Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 23, 2021
2021/03/24

CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin, Guangxi yesterday. Can you give us more details? What are the outcomes of this meeting? What is China's comment on Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit and what is China's expectation for China-Russia relations going forward?

Hua Chunying: State Councilor Wang Yi's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin, Guangxi in recent days is fruitful. The two foreign ministers had extensive exchange of views and reached a series of new consensus on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues. Both sides also signed and issued a joint statement of Chinese and Russian foreign ministers on issues of the current global governance, which explains the right connotation of concepts including human rights, democracy, international order and multilateralism and demonstrates the two sides' firm determination to jointly defend international justice and fairness.

This is Foreign Minister Lavrov's first visit to China since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, and also the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers six months after State Councilor Wang's visit to Russia last September. It is of important positive significance to a good start of China-Russia relations this year and the political settlement process of relevant international and regional issues. The close and efficient strategic communication between China and Russia, despite the impact of the coronavirus, once again demonstrates the high level and uniqueness of China-Russia relations. It also demonstrates to the international community the commitment and responsibility of China and Russia as major countries in the world and permanent members of the UN Security Council.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. We believe that taking the visit as a start, the two sides will continue to carry forward the enduring friendship and mutual benefit enshrined in the treaty, fully implement the important consensus between the two heads of state, and give strong backing to each other on issues concerning core interests. As important partners in joint pursuit of development and revitalization, China and Russia will play an underpinning role in international affairs, achieve greater development of China-Russia relations in a new era and bring more benefits to both countries and the world.

China Review News: On March 22, the EU, the UK and Canada announced unilateral sanctions against some Chinese individuals and entity citing so-called human rights issue in Xinjiang. On the same day, the US announced sanctions against two Chinese officials of the Xinjiang government as a complementary action to the above-mentioned sanctions. The foreign ministers of the US, the UK and Canada issued a joint statement to pressure China. What is China's response?

Hua Chunying: China strongly condemns the imposition of sanctions by the US, Canada, the UK and the EU on individuals and entity in Xinjiang under the pretext of human rights. This move is based on nothing but lies and disinformation. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has summoned ambassadors of the EU and the UK respectively to lodge solemn representations. Last night, at the earliest time possible, China stated its solemn position and announced sanctions against relevant individuals and entities on the European side. China has also lodged solemn representations with the US and Canadian side.

Over the past 40 years, the population of the Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang has increased from 5.5 million to 12.8 million, and the average life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 years. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including the Uyghurs, enjoy each and every constitutional and lawful right. The fact that Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups enjoy stability, security, development and progress, makes it one of the most successful human rights stories.

However, some politicians in the US, the UK, Canada and the EU clearly don't want to acknowledge this fact. They grabbed the so-called "evidence" maliciously fabricated by some anti-China politicians and scholars, even though the so-called "facts" are nothing but patchwork based on false "internal documents", "victim statements" and information from unknown sources. They have even taken out of context and distorted Chinese official documents and data. All this proves that it's never human rights and truth that they care about. They just do not want to see China's success, development and better livelihood. That's why they have been using human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in China's internal affairs and frustrate China's development. What they have done is utter denigration and offense to the reputation and dignity of the Chinese people, blatant interference of China's internal affairs, and grave violation of China's sovereignty and security interests.

It must be pointed out that these countries, who proclaim themselves to be "judges" of human rights and are keen to lecture others, have an ignoble record on human rights. They are not in the position to criticize China, much less to shift blames to China for what they have committed.

As you know, during the 400 years of transatlantic slave trade, colonists from the US, the UK and France transported 12 million enslaved Africans to the Americas, in addition to another 10 million who died during transportation. In the US, people like George Floyd still can't breathe. As pointed out by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination long ago, African descendants in the US and the UK face systemic racism on health, employment, education, fair trial and other rights.

As early as in the beginning of the 20th century, German colonists slaughtered indigenous Namibian tribes. Between 1904 and 1908, German military killed over 100,000 indigenous people, including 3/4 of the Herero people and over 1/2 of the Nama people. United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights said in a report that this is the first genocide in the 20th century. During WWII, Nazi Germany slaughtered almost six million Jews, including one million children. It is reported that some in the US, the UK and their allies violated the Geneva Conventions and brutally killed innocent civilians in Afghanistan, which constitutes war crimes.

