|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on October 20, 2020|
Xinhua News Agency: According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on October 19, China's economy grew by 0.7 percent year on year in the first three quarters, which has attracted wide attention. What does the upturn of the Chinese economy mean for the recovery of the world economy?
Zhao Lijian: This is undoubtedly good news for the global economy. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday, China's economic growth in the first three quarters turned from negative to positive. In particular, the third quarter saw a much faster growth rate of 4.9 percent, 1.7 percentage points higher than the second quarter. In the first three quarters, actual use of foreign investment grew by 5.2 percent, total import and export of goods increased by 0.7 percent, and cumulative import and export saw growth for the first time in the year. We have also made progress in the development of pilot free trade zones, with the number of such zones now at 21. The World Bank's Doing Business Report 2020 ranks China higher at the 31st place in the world. The International Monetary Fund's recent forecast puts China as the only major economy to maintain positive growth this year, reflecting strong confidence in China's economic growth.
Against the backdrop of the surging COVID-19 pandemic and the sluggish world economy, China's economic performance is even more remarkable. It has played a positive role in driving global economic recovery. Going forward, China will continue to open up further, foster a new pattern of development with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and the domestic and international cycles reinforcing each other, provide countries with a vast market and enormous development opportunities, and add impetus to world economic recovery and growth.
AFP: Do you have any update on this Chinese soldier who has gone missing near the border with India. Has the Indian side handed over the soldier to China or not?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili already released a statement on the Chinese soldier who went missing in the China-India border region. On the night of October 18, a Chinese soldier got lost and went missing while helping a herdsman looking for lost yaks. Chinese border troops upon learning the incident notified the Indian side at the earliest time possible in the hope of getting assistance in search and rescue efforts. The Indian side agreed to provide support and promised that the Chinese soldier, once found, will be handed over in a timely manner. Lately the Indian side notified the Chinese side that it has found one missing Chinese person, who will be handed over after a medical examination. We hope the Indian side will keep its word and hand over the Chinese soldier promptly, and work together with the Chinese side to jointly implement the consensus reached at the seventh round of senior commanders' meeting to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border.
Bloomberg: Support is growing within Indian government to formally start talks on a trade deal with Taiwan. This is according to a Bloomberg reported. What's the Foreign Ministry's comment on this push to formally start trade talks with Taiwan?
Zhao Lijian: There is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The one-China principle is the common consensus of the international community, including India, and also serves as the political foundation for China to develop relations with any other country. China is firmly opposed to any official exchanges of any form and the signing of any agreement of official nature between Taiwan and any country having diplomatic relations with China. The Indian side should earnestly abide by the one-China principle and handle the Taiwan question prudently and properly.
CRI: It is reported that the general election in Tanzania will be held on October 28. The US Embassy in Tanzania recently issued a statement on the election, calling on the Tanzanian government to support the democratic process, adding that they will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: We believe that the Tanzanian government and people have the wisdom and capability to organize the election. We wish that the election will be held in a smooth and successful manner. Non-interference in other countries' internal affairs should be a basic principle for all countries to follow. China calls on all countries to respect this principle and all parties should support African countries' independence and safeguard their unity and stability.
Associated Press of Pakistan: According to reports, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said that after communication and negotiation, TikTok agreed to strengthen content management as required by the Pakistani side. In view of this, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has decided to lift the ban on TikTok and resume its operations in the country conditionally. Does China have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have taken note of relevant reports. The Chinese government always asks overseas Chinese enterprises to strictly comply with international rules and local laws and regulations, and fully respect local customs and religious beliefs. We are glad to see the relevant parties properly handling relevant issues through friendly consultation.
China Daily: President Reed of the U.S. Export-Import Bank published an article on October 17, saying that "for more than a decade, the Chinese Communist Party has relentlessly attacked the American economy with tools ranging from intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer to widespread dumping and currency manipulation." She also wrote that China is increasingly using "export financing to distort fair and free-market competition". The U.S. Under Secretary of State Krach retweeted this article with comments that "CCP's too-good-to-be-true deals are too good to be true". Could you comment on these remarks?
Zhao Lijian: The US individuals' comments you cited are baseless and senseless.
