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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 1, 2022
2022-03-01 20:18

CCTV: It is reported that the Russian and Ukrainian delegations held negotiations in the Belarusian city of Gomel at the Belarus-Ukraine border on February 28. China has been saying that it hopes the two sides can seek a political settlement to the Ukraine issue through peaceful negotiations. Do you have any comment on the current negotiation situation?

Wang Wenbin: China always supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis and welcomes the launch of the peaceful negotiations by Russia and Ukraine. We have noted that the two sides have agreed to conduct a new round of negotiations shortly. We hope they can keep up the dialogue and negotiation process to seek a political settlement that accommodates both sides’ legitimate security concerns, achieves common security in Europe and promotes Europe’s lasting peace and stability. 

AFP: The IOC called for an international event ban for athletes from Russia and Belarus. If the International Paralympic Committee announced similar measures this week, will Russian athletes still compete in the Paralympic Winter Games? 

Wang Wenbin: Please direct your question to the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG). 

Macao Monthly: According to reports, US President Biden today decided to send a bipartisan delegation led by Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen is set to receive the delegation in Taipei on the morning of March 2. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese people are firmly determined and resolved to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The attempt by the US to show support to Taiwan will be in vain, no matter who the US sends. China urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqués, stop all forms of official interactions with Taiwan, and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent manner, lest it should further undermine the larger interests of China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Shenzhen TV: The US guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait and hyped it up. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I noticed that spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command has released a written statement on this.

What is the true intention of the US hyping of the USS’ passage through the Taiwan Strait?

If the US wants to embolden the “Taiwan independence” forces in this way, then we have this to say to the US: such move will only accelerate the demise of the “Taiwan independence” forces. The US will also pay a heavy price for its adventurist act.

If the US tries to intimidate and pressure China in this way, then we have this stern warning: the so-called military deterrence will be reduced to scrap iron when facing the steely great wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people.

The trick of sending vessels to sail through the Taiwan Strait should be better saved to entertain those obsessed with hegemony.

Hubei Media Group: Yesterday, the State Council Information Office (SCIO) issued the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2021, which revealed the truth about the US violation of human rights. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2021 issued by the SCIO yesterday.

The report showed that human rights conditions in the US further worsened supported by substantial facts and solid figures. With the most advanced medical system in the world, the US has logged the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Average life expectancy fell by 1.13 years last year, the biggest drop since the Second World War. Public security situation in the US deteriorated. There were 693 mass shootings in 2021, up 10.1 percent from 2020. More than 44,000 people were killed in gun violence. More than 420 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 US states. Only 7 percent of young Americans view the country as a “healthy democracy”, while public trust in the government has fallen to almost historical low since 1958. Attacks driven by discrimination targeted at racial minorities, especially Asian Americans, are getting more rampant. Hate crimes against Asians in the New York City jumped 361 percent from 2020. Violent law enforcement in the US makes life more difficult for migrants and refugees. In fiscal year 2021, the US detained more than 1.7 million migrants at its southern border, including 45,000 children. Violent law enforcement claimed 557 lives, which more than doubled the figure of the previous fiscal year.

A myriad of human rights tragedies are not only happening within the US borders. US hegemony, unilateralism and interventionism have led to new humanitarian disasters in many places all over the world. According to statistics, the so-called anti-terrorism war launched by the US in the past 20 years or so has claimed the lives of more than 929,000 people. The 20-year US military operations in Afghanistan have killed 174,000 people, including more than 30,000 civilians, and injured more than 60,000 people. Immediately after the troops’ hasty withdrawal from Kabul, the US froze seven billion dollars of Afghan central bank’s foreign reserve, and even split it illegally not long ago. Such practice has pushed the Afghan economy to the brink of collapse, and made people’s livelihood worse off.

The US double standard on human rights issues is known around the world. On the one hand, the US groundlessly accuses others of arbitrary detention and forced labor, and on the other, it looks away from torture, abuse and modern slavery that are rife in US prisons. US “black sites” across the world including the Guantanamo Bay prison arbitrarily detain and torture people without prosecution, which have become a classic symbol for US’ affront to the rule of law and violation of human rights.

With a deplorable human rights record, the US is calling itself a “human rights defender”, acting as a “human rights judge” and practicing “human rights diplomacy”. This fully reveals the US’ hypocrisy and double standard on human rights issues. The US should face up to and reflect on its own human rights problems, give up politicizing human rights, do something concrete to promote Americans’ human rights and stop undermining human rights in other countries.

CCTV: We noted that yesterday State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the high-level segment of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council via video link and delivered an address. Can you share more with us on China’s propositions on protecting and promoting human rights?

Wang Wenbin: On February 28, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the high-level segment of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council via video link in Beijing and delivered an address titled “Upholding Equity and Justice to Promote Sound Development of the Global Human Rights Cause”.