The French army massacred 5.5 million people in Algeria during the colonial period, which is crimes against humanity. The Algerian President said that Algeria will never sacrifice history or memory.

In the 1870s, the Canadian government included assimilation of indigenous people in its official agenda and openly advocated the killing of the Indian bloodline. Starting with indigenous children, residential schools were set up to carry out cultural genocide policies. Incomplete statistics show over 150,000 indigenous children were sent to such schools, of which more than 50,000 died of abuses.

We all remember that the US and the UK, among others, used some test tube of washing powder and a staged video as evidence to launch wars against sovereign countries including Iraq and Syria, which caused untold casualties of innocent civilians, tore apart and displaced numerous families. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Syrian crisis. In Syria alone, 350,000 people have been killed in the war, their families have been destroyed and their lives greatly affected. Shouldn't the perpetrators be sanctioned?

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Libya's civil war. France, the UK and the EU, among others, launched the war in Libya, creating a large-scale humanitarian disaster, which is the root cause of the current migrant and refugee issues and an important factor leading to regional turbulence. More than 400,000 people remain displaced within Libya and more than a million are in urgent need of assistance. Shouldn't the perpetrators be held accountable?

These countries show no repentance over the turmoil they created in other countries, and even go further to impose unilateral sanctions on others in the name of human rights, severely jeopardizing the rights to life, health and development of people in relevant countries. In the face of the epidemic, these above-mentioned most developed countries have turned a blind eye to their people's rights to life and health, leading to losses of tens of hundreds of lives. In pursuit of "vaccine nationalism" , they've hoarded vaccines far in excess of their population's needs, leaving developing countries struggling with insufficient vaccines.

We can't help but ask: how could people have any right if they lost their lives? The United States and the West have been trumpeting protecting human rights, but who and what right on earth are they protecting? In what way are they respecting and protecting human rights? Shouldn't they feel ashamed?

These a few countries are obsessed with lecturing others on human rights. But facts in the past have proved that they are neither qualified nor capable of doing so. We hope they will understand that China today is not the same as Iraq, Libya or Syria, still less what it was 120 years ago. The days when foreign powers could force China to open its doors with cannons are long gone; also gone are the days when several so-called scholars and state media could unscrupulously malign China in collusion with impunity. We urge them not to underestimate Chinese people's firm determination to defend national interests and dignity. It's a courtesy to reciprocate what we receive. They will have to pay a price for their ignorance and arrogance.

Xinhua News Agency: Last night, China released the information on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to six countries in the Middle East. Can you introduce the goal and expectation of the visits?

Hua Chunying: The COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on people's life and health, and zero-sum game and bloc politics are impacting the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law. With the spread of the epidemic, ongoing instabilities and recurring hotspots in the Middle East, countries in this region hope to enhance anti-epidemic and development cooperation and deepen exchanges on state governance with China, and hope that China will play a bigger role in regional affairs.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to the Middle East demonstrates the importance China attaches to its relations with countries in this region and China's sincerity in deepening mutually beneficial cooperation. It also shows that China assumes a responsible attitude toward promoting security and stability in the Middle East. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have in-depth strategic communication with these countries, advance the implementation of important consensuses reached by President Xi Jinping and his counterparts, promote synergy between the building of new development paradigm in China and major development strategies in those countries, support regional countries' fight against the virus and socio-economic recovery, boost high-quality BRI cooperation and discuss win-win cooperation. In the meantime, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also exchange views on regional affairs, especially hotspot issues with his counterparts in these countries, and contribute China's wisdom to maintain peace in the Middle East.

Beijing Daily: On March 22, Saudi Arabia proposed a new initiative on Yemen to achieve a nationwide ceasefire, start negotiation among parties in Yemen, and reach a comprehensive solution on Yemen. This initiative is welcomed by the Yemeni government. Does China have a comment?

Hua Chunying: China welcomes the political initiative launched by Saudi Arabia and appreciates Saudi Arabia's positive step to deescalate the situation in Yemen. We hope that Yemen can realize a comprehensive ceasefire and return to political settlement at an early date, and that peace, stability and normal order can be restored in the country.

