|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on April 23, 2021|
CCTV: In his remarks titled "For Man and Nature: Building a Community of Life Together" delivered at the Leaders Summit on Climate last night, President Xi Jinping elaborated on the concept of "a community of life for man and Nature" for the first time. What's the consideration behind this philosophy? Can you tell us more about its significance for the global environmental governance?
Zhao Lijian: In recent years, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has been fully implementing a new development philosophy that is innovative, coordinated, green and open for the benefit of all, and has continued to take solid steps in green, low-carbon and sustainable development. Climate change has posed increasingly severe challenges to human survival and development and COVID-19 is triggering deep reflections on the relationship between man and Nature. Promoting "green recovery" of the world economy in the post-COVID-19 era and seeking a path for harmonious coexistence between man and Nature meet people's longing for a better life and a good environment and embody our responsibility for future generations. What's more, they are necessitated by the need to improve global climate governance.
The Chinese civilization has always valued harmony between man and Nature as well as observance of the laws of Nature. It has been our constant pursuit that man and Nature could live in harmony with each other. As President Xi Jinping pointed out on many occasions, man and Nature co-exist in harmony and we need to cherish the environment as we cherish our own lives. President Xi, when attending the Leaders Summit on Climate upon invitation during which he made important remarks, discussed ways to tackle the challenge of climate change with other leaders and proposed that the international community should build a community of life for man and Nature with unprecedented ambition and action. President Xi said that we must be committed to harmony between man and Nature, green development, systemic governance, a people-centered approach, multilateralism, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
China pledged to stride from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality within a far shorter period of time than developed countries. We are determined and confident to fulfill our commitment one hundred percent. The targets of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality have been added to China's overall plan for ecological conservation. We are now making an action plan and are already taking strong nationwide actions toward carbon peak. Support is being given to peaking pioneers from localities, sectors and companies. China will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period and phase it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period. China has done its best to help developing countries build capacity against climate change through various forms of results-oriented South-South cooperation and to bring enduring benefits to the people of all Belt and Road partner countries.
President Xi Jinping put forward China's proposals for strengthening global environmental governance, charting the course for global environmental governance at a critical juncture and demonstrating China's responsibility to global environmental governance as a major country. His remarks are highly relevant and have far-reaching significance. China will continue to implement its national climate change strategy, advance green development and low-carbon transformation, and make contributions to promoting the multilateral climate governance process and the building of a community of life for man and Nature.
Shenzhen TV: It is reported that India is experiencing a shortage of medical supplies as the country is hit by a new round of COVID-19 outbreak. Yesterday, your colleague stated China's position on the situation in India. I'd like to ask if China is having communications with India on providing help. What kind of help will China offer?
Zhao Lijian: I took note of the relevant report. China expresses sincere sympathies to India over the deteriorating situation in the country recently. The Chinese government and people firmly support the Indian government and people in fighting the coronavirus. China is ready to provide support and help according to India's need, and is in communication with the Indian side on this. We believe that the Indian people will defeat the virus at an early date.
Xinhua News Agency: Scholars here at home have had heated discussions on the Japanese government's decision to dump the contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant accident into the sea recently. They proposed that China may join its neighbors in initiating arbitration proceedings or filing a lawsuit against Japan for marine environment infringement. They added that as the first countries to be directly victimized by Japan's nuclear wastewater, China and the ROK are fully entitled to claim for damages. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: These observations from experts and academics in part reflect the high attention and great concerns over this matter, especially among neighboring countries. Besides these experts and academics you cited, we also noted that the governor of Fukushima prefecture yesterday asked Prime Minister Suga and the Japanese government to face up to the opposition from the local residents. In ROK's Jeju province, the council of presidents of fisheries industry cooperatives, the council of fishing ship owners and the association of fishery industry also issued joint statement strongly condemning Japan's decision. The government of Jeju province announced that it would set up a commission together with other coastal provinces and cities in the ROK to jointly make a hard-line response. The Japanese side should sincerely face up to these doubts and opposition from both at home and abroad and stop playing dumb on this matter.
The disposal of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant is by no means a domestic matter of Japan. If the contaminated nuclear wastewater is not hazardous, why doesn't Japan keep it for itself? Japan should not turn a blind eye to global marine environment and the health and safety of people around the world. It should not shift its responsibility to the whole mankind. If the Japanese side insists on putting its own selfish interests above the international public interest and taking a dangerous first step, the Japanese people, neighboring countries and the international community will not allow it. The Japanese government will also have to pay the price for its irresponsible behavior, leaving a stain on history.
Beijing Daily: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual State of the Nation address on April 21 to elaborate national development and foreign policies. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We noted that in his State of the Nation address this year, President Vladimir Putin took stock of Russia's achievement in economic and social development, and put forward a series of new plans and goals for promoting economic growth, improving people's livelihood and upholding social stability. China speaks highly of that. As a comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for a new era, China will be glad to see Russia defeating the epidemic at an early date under the leadership of President Putin, and achieving new progress in national economic and social development.
CRI: The US website Project Syndicate pointed out in an article titled "The Xinjiang Genocide Allegations Are Unjustified" that the US falsely accused China of "genocide" in Xinjiang without any evidence, calling on the US administration to change its behavior and withdraw such unwarranted charge. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We noted the article published by the US-based Project Syndicate, which is objective and informative. We applaud the relevant media and authors for their righteous voice on Xinjiang-related issues.
As the article points out, there is little evidence for allegations of so-called "genocide" in Xinjiang and most are based on false reports. In fact, the Chinese side has repeatedly elaborated on the real situation in Xinjiang. The so-called "genocide" in Xinjiang is the biggest lie of the century deliberately concocted by extreme anti-China forces and a ridiculous farce to smear China. The real purpose is to undermine stability in Xinjiang and curb China's development under the pretext of human rights. Such conspiracy will not succeed.
The article also points out the backdrop of China's Xinjiang-related policy is counterterrorism. The Chinese side has made clear its position on many occasions. The essence of Xinjiang-related issues is counterterrorism, de-radicalization and anti-separatism. Xinjiang was once a victim of terrorism and religious extremism, which posed a serious threat to people's lives and security. Facing such situation, the Chinese government has resolutely cracked down on all forms of terrorism in accordance with the law and made tremendous efforts and sacrifices. These measures have yielded positive results. There hasn't been any violent or terrorist case over the past four years or so in Xinjiang. People of all ethnic groups there cherish the hard-won peace and stability they enjoy.
Recently, more and more people in the world have voiced objective and just views on Xinjiang-related issues. For example, the US independent news website The Grayzone published an article exposing the lies about "genocide" in Xinjiang. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post published an article describing China's anti-terrorism efforts and laying bare the West's double standards on this issue. We also read French author Maxime Vivas' book entitled "Uyghurs: To Put an End to Fake News", which fully shows that justice can always prevail and lies cannot cover up the truth.
We believe that there will be more and more fair-minded people in the world telling the truth about Xinjiang and speaking out for justice.
FSN: Responding to some of the comments from China yesterday, Australia's Defense Minister Peter Dutton said that Australia will not surrender to threats of retaliation and also said that some of China's actions including militarization and cyber activities were not that of a friend. What's China's response?
Zhao Lijian: The comments of Australia's Defense Minister totally confuse black with white. The difficult situation in China-Australia relationship is the result of Australia's moves to grossly interfere in China's domestic affairs and undermine China's interests, and its discriminatory trade practice toward China. It is preposterous that Australia is playing the victim here.
As for the so-called cyber attack he mentioned, this label can never be pinned on China. Rather, it suits Australia the best. We urge Australia to see the issue plainly for what it is and make efforts to improve bilateral relations.
South China Morning Post: The UK's House of Commons on April 22 passed a motion declaring that there is genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. What's China's response?
Zhao Lijian: The accusation that there is genocide in Xinjiang is a monstrous lie fabricated by international anti-China forces. The Chinese government and people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang firmly oppose and strongly condemn this.
The UK has enough problems of its own. British lawmakers should manage their own business and do more practical things for their constituents.
Beijing Media Network: On April 21, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published its 2021 Annual Report in which China is redesignated as a "country of particular concern". The report recommends that the US government should publicly state that the US will not attend the 2022 Winter Olympic Games if China's crackdown on religious freedom continues. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The commission you mentioned has always been politically biased against China. It releases reports on a yearly basis to slander China's religious policy and interfere in China's domestic affairs. The false accusations in the report confuse black with white and disregard facts, inciting strong indignation among the Chinese people. In March, China announced sanctions on relevant people in charge of this commission.
