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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on July 7, 2022

AFP: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is about to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting this week. I wonder if the foreign ministry could share more details about the topics for his meeting with the US Secretary of State? Will he have a face-to-face dialogue with the Russian Foreign Minister?

Zhao Lijian: I answered a question yesterday on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s upcoming meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. As to his other bilateral engagements on the sidelines of the G20, I can share with you that this morning, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of India, Indonesia, and Argentina and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. According to my knowledge, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as we speak. He is also expected to have bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of countries including the US, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

Phoenix TV: Also on the meeting between Chinese and US foreign ministers. A US State Department official said in a recent press briefing that a critical objective of the meeting is to reinforce the guardrails in bilateral relations and add stability to the relationship. What’s China’s response?

Zhao Lijian: The US keeps calling for “guardrails”. The “guardrails” for China-US relationship already exists — the three China-US joint communiqués. China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. As the world’s top two economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries must make the relationship work and not mess it up. The two sides need to uphold the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation and bring the bilateral relations back to the track of sound and steady development. The US needs to abide by the provisions in the joint communiqués and the commitments it has made to China. 

PTI: You just announced that there was a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and China in Bali this morning. India has already released certain details of the meeting, including the India-China boundary question. Can you provide some details from your side? What transpired at this meeting?

Zhao Lijian: Like you, I have also been closely following their meeting. We will release the readout promptly. You may check the website later for latest updates. 

We have read India’s press release about the meeting. What I can say is that the China-India border area is generally stable at the moment. The two sides have agreed to follow the important common understandings reached by the two leaders and the agreements signed by both sides, and properly resolve issues related to the Western sector of the China-India boundary in line with the principle of mutual and equal security. China and India are each other’s important neighbors. The two sides have the will and capability of jointly maintaining peace and tranquility in the China-India border areas.

Reuters: A US counter-intelligence agency on Wednesday warned state and local officials that China is intensifying influence operations aimed at manipulating them into pressing the federal government to pursue more Beijing-friendly policies. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: There is a Chinese saying. “A man who lost his axe suspects his neighbor of stealing it”. The remarks of the US side reflect its Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice. Like the man in the Chinese saying, the US allegation lacks factual basis. There is nothing to hide about the dialogue and cooperation that Chinese institutions have had with the US side. Such dialogue and cooperation is crucial for more people-to-people exchange and mutual learning and greater mutual understanding and trust between the two countries. It is welcomed and supported by the people of both countries.

Sub-national exchange and cooperation is an important foundation for the development of China-US relations. Strengthening exchange and cooperation is people’s aspiration and the trend of the times. The US side needs to get rid of self-imposed bias, and stop disrupting and undermining sub-national and people-to-people exchange. It needs to do more things that help build bridges of friendship between the two peoples. It also needs to work with China to jointly promote the public support which is the foundation for the steady development of China-US relations.

BBC: I want to ask you about the comments from the heads of the US and British spy agencies who had a joint press conference speaking about China. For example, they said that China was the biggest long-term threat to other countries’ national and economic security. What’s China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: The US politician has been playing up the so-called “China threat” to smear and attack China. His remarks fully expose his entrenched Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice.

The US just celebrated its 246th Independence Day. The US was not at war for only 16 years throughout its 240-plus years of history, which made it known as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world”. Dakota Wood, Senior Research Fellow for Defense Programs at the US Heritage Foundation, pointed out that in “every 15 years or so” the US would get involved in a conflict. In order to defend its hegemony and selfish gains, the US has been violating the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms of international relations, abusing its economic, scientific and military dominance, waging wars in various places and stoking division and conflicts, and suppressing companies from other countries, including US’s allies. This has brought huge turmoil and disasters to the world. Facts have proven that the US is the biggest threat to world peace and development. We urge the US intelligence officer to put things into perspective, see China’s development in an objective and reasonable light, stop spreading lies, and stop making irresponsible remarks.

As to the remarks of the British side, the MI5 and MI6, as British security service, are both experts on planting spies. They are trying to project their own disgraceful acts onto China through these false, sensational reports to play up the so-called “China threat” and stoke antagonism and confrontation.

We have stated on multiple occasions that the objective of China’s development is to deliver better lives to the Chinese people, not to target anyone, still less replace anyone. This head of UK security service needs to cast away imagined demons, leave the dark room and meet the sunlight, stop clinging to the obsolete zero-sum game mindset and stop creating imagined enemies.

Follow-up: Does the Chinese government have any response to the specific allegations of the head of MI5?

Zhao Lijian: The allegations against China are completely far-fetched and the so-called cases they listed are pure shadow chasing. This is a typical example of a thief crying “stop thief”. We deplore this type of despicable and deceptive gambit.

China Daily: Since May 2021, the Helena Kennedy Center at the Sheffield Hallam University has issued four reports on Xinjiang to propagate the lie of “forced labor” in Xinjiang. China Daily has examined the source of the reports and made field trips to Xinjiang, and has recently found that the reports came from an organized group of disinformation providers with a hidden agenda, and the authors of the reports and the patron of the Helena Kennedy Center have inextricable links to terrorism and extremism. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: I have seen China Daily’s report. Thumbs up to you. Good job.

I noted in your report that the authors of these so-called “research papers” you mentioned have either long received funding from government agencies like the US Department of Justice or openly admitted to having a family member who is a terrorist suspect. The patron of the Helena Kennedy Center is the founder of an extremist anti-China political group. The reports published by the Center on “forced labor” in Xinjiang are seriously flawed. The stories in these reports cannot stand basic fact-check and have been proven false by the people and companies cited in the reports themselves. Some of the citations in the reports have either been proven to be fake news or disinformation spread by the infamous Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The reports, which endorse the outrageous lie of “forced labor” in Xinjiang, are a disgrace in the academic circle, yet they are quoted by anti-China politicians and media in the US to justify the US government’s groundless sanctions on Xinjiang. If you look at the background of the scholars who complied the reports, you will find that it is not human rights that these people care about or want to study. They have no credibility and academic integrity to speak of. They are paid by the US to provide means of spreading disinformation. 

I want to stress that lies will always be lies no matter how they are wrapped. With more fair-minded journalists and other people telling the truth about Xinjiang through interviews and other first-hand experience, more people are getting to know the real Xinjiang and have come to learn who are behind the lies about Xinjiang and how these lies are propagated. It is important that people across the world know the truth and stay perceptive so that they will not be deceived by those sinister and cheap lies. 

Shenzhen TV: NASA’s administrator Bill Nelson reportedly said on July 5 that the Chinese space program is run by its military, while the US agency runs a peaceful and open civilian space program with international participation. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The remarks of the US official is a misrepresentation of facts.

The US is the main driver in turning outer space into a weapon and a battlefield. It has long followed a strategy of maintaining space dominance, aggressively developed and deployed space weapons and frequently conducted military drills in space. NASA has inextricable links with the US military. In September 2020, NASA signed an MoU with the US Space Force. Many NASA employees are current or former military service members. Administrator Nelson himself served in the military. The US is very selective about its so-called international cooperation. It has even adopted specific legislation to sanction and suppress foreign space agencies without good reason.

China is always committed to the peaceful use of space and actively promotes international space cooperation. Since China began its manned space engineering program, we have been following the principles of peaceful use, equality, mutual benefit and common development. China has signed cooperation agreements and had fruitful collaboration with many international space agencies and groups. For example, the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite cooperation is an excellent example of South-South cooperation in the space domain. The BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, which was proposed by China, allows BRICS countries to share remote sensing data and contributes to their economic and social development. The Chang’e-4 moon mission carried a suite of international payloads from Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden for joint scientific research.

The US needs to stop turning a blind eye to facts and denigrating China, seriously reflect on its negative statements and actions in the space domain, assume its due responsibility as a major country, and do more things that are good for China-US space and aviation cooperation.

China News Service: According to reports, from July 5 to 6, the UK hosted in London the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. British officials used religion as a pretext to make wanton comments on other countries and criticized China on Xinjiang-related issues. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I’m aware of this conference. Certain politicians are in the habit of using freedom of religious belief as a pretext to criticize, discredit and smear other countries. The British politicians you mentioned disregarded facts and deliberately denigrated china. We deplore and reject this. 

China is a country based on rule of law. The Chinese government protects freedom of religious belief and relevant rights in accordance with law. People of all ethnic groups in China enjoy full freedom of religious belief. The progress China has made in protecting the rights and interests of religious personnel over the years has been well recognized in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and freedom of religious belief and other lawful rights of people from all ethnic backgrounds, including the Uyghurs, are fully protected. 

Facts speak louder than words. Truth is in the eyes of the people. The UK needs to face up to and respect facts, stop political manipulation and stop using the so-called freedom of religious belief as a pretext to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs. The UK needs to spend more time in keeping its own house in order and earnestly rectify its own human rights problems.

Macau Monthly: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended best wishes to the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his birthday. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: Tibet-related affairs are China’s internal affairs and brook no interference by any external forces. China firmly opposes all forms of contact between foreign officials and the 14th Dalai Lama. 

Tibet has long witnessed booming economic development with social harmony and stability and cultural traditions protected and promoted. People of all ethnic groups in Tibet enjoy the freedom of religious belief, and the freedom to use and develop their ethnic languages. Other rights and freedoms are also fully protected. 

The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile disguised as a religious figure who has long engaged in anti-China separatist activities. We urge the US side to fully understand the importance and highly sensitive nature of Tibet-related issues, seriously respect the core interests of China, understand the anti-China and separatist nature of the Dalai clique, abide by US commitments on Tibet-related issues, refrain from all forms of contact with Dalai and stop sending wrong signals to the world.

The Indian side also needs to fully understand the anti-China and separatist nature of the 14th Dalai Lama. It needs to abide by its commitments to China on Tibet-related issues, act and speak with prudence and stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs. 

Reuters: The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a network of Chinese, Emirati and other companies that it accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia. Can you comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: China has always been firmly opposed to illegal and unjustifiable unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US. We urge the US side to abandon the wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn and contribute positively to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA. The international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law. This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party, and deserves to be respected and protected.

Phoenix TV: Today marks the 85th anniversary of the “Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) Incident” on July 7, 1937, do you have anything to say on this?

Zhao Lijian: On July 7, 1937, Japanese militarism created the so-called “Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) Incident” to launch full-scale invasion of China. After bloody battles and unyielding fight, the Chinese people defeated the heinous Japanese militarists and won the great victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The CPC was the pillar in achieving this great victory. The victory was also an important part of the World Anti-Fascist War. It was a victory for the Chinese people and for people of the world.  

China believes that to grow China-Japan relations, it is important to see history as a mirror and look ahead to the future. We hope the Japanese side will own up to and reflect upon its history of aggression, draw profound lessons and adhere to the path of peaceful development with concrete actions. 

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