Recently, in disregard of China's opposition, the US signed into law the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This is in severe violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations and serious interference in China's internal affairs. In response to the unreasonable US practice, the Chinese government decides to suspend reviewing requests of US military vessels and aircraft to visit Hong Kong starting from today and to impose sanctions on NGOs that played a egregious role in the recent disturbance related to an amendment bill in Hong Kong, including the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House. China urges the US to correct its wrongdoing and stop meddling in China's affairs, including Hong Kong affairs. China will take further measures if necessary as the situation evolves to firmly safeguard stability and prosperity in Hong Kong and China's sovereignty, security and development interests.
Q: Why did China decide to sanction these US-based NGOs?
A: A large amount of facts and evidence have shown that these NGOs have supported anti-China plotters who messed up Hong Kong through various means, aiding and abetting them in extreme violent criminal acts and inciting "Hong Kong independence" separatist activities. They are much to blame for the chaos in Hong Kong. The sanctions are rightly imposed as these organizations shall pay the price for what they've done.
Q: Yesterday marks the one-year anniversary of the Meng Wanzhou case. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: On December 1 last year, Deputy Chairwoman of Huawei Meng Wanzhou was arrested without cause by the Canadian side at the behest of the US. It has been one year since then. China's position on this incident is clear-cut and firm. The US and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsive measures against a Chinese citizen without cause. This is a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen. The Chinese government is steadfast in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and businesses. Once again we strongly urge the Canadian side to take China's solemn position and concerns seriously, release Ms. Meng immediately and ensure her safe return to China at an early date.
By the way, I also saw Ms. Meng's letter Your Warmth Is a Beacon that Lights My Way Forward written exactly one year into arbitrary detention. I was deeply touched. Ms. Meng is an innocent Chinese citizen held without cause. With young children and elderly parents, she has gone through so much pain, disappointment and helplessness. Her strength and grace through all this is highly admirable. We sincerely hope she will be home soon. We also hope there will be more righteousness and warmth to light up her way home .
Q: According to reports, on November 29, the latest session of the Commission on the Status of Women concluded in Bangkok. It passed the Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+25 Review 37 to 1. As the voting results were announced, there were cheers and ovation. The US is the only one voting no. Some countries, including US allies, openly expressed disappointment. I wonder if you have a comment?
A: This reminds me of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council last March, when the resolution "promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights" was passed 28 to 1. The US was the only one voting no. Now as the latest session of the Commission on the Status of Women passed the Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+25 Review, the US was once again the only country voting no. This vividly shows how the US stands alone against other countries that uphold international justice.
What could be the reason behind the US voting against the declaration?
Convincing statistics show severe gender discrimination in the US that hinders women's realization of human rights. Gallop data show that 46 percent of surveyed women in the US are disappointed or extremely disappointed in their social status. In January last year, millions took part in "Women's March 2018" to express strong protest against gender policies. Besides, the US also thwarted international efforts to safeguard and enhance women's rights. As we all know, it has yet to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a core UN human rights instrument. Human rights is not a slogan to be chanted; it should be concrete and tangible actions. What the US practices on human rights is in sharp contrast with what it preaches. This is the greatest irony. The US is by no means the "human rights defender" it claims to be, but a human rights offender or abuser.
The US should really spend more efforts on human rights protection at home instead of interfering in other countries' domestic affairs with human rights as a cover.
Q: On November 29, a man wearing a fake suicide vest killed two people with a knife on London Bridge, and was later shot dead by police. Do you have any comment?
A: We noted relevant reports. This is a tragedy. We express condolences to the victims and offer our sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured. We understand and support the resolute measures taken by British police.
In the meantime, I am wondering, like many others, how would British and US media interpret it if this terror attack happened in China? Based on what we experienced, they would probably whitewash the perpetrator as a "fighter" rising against repression and accuse the police of "excessive use of violence" for shooting at point-blank range. On the other hand, media reports reveal that the culprit had terror-related record. He was sentenced to 16 years in 2012 for planning to blow up a landmark building in London and then released on license early at the end of last year. Similarly, the culprit of the terrorist attack in Strasbourg, France last December had served time in prison and was on France's "S" file terrorist watch list. After his release, he conducted another terrorist attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, leading to another irreversible tragedy.
All this shows again that terrorism is a common challenge to all countries. Terrorism knows no nationality, religion, gender or age, and there should be no double standards when it comes to fighting terrorism. Countries should step up cooperation and explore more effective preventive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures to uphold common security.
Q: Today Australia announced a new intelligence task force to combat espionage and foreign interference. How does China feel about that decision and and has China set to interfere in Australian politics? Also, Australian foreign minister described the treatment of the Australian author detained in China as "unacceptable". Do you have any response to that?
