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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on March 29, 2023

2023-03-29 17:59

Xinhua News Agency: Today we released a report entitled “The United States’ Arbitrary Detention at Home and Abroad: Truth and Facts”. Do you have any comment on it?

Mao Ning: The Xinhua report is worth reading. With powerful facts and figures, it ripped apart the US’s disguise and revealed the truth that the US wantonly abuses arbitrary detention at home and abroad. 

Arbitrary detention occurs when an individual is arrested and detained by a government without due process and without the legal protections of a fair trial, or when an individual is detained without any legal basis for deprivation of liberty. Arbitrary detention, in essence, is unlawful detention. Freedom from arbitrary detention is a fundamental individual right stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of the United Nations, and an important provision in international human rights treaties. However, facts from within the US and around the world have shown that, though a contributor in the drafting of the UDHR and one of the first countries to ratify international human rights treaties, the US has carried out arbitrary detention in total disregard of its domestic legal provisions and international treaty obligations, causing serious physical and mental harm to people involved. 

This Xinhua report chronicled how the US resorted to arbitrary detention and political manipulation on relevant issues and delved into the underlying deep-seated political culture of racism and violence in the US. The report shows that the US groundlessly accuses others of arbitrary detention, while at the same time, however, does not mention a word about the torture and maltreatment common at its own prisons. Arbitrarily throwing people into its “black sites” around the world without trial has become a hallmark of the US trampling on the rule of law and infringing on human rights. This report exposes the US’ hypocrisy and double standards with regard to democracy and human rights and allows the world to see that the US is in every sense an “empire of arbitrary detention” with the worst human rights violations. We call on the US to face up to and reflect upon its own deplorable record with regard to democracy and human rights, stop politicizing democracy and human rights issues, stop interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy, and stop undermining the human rights of people of other countries.

RIA Novosti: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview today with The AP that he’s willing to meet with the Chinese leader in Ukraine. What’s China’s comment? Is China willing to have exchanges with the Ukrainian side?

Mao Ning: On the Ukraine issue, China has maintained communication with all relevant parties, including Ukraine. I have no information on the specifics you asked about.

Reuters: According to Japanese media reports, the Japanese foreign minister may visit China this weekend and meet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Could you confirm if this is true and if so, share with us what they plan to discuss?

Mao Ning: The two sides are in communication over the visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to China. We will keep you updated if there is more to share. 

Bloomberg: A question about US entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried. He was charged yesterday by US authorities for bribing Chinese officials. Specifically, he’s accused of authorizing the payment of $40 million to get Chinese officials to unfreeze accounts of one of his Hong Kong-based affiliates. Does the foreign ministry have any comment about this alleged bribing of Chinese officials by the US entrepreneur?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of that.

CGTN: Over recent days, we have seen many CEOs of foreign companies at the China Development Forum 2023. They were warmly received by the Chinese government, companies and the public. Many people commented on the internet that the courtesy these foreign companies receive in China is in sharp contrast to the besieging that companies, such as TikTok, face in the US. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: As you said, the China Development Forum 2023 has been in the spotlight recently. President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Forum, which underscores the importance he sees in the Forum. Premier Li Qiang met with representatives of overseas participants of the Forum. Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. Chinese and foreign participants had deep-going discussions under the theme “Economic Recovery: Opportunities and Cooperation”, through which they have increased shared understanding and offered fresh insights into ways to achieve development.

The Forum sent out a number of positive messages: First, with the fundamentals sustaining its long-term sound growth unchanged, China’s economy will continue to provide impetus and certainties to the world economy. Second, China will build a new development paradigm guided by the new development vision to achieve higher-quality development, which will create new opportunities for the world. Third, China remains committed to further opening up, which means broader market and better business environment for all countries. At this year’s Forum, cooperation is the most discussed topic and nothing is more expected than achieving win-win. As President Xi Jinping noted, the facilitation of global economic recovery requires consensus and cooperation. We stand ready to work with all parties to write a new chapter of openness, cooperation and win-win results.

You also mentioned the unfair treatment relevant companies have recently experienced in the US. I think many saw what happened. The US needs to earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing foreign companies, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the investment and operation of foreign companies in the US.

The Associated Press: In an interview with The AP, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited the Chinese leader to visit Ukraine. Zelenskyy has said that the leaders of the two sides have not had contact for one year since the Ukraine crisis. So I would like to ask, would China accept this invitation or plan to accept this invitation?

Mao Ning: I answered this question just now. On the Ukraine issue, China has maintained communication with all relevant parties, including Ukraine. I have no information on the specifics you asked about.

Follow-up: And may I ask for comment on the fact that Zelenskyy has said that he has not been in contact with China for more than a year or since the war began? 

Mao Ning: China has maintained communication with all relevant parties, including Ukraine. 

Follow-up: Has China received a formal invitation so far from President Zelenskyy?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of that.

Bloomberg: So there is a report detailing a telephone call between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, on Friday. Can the foreign ministry confirm that this conversation took place? And if so, any more details on the content of that conversation?

Mao Ning: China and the US maintain necessary communication. I have no information on the specifics you asked about.

AFP: A senior US official said today, there’s absolutely no reason for China to use Tsai’s visit to the US this week as a pretext to overreact. The same official also said Tsai’s trip is fully consistent with decades of practice. Does the Chinese side have any comment on this matter?

Mao Ning: China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. We firmly oppose any visit by leader of the Taiwan authorities to the US in any name or under whatever pretext. And we firmly oppose the US’ having any form of contact with the Taiwan authorities, which violates the one-China principle. China has repeatedly protested to the US side on Tsai’s so-called stopover in the US. Past mistakes do not justify any new mistake. Repeating a mistake does not make it legitimate. The trip is not so much a “transit”, but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate “Taiwan independence”. The issue is not about China overreacting, but the US egregiously conniving at and supporting “Taiwan independence” separatists. 

The ones who are creating the problem and making provocations is not China, but the US and the “Taiwan independence” separatists. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, earnestly deliver on its leaders’ commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” or “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop undermining the political foundation for bilateral relations while stressing the need to put “guardrails” on the relationship. China will closely monitor the developments and firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Reuters: Two Ukrainian fencers told Reuters that they were stopped from posing with an anti-war banner at an event in Nanjing on Sunday. What’s your comment? Are Ukrainian athletes not allowed to show their stance on the war in Ukraine while they are in China?

Mao Ning: I am not aware of the specific situation you mentioned. I would say broadly that we are always opposed to politicizing sporting events.

China News Service: According to reports, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology authorized primary school textbooks on March 28, which proclaim Japan’s unilateral territorial claims, and downplay and distort the historical facts about Japan’s forced conscription and enslavement of laborers to cover up the atrocities during its colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. The ROK has made protests through diplomatic channels. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: It is common for Japan to play with words when authorizing textbooks to obscure historical facts, understate and evade its historical responsibility, and thereby deny and misrepresent its history of aggression. Like the ROK, China is deeply concerned about Japan’s insidious moves on historical and territorial issues when authorizing textbooks and has made strong démarches to Japan.

The war of aggression waged by Japanese militarists brought untold suffering to the people of victimized countries. Forced recruitment and enslavement of laborers are grave crimes committed by Japanese militarists. Those crimes are backed by ironclad evidence and shall not be denied. The Diaoyu Island and its adjacent islands have been China’s territory since antiquity. Whatever Japan’s textbook says, it is not going to change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China. We urge Japan to take seriously the concerns of its Asian neighbors and the international community. At the same time, Japan needs to shape its young generation’s view of history in a truthful way. Otherwise, Japan will lose the trust among its Asian neighbors and the wider international community.

Reuters: The US government imposed sanctions on five Chinese companies for their role in the alleged repression of the Uyghur people. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: Facts have long disproved the “suppression” of Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang. The US has been attacking Chinese companies and politicizing normal business cooperation on the ground of disinformation. Its goal is to destabilize Xinjiang and use that to curb China. China is firmly opposed to that. 

The US needs to respect the facts, stop spreading disinformation, and stop suppressing Chinese companies on the ground of lies. China will do everything necessary to protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

AFP: The US State Department has now confirmed that the head of its so-called China House Rick Waters visited several Chinese cities last week, including Beijing, meeting with counterparts from the Chinese side. This is the first significant dialogue since US Secretary of State Blinken canceled a trip to China. Does the foreign ministry have any information on last week’s visit or on any other upcoming diplomatic exchanges between China and the US?

Mao Ning: According to our knowledge, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Rick Waters came to China to have internal discussions with the US embassy and consulates in China. During his stay in China, officials of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs at our foreign ministry spoke with him at the US side’s request on China-US relations.

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