Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 14, 2022
2022/04/14 19:16

CCTV: We noticed that the National Urban League published its 2022 State of Black America report on April 12. One of the findings is that Black Americans’ right to political participation has been greatly restricted. In the past year alone, 20 states redrew congressional maps, which strip voting power away from communities with African American voters and other racial minorities. At the same time, many states adopted legislation that makes it harder for Black and other ethnic minority voters to cast their ballots. Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have also noted the report. It shows that African Americans get only 73.9% of the American pie of equality white people enjoy. Black people have slipped further behind white people in wealth, health, education, social justice and civic engagement. This again exposes the persistent systemic racial discrimination in the US, which has seeped into all aspects of social life.

The utopia depicted by words is shattered by reality. The US claims to champion openness and inclusiveness. It declares that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights all men are endowed with, and that the American dream is out there for all who set out to chase it. Fifty-nine years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his “I Have a Dream” speech that “America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’.” More than half a century on, the situation remains the same. African Americans are still fighting a long and uphill battle in striving for equal rights with White people. 

The sufferings of African Americans are not unique to them, but experienced by other ethnic minority groups as well. Overshadowed by systemic racial discrimination featuring discriminatory treatment and violence in law enforcement, ethnic minorities in the US live under unease, inequality and fear. Instead of fulfilling their American dream, many of them end up having their dream shattered and even meeting their death. 

The US government should take a hard look at the country’s own human rights issues, earnestly protect the equal and lawful rights of African Americans and other ethnic minorities, and square rhetoric about human rights and equality with reality for the tangible benefits of each and every American people. 

China Daily: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the accusation of Russia’s use of chemical weapons is unfounded and the goal is to divert the international community’s attention from the biological laboratories discovered in Ukraine. Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have noted the remarks. Indeed, the US has not yet given any convincing explanation for its bio-military activities. Undertaking consultation and cooperation to address concerns is a requirement of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The US has no right to reject discussions on the issue. 

The US remarks have so far been ambiguous and even self-contradictory, which aroused greater suspicion from the international community. People are asking: How many cooperation facilities is the US running across the world? How many biological samples did the US ship out of Ukraine according to bilateral agreement with the country and for what purpose? What is the sensitive information that Ukraine is not allowed to make public according to the agreement? Did the US conduct dangerous research overseas that is prohibited in the US?

Moreover, although the US talked about the need to strengthen and revitalize the Convention mechanism when commemorating the 50th anniversary of the BWC’s opening for signature as a depository state, it continued to ignore the appeal of the international community at the BWC PrepCom that concluded earlier this week. Why does the US stand alone in opposing the resumption of multilateral negotiations aimed at establishing a BWC verification mechanism? How can the US win the trust of the international community with such behavior? How can it restore the international community’s confidence in the US compliance?

As one of the BWC depository states, the US ought to be an example, not an exception, when it comes to compliance. We once again urge the US to give comprehensive and detailed clarification of its bio-military activities and stop standing alone in opposing the establishment of a multilateral verification mechanism.

Hubei Media Group: Some US media have frequently made suspected racist remarks when covering the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing refugee problem. “These are not refugees from Syria ... They’re Christian, they’re white”, for example. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: I also noted such remarks, which have been deplored by the people of relevant countries and regions. A spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency stressed that no matter where the displaced persons come from, Ukraine, Afghanistan or Syria, we must remember that “they are all human”. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, also questioned “if the world really gives equal attention to black and white lives”. He said not even a fraction of the attention is given to the ongoing crises in Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria and the rest of the world, in comparison with Ukraine.

I want to stress that the differences in skin color and language can by no means become indicators for hierarchy or superiority. All human lives deserve equal attention and respect. Ranking different races based on self-imposed criteria and selectively demonstrating sympathies reflects nothing but typical racial discrimination and double standards. It again reveals white supremacy and civilization superiority ingrained in some countries’ mindset.

