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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on September 3, 2020

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China

President Xi Jinping will address the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services on September 4 in Beijing.

As the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the virtual meeting of BRICS foreign ministers on September 4.

CCTV: The US State Department issued a statement on September 2, requiring senior PRC diplomats in the US to receive approval to visit US university campuses and to meet with local government officials. Cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people hosted by the PRC embassy and consular posts outside of mission properties will also require approval. What is China's comment?

Hua Chunying: Since October last year, the US State Department has continuously imposed restrictions on Chinese embassy and consulates in the US and their personnel, impeding their normal performance of duties in the US. Relevant measures seriously violate international law and basic norms governing international relations, and seriously interfere with China-US relations and normal bilateral exchanges.

In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Consular Convention between China and the US, China and the US should fully facilitate each other's diplomatic and consular personnel in their respective countries to perform their duties in accordance with law. China always provides convenience for US embassy and consulates in China and their personnel to conduct normal activities in China in accordance with laws and regulations. By contrast, in October last year and in June this year, the US State Department has twice requested Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel in the US to report their activities in advance. This time, its request for prior approval went even further as to restrict Chinese diplomats' personal and social contacts with US local officials. These requirements are totally contrary to international law and basic norms governing international relations as well as the consular convention between China and the US. They are illegal, illegitimate and unreasonable. This reflects that the anti-China forces in the US have completely lost their rationality and self-confidence and have developed anti-China paranoia. They will continue to be strongly condemned and opposed by clear-minded people from all walks of life.

China-US relations are important to both countries and to the world. The two sides should keep communication channels open at all times. The Chinese diplomatic missions in the US will continue to maintain normal exchanges with all sectors of the US community. China will continue to support normal exchanges and cooperation between the two peoples. We urge the US State Department to immediately reverse the erroneous decision, stop obstructing normal personnel exchanges between the two countries and stop undermining bilateral relations. China will make a legitimate and necessary response in light of the development of the situation.

China Daily: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to make groundless accusations against China during his press conference on September 2 on the South China Sea, Tibet-related issues and cooperation between China and US universities. What is China's comment?

Hua Chunying: Pompeo's fact-distorting and truth-reversing words reflect that the extreme anti-China forces in the US are using all means to smear China and deliberately undermine China-US relations and normal exchanges and cooperation. The evil intentions of Pompeo and others have been seen through by the world since long ago, and their regressive behaviors will continue to be strongly criticized and resolutely opposed by people of all walks of life.

China's position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. China is firmly committed to safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, to peacefully resolving disputes through consultation and negotiation with other countries directly concerned, and to working with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. As a country outside the region, the United States is stirring up quarrels, provoking troubles and sowing discord between China and relevant countries in the South China Sea. The US is the primary perpetrator that creates tension and imposes threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea. We urge the US side to stop being a saboteur of peace and stability and a spoiler of cooperation and development in the South China Sea.

Tibet has been China's territory since ancient times, and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no interference by any external forces. Since its peaceful liberation more than 60 years ago, Tibet has made historic progress in economic, social, cultural, ecological and other fields. We urge the US side to stop finger-pointing and interfering in China's internal affairs on Tibet-related issues.

Exchanges and cooperation in the education sector between China and the United States are mutually beneficial. The allegation by US officials that China is infiltrating US schools is totally out of thin air. In their eyes, all Chinese students in the US are spies and all China's exchanges with US universities are infiltration. This is all delusional. Following their logic, are all the large number of Americans living and working in China spies? And all these English learners in China, are they part of the US effort to infiltrate China? What the US officials did goes against the desire of the Chinese and American people to strengthen exchanges and cooperation and undermines the common interests of the two countries.

Once again, we urge Pompeo and other politicians to respect the facts, stop harping on anti-China remarks, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, stop obstructing and undermining normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States, and stop going further down the wrong path.

Beijing Daily: Reports say the US wants not only "diplomatic reciprocity" but also "reciprocity in media". As we know, in May the US limited visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum three-month stay, and their visas haven't been extended so far. Could you comment on this?