China is a country governed by law and the Chinese government protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law. People of all ethnic groups in China fully enjoys the freedom of religious belief as prescribed by law. In China, there are nearly 200 million religious believers, over 380,000 clerical personnel, about 5,500 religious groups and over 140,000 places of worship registered for religious activities. These are facts that can not be changed no matter how the US smears and slanders China. That said, as is the case in other countries, China has laws that prohibits people to engage in illegal criminal activities under the pretext of religion.
With regard to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, as we have repeatedly said, China firmly opposes the politicization of sports as it runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter and harms the interests of all athletes as well as the international Olympic cause. It will not gain support from the international community and is doomed to fail. We are confident that working together with other parties, we will make the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games a simple, safe and splendid Olympic event.
We urge the US to respect basic facts, abandon bias, and stop meddling in China's domestic affairs by taking advantage of religious issues.
Bloomberg: The head of the British spy service, the GCHQ, is going to give a speech today, in which he's going to say that the freedom and the security of the Internet is at risk from the competing world views of China and Russia, and Western nations must adapt to face this threat. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: Relevant remarks from the UK side are groundless and make no sense at all. I'd like to stress that given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trace, it's importance to have enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents. Groundless speculations should be avoided. As a matter of fact, Western countries like the US and the UK are empires of hacking and tapping. China firmly rejects any organization or country throwing mud at China under the pretext of cyber security or using the issues to serve their political purposes.
The Chinese government firmly bans and strictly cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks. This position is consistent and clear. Cyber security is a global issue which calls for concerted response from the international community.
In September 2020, China put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, offering a Chinese solution to the formulation of global data governance rules and getting positive feedback from many countries. China stands ready to step up communication with all countries and jointly uphold global data and cyber security through dialogue and cooperation.
China Daily: Recently, Cambodia has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases with triple-digit increase on daily basis. Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a two-week emergency lockdown of the capital Phnom Penh and a ban on inter-provincial movement of people. The WHO has warned that Cambodia's health system would be overwhelmed at the current rate of community transmission. What is China's comment? Will China provide Cambodia with any anti-epidemic assistance?
Zhao Lijian: China is following closely the evolving epidemic situation in Cambodia. We believe that under the protection of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and the strong leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Cambodian people will surely be able to overcome the current challenges and secure an early victory against COVID-19.
Since last year, China and Cambodia have been standing together through thick and thin. At the critical moment in China's fight against the virus, Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China as a token of support. Our bilateral relations and the friendship between the two peoples have emerged stronger in our joint response to the challenges.
With our ironclad friendship, it is only natural that when Cambodia is facing daunting challenges in its fight against the epidemic, China will do the best it can to carry out anti-epidemic cooperation with Cambodia. This is not only a testament to our special friendship, but also an important part of our joint effort to build a community with a shared future.
China is actively carrying out vaccine cooperation with Cambodia, helping it build COVID-19 nucleic acid test laboratories and donating testing reagents. We will continue to provide help within our capacity for epidemic prevention and control in Cambodia at the latter's request.
The Paper: At a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers on the evening of April 22, speaking of China's activities around the Diaoyu Islands, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that "China is invading in a subtle way step by step." He also talked about the Taiwan question. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: These remarks are completely reckless and highly irresponsible. With such person misleading the public opinion, how can the Japanese people view China's development in an objective and rational way and build up confidence in China-Japan relations? I want to stress some points as follows.
First, China always adheres to the path of peaceful development and firmly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, President Xi reiterated that China will continue to be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. However strong it may grow, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. Nor will China ever engage in an arms race. And I tell the Japanese side now, stop talking nonsense about China's development and misleading the public.
Second, the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China's patrol and law enforcement in waters off the Diaoyu Island is an exercise of its inherent rights. The Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair. China will never allow any country to interfere in any way. Some Japanese people's erroneous words related to Taiwan fully expose their sinister thinking that they do not want to see China's peaceful reunification and will do everything possible to obstruct that great cause. China must and will be reunified. The Japanese side should never harbor any illusion with ulterior motives.
Third, in more recent history, Japan's act of aggression and expansion in Asia has brought untold suffering to the people of the victimized countries, including China. To this day, however, Japan is still reluctant to honestly face up to and repent its history of aggression, but has staged political farces, one after another, to deny and whitewash this part of history. Certain Japanese politicians wantonly smear China while turning a blind eye to its deplorable records of aggression. The world should be on high alert as to their real intention. We urge Japan to reflect on itself, immediately stop slinging mud at China and refrain from going further down the wrong path.