State Councilor Wang Yi put forward a four-point proposition on protecting and promoting human rights. First, we should act as true champions of human rights. Human rights have historical, specific and practical contexts, and the human rights cause can only be advanced in light of each country’s reality and its people’s needs. The economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of all should be advanced in a coordinated manner to promote and achieve well-rounded human development. Second, we should act as staunch guardians of people’s interests. A happy life for all is the biggest human right. A country’s human rights are essentially gauged by whether its people’s aspirations for a better life are satisfied; whether their needs, concerns and expectations are addressed; and whether they enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. Third, we should act as positive contributors to common development. Without development, there would be no human rights to speak of, nor could the rights enjoyed by the people be sustainable. President Xi Jinping has put forth the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which is yet another public good China provides for the development of the global human rights cause. It has been endorsed and supported by the UN and up to 100 countries. Fourth, we should act as firm defenders of equity and justice. In judging whether human rights are upheld in a country, one cannot use other countries’ standards, still less apply double standards or use human rights as a political tool to interfere in the affairs of other countries. We need to steadfastly promote greater democracy and rule of law in international relations, follow true multilateralism, and steer global human rights governance toward greater fairness, equity and inclusiveness.

In 2021, we solemnly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Looking back on the development of China’s human rights cause in the past 100 years, it is fair to say that the CPC’s 100-year history records its efforts in fighting for, respecting, protecting, and developing human rights. Under the CPC’s leadership, 770 million rural poor have been lifted out of poverty and a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty is achieved. China built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and pioneered a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization. Throughout our fight against COVID-19, we put the people and human lives first and protected the people’s safety and health to the greatest extent. 

Going forward, China will continue to steadfastly pursue a human rights development path that meets the trend of the times and suits its national conditions. We will continue to uphold a human rights philosophy that puts people front and center, develop the whole-process people’s democracy, promote common prosperity for all, and safeguard the human rights of the Chinese people at a higher level. We will continue to take an active part in UN human rights endeavors by making China’s voice heard and contributing China’s part to this worthy cause. China will work with all countries to advance the sound development of the global human rights cause.

Reuters: You said yesterday that one country’s security cannot be at the expense of others’ security; still less should one country flagrantly undermine others’ sovereignty and security for its own absolute military advantage and absolute security. We would like to clarify, do you mean Russia or some other country?

Wang Wenbin: I can give you a clear explanation. As noted by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, China advocates common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China believes that the security of one country should not come at the expense of the security of other countries, still less should regional security be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs. The Cold War mentality should be discarded completely. The legitimate security concerns of all countries should be respected. Given NATO’s five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia's legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed. I hope I’ve made it clear enough. 

AFP: On Monday, at least 11 people were killed by shelling in residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Ukraine’s health ministry said on Sunday that at least 352 civilians have been killed so far in the entire conflict. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The Ukraine issue has complex historical context and realistic factors. The Chinese side regrets the casualties. The current situation is not what we want to see. The top priority is for all parties to exercise necessary restraint to prevent the situation on the ground in Ukraine from deteriorating or even spiraling out of control. The life and property safety of civilians should be effectively guaranteed, and in particular, large-scale humanitarian crises should be averted. 

Bloomberg: The New York Times has reported that some 500,000 people have fled Ukraine, and as yet, China hasn’t described this as an invasion. How would you like to characterize Russia’s activities in the Ukraine?

Wang Wenbin: We have answered this question many times. You may refer to that. I want to stress that China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent. We have no selfish interests on the Ukraine issue. China always decides its position based on the merits of the Ukraine issue itself.

Reuters: Taiwan has sent relief supplies to Ukraine. Is China prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to the country?

Wang Wenbin: China is ready to play a constructive role in easing the situation in Ukraine. We will release relevant information in due course. 

Reuters: Will the crisis boost Russian demand for Chinese goods as it shifts away from imports from Europe and also envisages a bigger role of Yuan in bilateral trade with Russia?

Wang Wenbin: As we have repeatedly said, we believe that sanctions are not an effective solution to solve problems. It is China’s consistent position that we oppose all illegal unilateral sanctions. China and Russia will continue to carry out normal trade cooperation following the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. 

The following question was raised after the press conference: Some Chinese citizens have reportedly left Ukraine recently. Can you share some details and the work China has done? What are the follow-up evacuation arrangements?

Wang Wenbin: Since changes have taken place in the Ukraine situation, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to and have been concerned about the safety of Chinese citizens in Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has immediately activated the emergency mechanism for consular protection, stayed in close communication with all parties for coordination, and put our hearts to ensuring the safety of our compatriots in Ukraine with a range of measures.

At present, Chinese citizens in Ukraine are heading to neighboring countries of Ukraine in various ways. In this process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine, the Chinese Consulate General in Odessa, and embassies in Ukraine’s neighboring countries including Moldova, Slovakia, Romania and Poland have found ways and mobilized all resources and forces possible to provide support and assistance for our compatriots in Ukraine. About 1,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine have so far safely relocated.

China is grateful for the help and support rendered by all sectors in Ukraine and relevant neighboring countries. We hope all sides will fulfill their international obligations to ensure the safety of lives and property of civilians. Again, we remind Chinese citizens in Ukraine to enhance safety awareness, keep in touch with Chinese embassies and consulates in Ukraine and neighboring countries and strengthen their own security precautions in real earnest.

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