Currently, under the pretext of "national security", the US is wantonly oppressing foreign companies, denying their market access, forcing them to sell shares and technologies to American businesses, coercing third countries to sever their supply of normal technologies and products to foreign companies and detain foreign enterprises' senior executives. This is precisely arbitrary government intervention that led to the greatest market distortion and severe damage to the WTO rules and the multilateral trading system. Over the past four decades, China's reform and opening up has been market-oriented, and we have been fulfilling our responsibilities as a major trading nation with well-recognized improvement in our business environment. The claim of "China's currency manipulation" is even more ridiculous. The IMF and other authoritative international institutions all believe China's currency exchange rate is in line with our economic fundamentals, and there's no apparent overvaluation or undervaluation.
Finance is the lifeblood of economy. China has been providing diverse financing support including export credits to countries in need of economic development. During our cooperation with other countries, China follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursues open, green and clean cooperation and high-standard and sustainable development that benefits the people. The infrastructure projects financed by China attach high importance to meeting international standards, protection of the ecological environment and fulfillment of social responsibilities. We have forged multiple demonstration projects and exemplary projects, which are welcome in host countries and contributing greatly to global economic growth, trade and investment cooperation, and improvement of people's well-being. The comment of "too good to be true" is just sour grapes.
As to the debt issues of some countries, I'd like to stress that they are partly due to national economic fundamentals and closely related to factors such as the global macroeconomic economic environment. Loans to these countries by commercial creditors of the United States and other developed countries and international financial institutions constitute the bulk of the debt of many countries. China is not responsible for debt problems of certain countries. China never presses countries having difficulties on debt repayment. We maintain communication through bilateral channels and have made some arrangements on debt relief based on relevant countries' needs. China has been actively participating in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and working with other parties to mitigate COVID-19's negative impact on national economies and the world economy.
In a word, the facts speak for themselves when it comes to passing judgment on China's practical cooperation with relevant countries. Certain individuals in the US who smear and denigrate other countries by distorting facts or even fabricating lies should reflect upon themselves and make some tangible contributions to the shared development of the international community.
Bloomberg: Australia is expected to join the annual Malabar naval exercises to be held off the Indian coast with Japan and the U.S. this year, according to statements from India's defense ministry and Australia's defense minister. What's the Foreign Ministry's comment on reports that Australia will join the annual Malabar exercises?
Zhao Lijian: We noticed this development. China believes that military cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability.
Global Times: The so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile" issued a statement on October 16 saying that Lobsang Sangay, the "Kalon Tripa", met with the US "special coordinator for Tibetan issues" and Assistant Secretary Robert Destro at the US Department of State. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Xizang's affairs are China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. The US appointment of so-called "special coordinator for Tibetan issues" is a political manipulation to interfere in China's domestic affairs and undermine Xizang's development and stability. China firmly opposes it and has never recognized it. We have lodged solemn representations with the US side.
The so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile" is a separatist political organization with the agenda of pursuing "Tibetan independence". It is completely in violation of China's Constitution and laws, and is not recognized by any country. Lobsang Sangay, as head of the organization, is utterly an anti-China separatist. China firmly opposes Lobsang Sangay conducting anti-China separatist activities in whatever capacity, name or country, and we firmly oppose engagement of whatever form between him and officials of any country. Destro's meeting with him seriously breached the US commitment and policy stance of not supporting so-called "Tibetan independence" and not recognizing the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile", which sent a deeply erroneous signal to the "Tibetan independence" forces.
The US side should stop interfering in China's internal affairs or undermining Xizang's development and stability under the pretext of Xizang-related matters. It shall not in any way support anti-China separatist activities by "Tibetan independence" forces. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard our interests.
Associated Press of Pakistan: In a recent interview Pakistani Prime Minister's national security adviser Moeed Yusuf said that Pakistani delegations visited Xinjiang and saw the real situation there. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy equal rights protected by law and lead happy lives. He also said that Pakistan knew everything about Xinjiang and the Uyghurs is a non-issue. Does China have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Pakistani side made a very good statement, which shows that seeing is believing. China appreciates Pakistan's objective and just position on issues relating to Xinjiang. As a matter of fact, the international community has a fair judgment on relevant issues. Not long ago, 48 countries made a joint statement in support of China on issues relating to Xinjiang at the UNGA Third Committee, voicing their understanding and support for China's just position and their opposition to politicization and double standard on human rights issues and to wanton accusation and interference targeting China. This fully shows who has the support of the international community. Since the end of 2018, more than a thousand people from over 90 countries have visited Xinjiang, seeing with their own eyes a region enjoying stability and prosperity. They all spoke highly of Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization experience, which can offer insights for others. We hope more unbiased people will visit Xinjiang to get to know the real situation there. I'm sure more and more countries will voice their just observation, just like the Pakistani side.