BBC: We heard last night some sanctions announced by China in response to the sanctions from the EU. I noticed that those Chinese sanctions only target people from the EU. Might there be other sanctions from China, given that other countries, Canada, the UK and the US have also joined in on signing on to this sanctions from the other side.

Hua Chunying: You think they should also be sanctioned, right?

The EU imposed sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity on the basis of nothing but lies and disinformation fabricated by a handful of anti-China elements. Such moves disregard and distort facts, grossly interfere in China's internal affairs, flagrantly breach international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely undermine China-EU relations. Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned the head of the EU delegation to China last night to lodge solemn representation and express firm opposition, stern condemnation and strong protest on the wrong decision of the EU. He also stated China's countermeasures. As I just said, China will take firm reactions to any country who cites lies and rumors to smear China, interfere in China's domestic affairs and undermine China's interest and dignity.

The Paper: This year marks the fifth anniversary of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC). Today's People's Daily carried an article by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi entitled "building on the past five years of fruitful achievements and setting sail on a new voyage for future cooperation". We'd like to know China's consideration in participating in LMC, and what activities will be held to celebrate the fifth anniversary. Also, how does China envisage the LMC going forward?

Hua Chunying: The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) is a new-type sub-regional cooperation mechanism featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits among China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Since its launch on March 23 in 2016, the LMC has developed rapidly and achieved remarkable results. It has vigorously promoted the economic and social development of the six riparian countries and brought tangible benefits to the people of all countries. China has provided loan support for more than 40 major infrastructure projects in Mekong countries, including roads and airports, power stations and power grids, and industrial parks. The LMC Special Fund established by China has supported more than 500 projects benefiting people in agriculture, health, poverty reduction, environment and other areas. Over the past five years, more than 20,000 students from the five Mekong countries have studied in China on Chinese government scholarships. In 2019, more than 50 million visits were made between China and Mekong countries, with nearly 3,000 scheduled flights per week. Since last year, amid the COVID-19 epidemic and major changes unseen in a century, the six countries have vigorously carried out cooperation to fight the epidemic, resume work and production, strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and maintained the momentum of LMC growing from strength to strength.

As a close neighbor of the five countries along the Mekong River, China hopes to help them speed up development through Lancang-Mekong cooperation and jointly create a regional environment of peace, stability, development and prosperity. China will work together with them to deepen cooperation in water resources, agriculture, public health, environment and social welfare. We will seek complementarity between LMC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. The LMC's cooperation with the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program (GMS), and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will be facilitated. We will speed up the building of the Mekong-Lancang Economic Development Belt, reinvigorate regional economic recovery and prosperity in the post-epidemic era, and contribute to ASEAN Community construction and regional economic integration.

This year being the fifth anniversary of the launch of LMC, China's relevant departments and sub-national governments will work with LMC countries to host nearly 60 colorful celebration activities, including conferences and forums, film and television shows, rural revitalization and youth innovation and entrepreneurship competitions. You are welcome to follow these activities.

AFP: An issue about the sanctions yesterday that were announced. So a number of western countries have for the first time taken sanctions together against officials in Xinjiang. Is China concerned that US President Biden is succeeding in an attempt to create like a front of democracies towards China and that the country risks isolation? And is the foreign ministry considering a different diplomatic approach to change the way or to improve the way that it might be perceived abroad?

Hua Chunying: Yesterday there was clearly a coordinated action by several western countries. If you ask us whether we are worried, I can tell you with absolute confidence that we are not worried at all. The US, the UK and Canada together account for only 5.7% of the world's population, and their population and that of the EU combined only accounts for about 11%. In comparison, China's population accounts for 1/5 of the world's total. The voices of these countries do not represent international opinion, neither do their positions represent that of the international community. Still less do they have the right or qualification to represent the international community.