Hua Chunying: The US indeed talks a lot about reciprocity, but more and more people now understand the truth of "reciprocity" in the media sector in China and the US.

For a long time the US has been practicing a discriminatory visa policy against Chinese journalists stationed in the US. The Chinese journalists can only get single-entry visas, which means they need to re-apply every time they leave the US to visit their families in China or travel overseas. Since 2018 the US has been deliberately setting obstacles to our journalists' visa application. Besides the usual documents, our journalists also need to submit large amounts of additional materials like their social media accounts, outbound travel records in the past 15 years, registration information and structure of their workplace in the US, as well as their social relations. This is not only far beyond the normal requirement of visa application but also in serious violation of their privacy. The US also cited many reasons including administrative review to prolong the process of visa review and approval, and to delay and even deny visa issuance. Since 2018, about 30 Chinese journalists have had experiences. In March the US in effect expelled 60 Chinese journalists. On May 11, the US announced its decision to limit visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay starting from May 8. That is to say, by August 6, all Chinese journalists' visas will expire. All Chinese journalists stationed there followed the US requirement and submitted application for extension in advance. However, none of them ever received a specific answer from the authorities whether the extension can be approved, which gives them a great deal of uncertainties. By contrast, most foreign journalists stationed in China are granted one-year press cards. Since December 2018, the US have demanded multiple Chinese media agencies register as "foreign agents" and "foreign missions". It's harder and harder for our reporters to cover news in the US. When in group press activities, they are often treated differently and sometimes even interrogated. The US also asked some Chinese media reporters to regularly submit certification of employment to the White House and removed some journalists from the list to send invitation emails for small-scale events. Besides, the visa application fee is also raised by the US under the pretext of "reciprocity". Now Chinese journalists need to pay $1,037 every time they apply, while the visa and residency application fee for American journalists stationed in China is only about $350.

I think people connect empathically with each other, and you might put yourself in our shoes. The MFA Information Department does our best to make your life and work in China as convenient as possible. We do this for all foreign journalists in China, including US journalists. In order to best protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and American journalists, we have had many consultations with the US side in good faith and with goodwill. But the United States has outrageously taken the visa extension issue as a hostage to demand that the more than 10 journalists of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times, whose press cards were handed back, be allowed to return to China, while no Chinese journalists got visa extension.

Things happen for a reason. Those journalists from the three US media outlets were asked to hand back their press cards because it is our justifiable and necessary reaction to the unreasonable expulsion of 60 Chinese journalists by the US side. If the US wants such reciprocity, China is also willing to get even with them on all this.

The essence of the media issue between China and the US is the US political persecution and suppression against the Chinese media out of the Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It is an important part of the US crackdown on China in all aspects and fields. It does no good to the normal exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and American people. It also undermines the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the journalists of the two countries.

We hope that the US side will realize the gravity of this issue, change its discriminatory practices against the Chinese media, and protect the safety and rights of Chinese journalists stationed in the US. If the US keeps moving further down the wrong path, China has no choice but to make a justifiable and necessary reaction to firmly uphold its legitimate rights.

CCTV: Do you have more information on the upcoming virtual BRICS foreign ministers' meeting?

Hua Chunying: The BRICS mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to step up solidarity and cooperation and uphold shared interests. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the BRICS leaders, the BRICS countries, following the BRICS spirit of open, inclusive and win-win cooperation, have conducted various and fruitful exchange and cooperation. The BRICS countries have continuously strengthened solidarity and mutual trust, expanded pragmatic cooperation, deepened people-to-people exchange and increased international influence, making the BRICS a model of cooperation mechanism between emerging major countries.

The BRICS foreign ministers' meeting is an important mechanism for BRICS cooperation and a key part of the three pillar areas of such cooperation. Facing the complex international landscape, it is of significant importance for BRICS foreign ministers to hold a virtual meeting to exchange views and coordinate position on the current international situation, commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN and hotspot issues of mutual interest, to send out strong messages of jointly addressing global challenges, supporting multilateralism and the UN's role, and promoting global economic recovery in a post-COVID era. China will actively participate in this meeting. We hope and believe this meeting will achieve positive outcomes and inject positive energy into world peace and development.

