervention in Syria has never ended, bringing profound sufferings to the Syrian people and creating horrendous humanitarian disasters. 

People still remember that in 2017, the US carried out airstrikes against Syria based on a fake, staged video of “White Helmets” as evidence. In the same year, the US troops launched what they called the “most precise air campaign in history” in Raqqa, killing up to 1,600 civilians. According to a report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic of the United Nations in September 2019, some airstrikes conducted by the US were indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between military targets and civilian objects, which severely violated international law and may amount to a war crime. 

The war crimes committed by the US in Syria may only be the tip of the iceberg of its belligerence all over the world. In Iraq, the US illegal invasion not only resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties, but also left behind about 25 million landmines and other explosive remnants. In Afghanistan, more than 100,000 civilian casualties were caused by the US and the production of opium and other drugs proliferated unchecked. As a Brown University research suggests, US counterterrorist operations in 85 countries and regions over the past 20 years have led to 897,000-929,000 direct war deaths, and created more than 38 million refugees and people displaced.

The US should earnestly look into these grave crimes, stringently punish the perpetrators and connivers, and demonstrate its sincerity in mending its ways with real actions.

Hubei Media Group: US President Biden said on January 25 that if Russia were to move in with all those forces it had deployed on the Russia-Ukraine border, “it’d be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.” The US government stated that it would provide additional USD 200 million defensive military assistance to Ukraine. Recently, some Western media and politicians have been propagating the theory that the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine is imminent. What is China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. Creating tensions does no good to easing the Ukraine crisis, but only adds more uncertainties to the region and the whole world. China is firmly opposed to this.

It has always been the common appeal of the international community that we should choose dialogue over confrontation, solidarity over division, and peace over war. Under the current circumstances, we call on all relevant parties to ease the tension as much as possible, avoid escalation of the situation, stop stirring up trouble and inciting opposition and confrontation.

China always advocates that relevant countries’ security concerns and security initiatives should be treated in a balanced and fair manner. We hope all parties can work together and properly resolve differences through dialogue and consultation to promote global strategic balance and stability.

NHK: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs just released information on the attendance of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Games by foreign heads of state and heads of government. How many heads of state and heads of government will attend the Games?

Zhao Lijian: We have released the relevant information earlier. You may refer to that. 

Shenzhen TV: It is reported that the two military aircraft sent by China to deliver disaster-relief supplies have arrived in Tonga already. Can you tell us more about the relevant situation?

Zhao Lijian: Early this morning, two military aircraft loaded with China-assisted supplies arrived in Tonga, carrying with them the utmost support and friendly feeling of the Chinese government and people for the Tongan government and people. Tonga’s Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni and Foreign Minister Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu received the supplies at the airport. 

The Tongan side sincerely thanked the Chinese government and people for the generous assistance, saying that China is the first country to offer disaster-relief supplies and is an important partner. China shipped direly needed supplies such as food and water yesterday and today’s delivery of temporary houses and daily necessities will help to meet the urgent need in Tonga. The Tongan side said in the face of ruthless volcanic eruption and tsunami, it is an honor to have a close and reliable partner like China who has given Tonga firm support and selfless help at trying times.

Thanks to the close cooperation of the two sides, the supplies have been unloaded and handed to the Tongan side. China will step up coordination with Tonga to ensure smooth transportation and distribution of the supplies so that they can be sent to people in urgent need as soon as possible. In the meantime, bulky items and more supplies such as portable cabins and tractors that China will provide at Tonga’s request will be shipped to Tonga by military vessels in coming days. China will work with relevant countries to form synergy by leveraging our respective strength and help Tonga with the reconstruction. 

Bloomberg: The Biden administration said it recommended changes to China’s requirements for COVID-19 quarantine and testing among American diplomats. A State Department spokesman told reporters on Thursday that the US has recommended a series of options that would be consistent with COVID-19 mitigation measures and at the same time align with international diplomatic norms. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have answered some similar questions. China is the safest country in the world. Our dynamic zero-COVID policy and epidemic-prevention protocol are based on science and experts’ opinions. They are in keeping with China’s realities and WHO’s guiding principles. They apply equally to Chinese and foreign nationals living in China. The practice is consistent with provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and fully accommodates the comfort and legitimate rights and interests of diplomatic and consular personnel posted in China. We hope the US side will respect facts and comply with China’s COVID policy.

Phoenix TV: According to reports, China has agreed to receive a visit to Xinjiang by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet after the Beijing Winter Olympics. Could you confirm this and disclose any possible plan?

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Madame Michelle Bachelet to visit China and take a trip to Xinjiang. The invitation was extended a long time ago. Since then, the two sides have maintained communication over this. China’s position is consistent and clear. The purpose of the visit is to promote exchange and cooperation. We oppose any attempt to exploit this matter for political manipulation.

Anadolu Agency: According to the South China Morning Post, the Bachelet visit will be on the precondition that the UN should not publish a report about human rights in Xinjiang during the Winter Olympics. Is this true?

Zhao Lijian: I can assure you that Xinjiang enjoys stability and prosperity and residents there lead happy and fulfilling lives with their human rights fully protected. We firmly oppose acts that use issues relating to Xinjiang to attack and smear China in disregard of the fact that the region enjoys stability, development, prosperity and constant progress in its human rights cause.

Bloomberg: The US Federal Communications Commission ejected China Unicom from the US market over security concerns. The FCC Chairwoman said there is mounting evidence and growing concern that Chinese state-owned carriers pose a real threat to the security of US telecommunications networks. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this move?

Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports and would refer you to competent authorities for the specifics.

In principle, I want to point out that the US side has revoked the authorization for a Chinese company to operate in the US on the ground of “national security” again without offering the facts about any violation of law. The US has flagrantly overstretched the concept of national security and abused state power to hobble a Chinese company, which gravely undermines international trade rules and hurts the legitimate rights and interests of global consumers including those in the US. The Chinese government supports companies concerned in defending their own interests in accordance with law, and will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.


To celebrate the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year), our press conference will be in recess from January 31 to February 6 and resumed on February 7. During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson’s Office by fax, email and WeChat.

On behalf of the MFA Information Department, I would like to thank all of you for the efforts and contribution in reporting on China in the Year of the Ox. China is the only country in the world that holds press conference on every workday. Thank you all for your hard work in covering the briefings. I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to express our gratitude for friends from various sectors, especially the fans of the Spokespersons’ Office, for your care and support for China’s diplomacy. You are one of the reasons that we keep going forward. 

I am wearing a red tie today because red is the color for the Spring Festival which is just around the corner. I wish you good fortune and a happy holiday! 

This year’s Spring Festival coincides with the Beijing Winter Olympics, giving people extra delight. We congratulate Beijing on becoming the first city ever to host both Summer and Winter Olympics and wish Beijing 2022 a splendid, smooth and successful event. We wish everyone great vitality and all the best in the upcoming year. See you in the Year of the Tiger and happy Chinese New Year!

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