I also want to emphasize that the historical merits of the Ukraine issue are crystal clear. A probe into the root cause of the humanitarian disasters in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria over the 30-plus years since the end of the Cold War can easily convict the culprit of the Ukraine issue, who destabilized regional situations, instigated opposition and confrontation and created human tragedies. The country that styles itself as the “beacon of democracy” and the role model of human rights has every reason to discard arrogance and prejudice under the pretext of justice, stop undermining peace and tranquility of other countries and the whole world, and earnestly make contributions to human civilization. Otherwise, it will only further disparage its own credibility and reputation in the international community.  

Macau Monthly: First question, yesterday you commented on the shooting incident in New York city, saying that there was no report of Chinese casualties at that time. Any update for that? Second question, the commandant of the US Marine Corps warns the China-Solomon Islands security cooperation deal is “too good to be true”. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: As to your first question, according to the latest situation learned by the Chinese Consulate-General in New York, one Chinese citizen was injured in the shooting at a New York subway. The Consulate-General contacted the families of the wounded immediately and provided assistance. The citizen is now being treated at a hospital for the injuries and is in stable conditions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate-General in New York will continue to monitor the situation relating to Chinese citizens, and provide consular protection and assistance on a timely basis.

As to your second question, I need to start with correcting a factual error the commandant has made. Security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands, including the signing of the security agreement, is conducted on the premise of respecting Solomon Islands’ will and actual needs and based on equal-footed consultation. When cooperating with Solomon Islands and other Pacific island countries, China is committed to equality of all countries regardless of their size. It has never attached any political strings or imposed its will onto others.

The people of Pacific island countries are in a better position than anyone else to tell whether their cooperation with China is good or not. The above-mentioned remarks on the US side have exposed that some people are bossing the Pacific island countries around in disregard of the latter’s need for diversifying cooperation. The relevant side should stop making irresponsible remarks and do more for peace, development and stability in the South Pacific region.

Xinhua News Agency: The newly-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif said the other day when meeting the charge d’affaires ad interim of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan that the new government of Pakistan attaches great importance to developing relations with China, and is ready to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and promote the building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with stronger initiative and higher efficiency. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: China appreciates the remarks of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and iron-clad brothers true to the name. China will give priority to Pakistan in its neighborhood diplomacy as always and firmly support Pakistan in realizing prosperity and revitalization. We are ready to work with the new Pakistani government to have close exchange at all levels, substantiate and expand practical cooperation, build CPEC toward the sustainable, livelihood-oriented and high-standard objectives, and accelerate the building of an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era for the well-being of the two countries and the two peoples.

Radio Television Hong Kong: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged China to take actions to end Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, otherwise China’s international standing will be at stake. What is China’s response?

Zhao Lijian: China holds an objective and just position on the Ukraine issue. We support dialogue and negotiation, and actively provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries. We have made great efforts to help deescalate the situation, resolve the crisis and rebuild peace.

We believe that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and upheld, and that there’s no place for double standards in international relations. Ukraine’s sovereignty and security should be upheld. Russia’s legitimate security concerns should also be respected. Europe’s peace and stability should be defended, and the same goes for other countries. We firmly oppose any distortion and smearing of China’s position.

China plays a constructive role on the Ukraine issue. We speak for justice and work for peace with a long-term vision. Our position is in line with the stance and wishes of most countries. We stand against groundless accusations and suspicions targeting China, and never accept any pressure and coercion. Time will prove that China’s position is on the right side of history.

AFP: A Uyghur woman held in Saudi Arabia told AFP she feared being deported to China. Do you have any details about this case?

Zhao Lijian: I suppose it is a report by the AFP. I have not heard of such thing.

Macau Monthly: It is reported that Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham are leading a delegation to Taiwan on April 14 and will meet with Tsai Ing-wen. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy. The US side should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop official exchanges with Taiwan and avoid going further down the dangerous path. The Chinese side will continue to take strong measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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