China's circle of friends is actually growing. The countries you mentioned can only represent the values and propositions of the United States and the West. Their bullying practice, hypocrisy and performance on the so-called human rights and democracy issues have been debunked by more and more people. I hope they will reflect on themselves, see themselves and others in a right way, and learn to deal with other countries as equals and with respect. China believes that all countries in the world, big or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, are equal members. All countries should treat each other as equals and respect each other, instead of willfully interfering in others' internal affairs based on ill-intentioned rumors and lies. Politicians in these countries need to take lessons on how to spot lies, how to respect others and how to avoid making foreign policy based on rumors and lies. In particular, when it comes to the People's Republic of China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a major country with 1.4 billion people, they should learn to talk and deal with China on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

You just mentioned the so-called "front of democracies". I suggest you take a look at the joint statement issued today by State Councilor Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Lavrov on a number of issues concerning current global governance, which also mentions how we should perceive democracy. Democracy is one of the achievements of human development. It is marked by ensuring that power belongs to the people in the form of legislation, that is, citizens have the right to manage state affairs and use their power lawfully. There is no unified standard for democratic model and the legitimate right of sovereign states to independently choose their development path should be respected. Intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of "promoting democracy" is unacceptable.

In fact, how is democracy in the countries you mentioned superior to others? In the face of COVID-19, in the world's most developed, richest, and most medically advanced countries, how could they watch hundreds of thousands of their people die? Is this democracy? Is their democracy for the people? While politicians in these countries are busy wooing voters, the Chinese government is busy serving the people wholeheartedly. During your stay in China, you should be able to feel that Chinese democracy is the broadest and truest democracy. If these countries want to talk about democracy, they are more than welcome to come and talk to us. However, if they try to preach human rights or democracy, reprimand China in a condescending way, interfere in China's internal affairs on the basis of rumors and lies, or even impose arbitrary sanctions on China, we will have to reciprocate.

AFP: President Xi Jinping yesterday has exchanged verbal messages with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un while Foreign Minister Wang Yi has met his Russian counterpart. As you mentioned, he will go to the Middle East and Iran soon. Is China looking to build its own alliances to face any potential renewed unity among democratic countries? And what are your thoughts on whether or not it will have enough influence?

Hua Chunying: China's diplomacy is fundamentally different from that of the US, the UK, Canada and the EU. China follows an independent foreign policy of peace. We believe that countries, regardless of size and strength, are equal members of the international community. We uphold a new type of international relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. We advocate the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. By that, we mean issues should be addressed by all through consultation, and benefits should be shared by all. As you can see, China has made tremendous efforts in promoting vaccine accessibility and affordability for developing countries. We have all along been opposed to forming small clique, zero-sum game and cold war mentality. We believe that the world is a diverse one, and countries of different system, history and culture can co-exist in harmony and achieve win-win results through mutually beneficial cooperation. We did not and will not initiate any confrontation, conflict or division. On the contrary, China has been advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. What those who practice bloc politics by forming cliques are pursuing is "pseudo-multilateralism". China upholds genuine multilateralism where every country enjoys its legitimate right to development, all members of the international community participate in global governance on an equal-footing, and all countries can achieve development. True multilateralism also means that cooperation between countries can make the world a more peaceful place where humankind continue to make progress.

I believe enclosed small cliques and bloc politics, which are against the trend of the times, will get no support. The fact is, not all US allies, except for Canada and the UK, follow the US blindly. Some EU countries are under coercion to do so. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto openly said that sanctions on China is harmful and pointless. Leaders, politicians and diplomats who are visionary and committed to serving their people will not follow the so-called alliance blindly. Many countries in our region say they hope to see peaceful coexistence of China and the US and a sound and steady China-US relations. It is the common aspiration of the two peoples and people around the world.

We hope relevant countries can view China's development in a rational manner, follow the trend of the times and abandon cold war mentality. Working with one another for a better life is democracy in the real sense and truly being responsible for the people.

BBC: I noticed that you mentioned earlier the concept of vaccine nationalism. But China is insisting that people who enter the country now have a specific Chinese vaccine and some people wanting to get entry to China have said that this is also possibly a type of vaccine nationalism and maybe in some countries it's hard for them to get a specific Chinese vaccine. What's your response to that?

Hua Chunying: Vaccines are our weapons against the virus and give us hope to save lives. Be it Chinese vaccine or foreign vaccine, so long as it is safe and effective, it is a good vaccine. China never asks others to receive Chinese vaccines. As a matter of fact, vaccines are much sought-after. We in China are in great need of them as well. The reason that we are willing to share them with others, whether by offering aid to more than 60 countries or facilitating the purchase of vaccines by over 40 countries or making vaccination available to foreigners in China, is to meet their needs and do the best we can to help.

With a view to resuming international travel in an orderly fashion, China has started to provide visa facilitation to incoming foreigners who have received Chinese vaccines and hold a vaccination certificate. This is a meaningful exploration of facilitating international travel once mass vaccination has been achieved on the basis of giving full consideration to safety and efficacy. Last year, China proposed that discussions be held on launching a mechanism for global recognition of health codes. On the basis of accommodating each other's concerns and friendly consultations, we stand ready to make mutually-beneficial arrangements with other sides to establish a new format for unhindered, healthy, safe and orderly cross-border travel.

BBC: Does that mean in the future, possibly at some point, people will be allowed in with vaccines from other countries, other types of vaccines? And if so, any idea when that might happen?

Hua Chunying: I'll leave that to the experts. On the basis of accommodating each other's concerns and friendly consultations, we stand ready to explore launching with other countries flexible and diverse mutually-beneficial arrangements. With regard to mutual recognition and reciprocal measures, we hold an open attitude. We will make proper arrangement on the recommendations of experts.

In fact, China has been in close communication with other countries to discuss reciprocal arrangement for vaccination. As long as a measure helps to prevent and control the epidemic and facilitate people-to-people exchanges, we are open to it.

Global Times: Amnesty International reportedly released a report, saying that China has forcibly separated Uyghur families by taking young children into state orphanages. The organization has called on China to release all Uyghur children being held in orphanages without the consent of their families. Some US media reports say that Xinjiang is creating a "generation gap" through boarding schools. What is China's response?

Hua Chunying: We all know what kind of organization Amnesty International is. I can only say that the imagination of the organization is very rich in what they produce. But I'm afraid these people have the map upside down when they make up their lies. Forced family separation is not happening in China's Xinjiang, but in the United States.

As early as the 19th century, the United States began to conduct assimilation of the Indians. Indian children and youth were assimilated into the European and American culture when attending boarding schools. Young children in these schools were forced to give up their native identity and culture and adopt European names. They were forbidden to speak indigenous languages, and forcibly separated from their families.

In recent years, the "zero-tolerance" immigration policy adopted by the US government has led to a large number of children separated from their parents and siblings. According to a US media report, as of March 20 in 2021, the US has detained over 15,000 unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border. Since 2018, a total of 24 migrants, including seven children, have died while in detention at U.S. border facilities.

As anyone who knows a bit about Xinjiang understands, Xinjiang is a vast region that covers 1/6 of China's total area. It's three times the size of France, nearly five times that of Germany, and almost seven times that of the UK. It is about 1.5 times the combined area of the UK, France and Germany. In such a vast area, there's long distance between towns and villages, making it inconvenient for students and parents to commute to school. For children living in remote pastoral areas, this problem is all the more prominent. For this reason, the Xinjiang autonomous region government makes building boarding schools a priority in its work to standardize schools of compulsory education for balanced development. Coordinated efforts have been made to ensure children from remote pastoral areas have access to school, while concentrating education resources in an effort to modernize primary and middle schools for ethnic minority groups, and promote the exchanges between all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Students and their parents are free to choose whether to board or not. Schools have never restricted the contact between students and their parents. Students can go home on weekends, during holidays as well as winter and summer vacations. During school days, they can contact their parents and ask for leave at any time if needed. These schools are not fundamentally different from the boarding schools now operating in other parts of China and other countries around the world. There are boarding schools in Beijing as well, because Beijing is so big. Boarding schools also exist in the UK and are very expensive, whereas boarding schools in Xinjiang cater to children from average families.

Some anti-China forces harbor sinister intention by spreading lies of so-called "family separation", when children in Xinjiang are just going to school like any other. CNN's Beijing office has recently sent us a list of questions about a Uyghur couple who went to Italy with three children in 2016, leaving another four in Xinjiang. I was quite surprised when I read this story. If there's "forced sterilization" and "genocide" in Xinjiang as some in the west claim, how come this Uyghur couple have seven children?

Lying is nothing to be proud of, but rather something to be ashamed of. I urge relevant institutions and individuals to remove their tinted glasses of bias against China. Such "filters" are evil. We hope they will stop spreading false information and view China in an objective and fair light.

Reuters: Given the recent sanctions announced by both the EU and China, are you concerned about the ratification of the EU-China comprehensive agreement on investment?

Hua Chunying: China seeks to develop relations with the EU side. We stand for cooperation and against confrontation. That being said, we are firmly determined to safeguard our legitimate interests. The EU side should not expect to talk about cooperation and gain benefit while sanctioning and harming China's rights and interests. This is neither justifiable nor viable. It should reflect upon itself, stop confrontation and take concrete actions to uphold the sound and steady development of China-EU relations.

China Daily: The first session of the ninth National Assembly of Laos was convened on March 22 in Vientiane. At the session, Thongloun Sisoulith, General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee, was elected as the country's new president. Will China send a congratulatory message? Do you have any comment on China-Laos relations?

Hua Chunying: A new central leadership has been elected in the Laos recently, with General Secretary Thongloun Sisoulith elected as the President. China extends congratulations. We believe that led by the new central leadership, the Laos will score greater achievements in the development of the party and the country.

China and the Laos, as friendly neighbors sharing common mountains and waters, are a community with a shared future that went through thick and thin. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Laos ties and China-Laos Friendship Year. China looks forward to implementing the important common understanding reached between the highest-ranking leaders of the two parties and two countries, strengthen strategic communication, deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation and bring the cause of building China-Laos community with a shared future to new levels.

Reuters: According to a report from Axios, a US intelligence agency is recommending that the US lead a coalition with South American countries to push back against China's fishing and trade practices in the region. Do you have any comment on this?

Hua Chunying: We all know how good US intelligence is. Some test tube of washing powder and a fake staged video of "White Helmets" were used as evidence to strike sovereign countries. That's how reliable US intelligence is.

As to China's distant water fishing policy, we've stated our position repeatedly. In developing ties with other countries, including those in Latin America, we are always above-board and guided by win-win cooperation. Chinese businesses comply with laws and regulations. We hope the US agency and individuals could view China in an objective and rational light instead of through the lenses of confrontation or animosity, which does the US no good.

Bloomberg: Beijing announced counter sanctions on ten individuals and four entities in the EU after the bloc imposed sanctions on China over the Xinjiang allegation. Could the foreign ministry clarify what sanctions apply to them?

Hua Chunying: The statement issued by the Foreign Ministry last night made its position very clearly. In response to the EU's unilateral sanctions against relevant Chinese individuals and entity on the pretext of the so-called human rights issue in Xinjiang based on lies and disinformation, China has announced sanctions against relevant EU institutions and personnel. The individuals concerned and their families are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.

Bloomberg: Xinhua reported yesterday that Beijing told North Korea that it wants to maintain, consolidate and develop China-North Korean ties. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on this? Does China feel that it is time to revisit the issue of U.S. sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear program?

Hua Chunying: China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. It is an unswerving policy of the Party and the Chinese government to maintain, consolidate and develop China-DPRK relations. China is ready to work with the DPRK to implement the important consensus reached by the top leaders of the two parties and countries and work for new progress in bilateral relations.

China always believes that willful sanctions and pressure will not solve any problem. China has repeatedly called on the Security Council to activate the DPRK-related resolution provisions on modifying sanctions as soon as possible in light of the developments of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and make necessary adjustments to the sanctions measures, especially those concerning people's livelihood. This is in line with the spirit of the resolutions, will help ease the humanitarian situation and people's livelihood in the DPRK, and create conditions for and inject impetus into the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.

Shenzhen TV: In a televised speech on Sunday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated the country's clear policy on JCPOA, saying that the US side must lift all sanctions, and upon verification, Iran will return to its JCPOA commitments. I wonder if China has any comment on this.

Hua Chunying: The Iranian nuclear issue is now at a critical juncture. The immediate priority is for the US to return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions at an early date, while Iran resumes compliance reciprocally in order to jointly push the JCPOA back on track. China hopes that all parties concerned will act with greater urgency, meet each other half way, and reach consensus on some initial steps as soon as possible, so as to start the process of full compliance by the US and Iran. China will continue to work with all relevant parties to this end.

BBC: Just sort of a follow-up question on one of your responses earlier. We heard like a long list of quite terrible abuses committed by other administrations, other governments throughout history in response to the EU sanctions. But historians may say to the Chinese government, well, sure, but ill treatment by one government doesn't justify ill treatment by another. I mean does the Chinese government think that because other countries have done terrible things, that it's kind of okay for it to act in certain ways? So what would you say to the people who are making these comments?

Hua Chunying: I understand the logic of your question. But there is a substantial difference between the two, and they are completely different things. The severe human rights violations committed by the above-mentioned countries are plain facts, as you have admitted. However, the accusations made by the US, the UK, Canada and the EU on China's Xinjiang and the imposition of sanctions on relevant institutions and personnel are totally based on lies and disinformation. We have on many occasions expounded the actual situation in Xinjiang with facts. But very unfortunately, some politicians and the media in these countries choose to buy rumors and lies of anti-China scholars like Adrian Zenz, completely ignore that what they claimed to be "facts" is based on fake "internal documents", "victims' statements" and information of unknown source. They are even misinterpreting and distorting China's official documents and data out of context. You can ask the CNN reporter, who sent us a written question that said a Xinjiang couple took their three children to Italy in 2016, but left four children in Xinjiang. This in itself is a slap in the face to those countries that accuse China of "forced sterilization" and "genocide" in Xinjiang. How come some even choose to buy this ridiculous false information and make foreign policy based on it? What a shame!

You have been to Xinjiang, and so have many of your colleagues. Xinjiang is open. As I said, doesn't the story of Xinjiang deserve to be hailed as one of the most successful human rights stories? Anyone who has been to Xinjiang will realize how ridiculous those centenary lies of some Western media and anti-China scholars are. We welcome all non-prejudiced people to visit Xinjiang and listen to what people there say, and hear their feelings about their lives. But we firmly reject any presumption of guilt in a condescending manner.

So, the two things you mentioned are completely different in nature and cannot be mentioned in the same breath. The accusations of these countries against China are totally based on lies and false information. Because of this, they are in no position to make condescending accusations against China. They will surely regret their arrogance and foolishness.

I also want to say that at present, some countries have serious misunderstandings on the issue of Xinjiang. I don't know what role foreign correspondents in China have played in this. If you had given more objective reports on the real situation in Xinjiang, on a series of white papers issued by the Chinese side, on the 30 press conferences held by the Xinjiang authorities, and on what people in Xinjiang said, instead of selective reports, could there have been less misunderstanding about the situation in Xinjiang? This is a question for you to think about. I would also like to have further discussions on it with you.

BBC: Is this right, in terms of further retaliation, it is possible that Canada, the US and the UK could also have sanctions applied to them in response for their support for these other sanctions?

Hua Chunying: China urges relevant parties to reflect on themselves, face squarely the severity of their mistakes and redress them. They must stop lecturing others on human rights and interfering in their internal affairs. They must end the hypocritical practice of double standards and stop going further down the wrong path. The fact is very clear. This is by no means a human rights issue. Their real purpose is to stop the Chinese people from living a good life and enjoying security, stability, development and prosperity. They want to create the so-called "Xinjiang issue" to contain China's development and undermine China's security and stability. Such an idea is nothing but wishful thinking. I hope they can realize this fact as soon as possible and don't go further down the wrong path, otherwise they will leave a very shameful mark in history.

China hopes to develop sound and steady relations and carry out mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. The future of our cooperation should be bright, but no one shall underestimate China's firm determination and will to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. Today's China is by no means what it was 120 years ago. Gone are the days when the US and Western countries thought they could force China to yield, compromise and surrender through rumors, lies, slander, attack and containment. They may not have the ability to choke China and will eventually pay a heavy price for their foolishness and arrogance. We hope they can wake up and redress their mistakes at an early date. China is firmly resolved in safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity. We will make just and justified reactions to those who are bent on interfering in China's internal affairs and undermining China's interest.

I'm sure you can get what I said, because when you interview people on the street in Wuhan and Beijing, they are very friendly to you, right? I believe that people always have friendly feelings toward each other, and the Chinese people have always been kind and open. We welcome all foreign friends to make friends with Chinese people, but we will firmly reject and oppose any groundless accusations, slanders or attacks against China, and resolutely fight back against any words or deeds that undermine China's sovereignty, interests, honor and dignity.

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