CCTV: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo published a statement on monitoring and combating trafficking in persons on the department's website, criticizing China's moves related to Xinjiang and religion, including "forced labor", and saying that the United States will continue to pressure the Chinese government on these issues. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Pompeo is proud of "lying, cheating and stealing". He has been the source of various disinformation on China. So-called "forced labor" and other issues are typical cases of fabrication.
Labor workers of Xinjiang's all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, are part of China's labor force whose rights and interests are protected by law. They have the freedom to choose their professions and locations of work with zero restriction on their personal liberty. Their traditions, customs, religious beliefs and spoken and written languages are lawfully protected. The employers provide good working and living conditions for employees of ethnic minorities and make sure all their needs are attended to. The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government takes proactive measures to safeguard to the maximum the right to work and employment of people from all ethnic groups based on their own will. How can anyone call this "forced labor"? It's so preposterous.
How are those U.S. politicians in any position to deprive the Chinese people of the right to pursue a better life through work? Some in the US claim they care about ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, but on the other hand, they are taking all sorts of measures to repress Xinjiang enterprises and impose unilateral sanctions and pressure, which fully reveals their malicious intention to undermine Xinjiang's prosperity and development, sow discord among ethnic groups in China, and contain China's progress.
I want to stress that, the United States itself has a terrible record on human rights and religious freedom. It has been incompetent in fighting the virus, and there have been numerous scandals of racial discrimination, police brutality and prisoner abuse. Gun violence crime rate in the United States has been the highest in the world for years, causing on average tens of thousands of deaths per year. The religious situation of ethnic minorities in the United States is also worrisome. The U.S. government should focus on handling its domestic problems rather than making lies about others.
Politicians like Pompeo can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but they cannot fool all the people all the time. No matter how they lie and cheat, Xinjiang's prosperity and stability will not be interrupted, and China's development and progress will not be stopped. This is the best response to them.
Reuters: After the incident in Fuji, Taiwanese officials said that China's diplomats are acting like hooligans with barbaric actions. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: They're just making false accusations to shift blame and talking nonsense.
Kyodo News: According to reports, a CUHK female student who was arrested by Hong Kong police for rioting received "political asylum" from Germany. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I'm not aware of what you said. China's position is consistent and clear: we oppose foreign interference in China's internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs.
Reuters: US Secretary of State Pompeo said that the United States and Brazil should reduce dependence on Chinese imports due to security concerns. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports. China is firmly opposed to the Cold-War mentality and ideological bias of some US politicians who deliberately smear and denigrate China's normal economic and trade cooperation with other countries.
China and Brazil are comprehensive strategic partners. Since the beginning of this year, despite the negative impact of the epidemics, China-Brazil practical cooperation has continued to grow. In the first nine months of this year, the trade volume between China and Brazil reached $86.5 billion, up by 4% year-on-year. This fully demonstrates that our practical cooperation has a solid foundation, strong resilience and mutual benefit. It enjoys broad support from all sectors of both countries and will not and should not be disturbed by others.
Yesterday I shared with you the good news about the social network accounts of the MFA Spokesperson's Office. Today, I'm very glad to see that our Douyin account has gained nearly one million new fans. Thank you all for your great support!
It has been almost ten years for our ministry to run new media accounts since the Weibo account of Diplo-Chat was officially opened in 2011. We have been publishing authoritative information in a timely and accurate manner and actively interacting with online viewers, presenting China's diplomacy and Lanting online.
It's worth noting that the MFA Spokesperson's Office WeChat account has been running for more than 1,000 days with the company of "faxiao". Some new friends asked me what "faxiao" was. It is the nickname of the followers of the MFA Spokesperson's Office. We hope you will, as always, follow and support our ministry's website in Chinese and other languages, as well as our social media accounts including the Diplo-Chat Weibo and WeChat accounts, and the Weibo, WeChat and Douyin accounts of the MFA Spokesperson's Office.