A: Your question reminds me of something I saw. Perhaps you have also noted that recently people from Australia's government, media and academic sectors questioned the Wang Liqiang "espionage case" hyped up by Australian, British and US media. I've seen reports that Australian security authorities explained to the National Security Committee of Cabinet that Wang's information lacks details, and it is very likely that he is using espionage as an excuse to seek asylum or residence permit. I also saw an article China Spy Farce published on Australia's Daily Telegraph, saying Wang is attempting to seek political asylum or residence permit with false testimony. Some Australian academics believe that when it comes to issues about China in their country, conclusions are often drawn in the absence of firm evidence.
For quite some time, certain Australian media and institutions have been hyping up the so-called "China espionage cases", "China infiltration stories" or "China interference theory". No matter how bizarre and outlandish, they are just one ridiculous farce or shoddy soap opera after another. This case is further proof.
It is indeed baffling that some people would believe liars with ulterior motives rather than official information from the Chinese government. Wang Liqiang is just one case in point. All should reflect upon and stay on high alert to what lies beneath such foolish and absurd acts. We urge relevant sides to draw a lesson from this, discard prejudice, respect facts and avoid repeating such glaring mistakes.
Q: We note that China's Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi held consultations on the Iranian nuclear issue in Beijing yesterday. Could you offer more information?
A: The US withdrawal from the JCPOA and maximum pressure on Iran led to continued tension that risks the total collapse of the agreement. Under such circumstances, Vice Foreign Minister Ma and Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi held consultations in Beijing on December 1. They exchanged in-depth views on such issues as the Iranian nuclear situation and implementation of the JCPOA and reached broad consensus. The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation, continue to work for the full and effective implementation of the deal, uphold the international order based on international law, stay committed to political and diplomatic resolution, and uphold regional and international peace and stability.
China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners. The two sides will implement the consensus between our heads of state, continue to cement political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, enrich our comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit the two countries and peoples. As the Iranian nuclear issue is an important part of China-Iran strategic cooperation, the two sides will continue to work to uphold the JCPOA.
Q: El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is now on a state visit in China. A senior official in the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy in El Salvador said that the US is evaluating whether some of the US-Salvador cooperation will be affected if the Salvadorian government accepts China's deal. Many countries were drawn by the deals China offered and then regretted their decisions. The US needs to warn and help El Salvador from the same trap. What is your comment?
A: Indeed Salvadorian President Bukele has arrived in China. There will be a series of official activities with Chinese leaders tomorrow. We look forward to taking the visit as an opportunity to promote bilateral relations.
I also saw the remarks by the US official you mentioned. They are open, blatant and peremptory threats to the normal cooperation between China and El Salvador.
The US established diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China four decades ago and have conducted cooperation with it in a wide range of areas ever since. It simply makes no sense for the US to obstruct other sovereign countries' wish to develop relations and cooperate with China. It is a despicable move driven by hegemonic logic.
I want to emphasize that China conducts cooperation with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Such win-win cooperation does not affect or target cooperation with any third party. We hope the US will act with becoming decency, and view other countries' wish to develop relations and cooperate with China in an objective, rational, open and inclusive attitude.
Q: I just wanted to ask for more details about the maritime restrictions you mentioned. Is that just restricted to military vessels? Is there any time limit on the sanctions?
A: Like I said, the Chinese government decides to suspend reviewing requests of US military vessels and aircraft to visit Hong Kong starting from today. As for how long the suspension will last, it depends on how the US acts.
Q: Could you give China's response to the Australian foreign minister who called the treatment of Yang Jun "unacceptable" following reports from a recent consular visit that he was being tortured?
A: Actually I already answered a similar question from the Wall Street Journal. Lately there have been so many "espionage" cases, but one after another, they have all been proven to be false. From Wang Liqiang to Simon Cheng, so many cases have exposed the lies. Shouldn't one learn from that?
As to the specific case you mentioned, we've stated our position repeatedly. China's national security organ handles the case in accordance with law and fully guarantees Yang's rights. To my knowledge, he is in good physical condition. The so-called "torture" is simply non-existent.
I hope media agencies will have the basic sense to make proper judgments and discern fake news. It is dreadful and highly dangerous to believe liars instead of information released by a responsible government.
Q: I was wondering if the foreign ministry could confirm that citizens from Belize and Taiwan were detained recently specifically for their involvement in the Hong Kong protests?
A: I refer you to relevant authorities.
Q: Could you please elaborate a bit on the sanctions on the American NGOs today you announced?
A: As I just said, the Chinese government decides to suspend reviewing requests of US military vessels and aircraft to make stops in Hong Kong starting from today and to impose sanctions on NGOs that played a egregious role in the recent disturbance related to an amendment bill in Hong Kong, including the National Endowment for Democracy.
The reason is very simple. A large amount of facts and evidence have shown that these NGOs have supported anti-China plotters who messed up Hong Kong through various means, aiding and abetting them in extreme violent criminal acts and inciting "Hong Kong independence" separatist activities. They are much to blame for the chaos in Hong Kong. The sanctions are rightly imposed as these organizations shall pay the price for what they've done. This is only what a government should do to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests.