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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 22, 2022

Phoenix TV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on March 21 saying the US is imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials for their involvement in human rights violations such as repressive acts against members of ethnic and religious minority groups, dissidents and others inside and outside of China’s borders, including within the US. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US statement, full of ideological bias and political lies, maligns and smears China and wantonly imposes restrictions on Chinese officials. It contravenes international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. We firmly reject it.

The Chinese people can tell better than anyone else how China’s human rights conditions are. The US is in no position to pass judgement. The Chinese government follows a people-centered human rights philosophy and implements the constitutional principle of respecting and protecting human rights. We take the rights to subsistence and development as the primary basic human rights, make coordinated efforts to promote all people’s economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights, strive to uphold social equity and justice, and promote the well-rounded development of each individual. China has successfully blazed a trail of human rights development that is in keeping with the trend of the times and its national realities. Thanks to this, China’s human rights cause has made historic achievement and the 1.4 billion Chinese people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness and security in human rights protection has continuously improved. As the international community can see, China’s human rights conditions have never been better.

The worst human rights violations in the world were committed by no other than the US. Throughout its history, the US physically slaughtered, geographically expelled and culturally assimilated Native Americans, committing systemic human rights abuses. These crimes are more than enough to constitute de facto genocide. The US conducted systemic ethnic cleansing against Native Americans over more than a century after the country was founded. The population of Native Americans nosedived from 5 million at the end of the 15th century to 250,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. The US government also adopted cultural assimilation policies, leading to cultural genocide against Native Americans.

The tribulations of Native Americans are far from being the full story of the US’ poor human rights record. The US botched response to COVID-19 has led to the death of over 970,000 Americans, and the persistent and systemic racial discrimination is so deeply entrenched that people like George Floyd cannot breathe. The US aggression overseas violates human rights of people in other countries, inflicting untold sufferings. The US even flagrantly seized the $7 billion frozen assets of the Afghan central bank. By robbing the Afghan people of their life-saving money, it has aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Yet, such a country has been clamoring for pressure and sanctions on other countries in the name of “protecting human rights”. Such tricks are doomed to fail. 

We urge the US to earnestly reflect upon and rectify its numerous crimes of human rights violations. In the meantime, it should view China’s human rights situation in an objective and just manner, stop denigrating and suppressing the Chinese side and immediately revoke its so-called sanctions against Chinese officials. Otherwise, the Chinese side shall take reciprocal countermeasures in response.

Bloomberg: The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has appointed a senior investigator to work with China on the probe into the China Eastern Airlines Flight crash. That investigator will be helped by representatives from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the companies Boeing and CFM. So my question is, will China allow these people into the country? If so, will they have to undertake any sort of COVID quarantine restrictions? Will they get a shortened quarantine to facilitate the investigation into the crash?

Wang Wenbin: We are deeply grieved by the crash of the China Eastern Airlines airplane. The competent Chinese authorities are making all-out search and rescue efforts and will identify the cause of the accident as soon as possible to ensure the absolute safety of civil aviation operations. Relevant Chinese authorities have released information about the situation. I’d like to refer you to them for more specifics.

RIA Novosti: The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Moscow, in response to Japanese sanctions, is refusing to negotiate a peace treaty with Japan and withdrawing from joint economic projects with Japan. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. We hope Russia and Japan will properly handle relevant issues.

Reuters: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a visit to Pakistan. Which other countries will he visit?

Wang Wenbin: The information will be released in due course.

Prasar Bharati: This is regarding the return of international students to China. Students from Thailand have returned to China. Students from Solomon Islands have returned to China. China has issued visas to Pakistani students. My question is, when is China planning to issue visas to Indian students to return?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government attaches high importance to the issue of foreign students returning to China to pursue their studies. On the basis of ensuring sound epidemic prevention and control, it is coordinating arrangement for a small number of foreign students with actual needs to return to China in light of the changing international epidemic situation and the characteristics of the students’ majors.

Reuters: According to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed State Councilor Wang Yi on India’s so-called human rights violation in India-occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir and on a recent firing of missile from India into Pakistan. What does Pakistan hope China can do about this? And will State Councilor Wang discuss this with his Indian counterpart?

Wang Wenbin: I believe you must have seen the readout on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Pakistan. During his visit, the two sides had extensive and in-depth talks, which cemented the traditional friendship, enhanced strategic coordination, and promoted practical cooperation between China and Pakistan. The two sides agreed that in the face of the profound changes in the international landscape and turbulence and challenges in the world, China and Pakistan need to strengthen strategic communication, jointly build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, act as a source of stability to underpin regional peace and prosperity, and contribute to global development and progress. 

Global Times: According to reports, the Houthis in Yemen launched drone strikes on oil facilities including Aramco’s oil refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, on March 20. The attacks didn’t cause any casualty, but led to a temporary drop in production capacity. Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China condemns the attacks on oil facilities including the Yanbu refinery. We consistently oppose attacks targeting civil facilities such as oil fields, support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard its security and stability, and urge relevant sides to refrain from taking actions that will escalate regional tensions.

Bloomberg: The Russian Confucius Culture Promotion Association said on its official WeChat account that Ambassador Zhang Hanhui met with Chinese business representatives in Moscow on Sunday. What view does the foreign ministry take on the role of small- and medium-sized Chinese businesses in Russia?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to reiterate that China and Russia conduct normal economic and trade cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. 

Beijing Youth Daily: In his speech delivered recently at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken once again accused the Chinese government of continuing to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The more the US repeats lies related to Xinjiang, the more it exposes its hypocrisy in claiming to be a “defender” of human rights. 

As millions of Native Americans died from genocide, the US should sincerely repent for its crimes, rather than smear and denigrate others. 

As nearly one million American lives were lost to COVID-19, over 40,000 people fall victim to gun violence every year in the US and thousands to racial discrimination, the US should reflect soberly on its own human rights deficit, rather than wantonly criticize others.

As US-waged wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other places have caused 330,000 civilian deaths and turned over 26 million people into refugees, the US should sincerely beseech the international community to forgive it, rather than lecture others on human rights in a condescending manner. 

We urge the US to face squarely and address its own systemic and persistent human rights problems instead of scribbling prescriptions for others when it is sick itself, and more importantly, stop undermining human rights in other countries in the name of defending it. If the US can quit its old habit of lecturing others on human rights, the human rights situation in the world will be much better. 

AFP: Is State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi planning a visit to India? And also, could you please confirm whether there were any foreign nationals among those on the plane that crashed?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I have no information to offer at this moment.

On your second question, according to preliminary verification, there were no foreigners on board the China Eastern flight that crashed. Competent Chinese authorities will further verify the situation in accordance with relevant information later on. 

Kyodo News: According to reports, the US Indo-Pacific commander claimed in an interview that China has fully militarized three islands in the South China Sea. Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: A sovereign country is naturally entitled to deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory. It is consistent with international law and beyond reproach for China to do so.

I need to point out that the US has been enhancing military deployment around the South China Sea in recent years and has frequently sent warships and military aircraft on a large scale for provocative purposes, which gravely threatens the sovereignty and security of littoral countries and undermines the sound order and navigation safety in these waters. We hope the US will stop sowing discord on related issues and flexing muscles in the South China Sea, and play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability. 

Reuters: I noticed you are wearing a black tie today. Is there any special meaning?

Wang Wenbin: I don’t see the need to go into that.

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