NHK: There were protests following the implementation of bilingual education policy in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Can you confirm that? Former Mongolian president Elbegdorj made comments on this in social media. Do you have any response?

Hua Chunying: The relevant reports are political speculation with ulterior motives.

The national common spoken and written language is a symbol of national sovereignty. It is every citizen's right and duty to learn and use the national common spoken and written language. This is true not only in China, but also in the rest of the world. It is enshrined in China's Constitution, the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and the Education Law.

The Chinese government, in accordance with relevant laws, promotes the use of the national common spoken and written language in ethnic minority areas, upholds the principle of equality in the spoken and written languages of all ethnic groups, and guarantees according to law the freedom of all ethnic groups, including the Mongolian ethnicity, to use and develop their own spoken and written languages.

The Education Department of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has released relevant information on unified textbooks. In recent years, the National Textbook Committee has organized experts to compile textbooks in Chinese language and literature, politics and history, which have been used in all primary and secondary schools nationwide since 2017. Starting this year, six provinces and autonomous regions, including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, have also started using these textbooks. The unified textbooks of the three subjects will not affect the setting of courses of other subjects in schools teaching ethnic languages. The class hours, textbooks, and teaching language of the Mongolian language and literature class will remain unchanged, and the current bilingual education system will not be changed.

I wonder if any other country in the world has enacted special laws and taken concrete measures like China to protect the rights of ethnic minorities to use their own spoken and written languages?

New York Times: What is the position of the Chinese government on the independence movement in the Malaita region in the Solomon Islands?

Hua Chunying: This is an internal affair of the Solomon Islands. China doesn't interfere in other countries' internal affairs. We believe the government of the Solomon Islands can handle its internal matters.

CRI: The intra-Afghan talks are expected to be held soon in Doha, capital of Qatar. What is China's comment on this and what does China expect from it? Will you send officials to the talks?

Hua Chunying: The intra-Afghan talks are key to the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan. As the country's biggest neighbor and sincere friend, China has been following the latest developments and supporting the "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" principle. We hope relevant parties in Afghanistan can put the interests of the country and people first, abandon differences, move in the same direction and work out a fundamental solution through dialogue and negotiation to realize lasting peace and stability.

Comprehensive, lasting peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without the broad consensus and support from the international community, especially the regional countries. Promoting peace and facilitating talks is a shared responsibility of all members of the international community, not a job to be done by one or two countries. The whole international community must work toward the same goal to achieve early outcomes of the intra-Afghan talks and steady progress in the peace and reconciliation process. China will continue playing a constructive role to this end.

The Paper: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials once again accused China of covering up the epidemic, saying that more people have died in China than in any other country. What is China's comment?

Hua Chunying: Actions speak louder than words, and justice prevails. What is false can never be made true. As Zhong Nanshan said at the CCTV program "The First Class of the New Term", the CPC and government have always adhered to the principle of "putting life first and the people first" and carried out epidemic prevention and control with a high sense of solidarity and responsibility and in a science-based manner. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have united as one and ensured that China was able to achieve major strategic results in epidemic prevention and control within a short period of time, which can stand the test of time and history. China's achievements in epidemic prevention and control have been further consolidated, important progress has been made in resuming work and production, and the economic and social order has been restored at a faster pace. These are plain facts. As stationed journalists in China, you must have had a good understanding of this during your stay. I have noticed that recently many friends from the media paid attention to the Wuhan Music Festival at a water park and the Qingdao Beer Festival, which are important signs that for the Chinese people, normal life is coming back.

By contrast, the US has been shifting the blame to China, trying to use this as a strategy to cover up its government's incompetence, but its allegations are entirely groundless. On January 23, when China placed Wuhan under lockdown, the US declared only one confirmed case of COVID-19. On January 31, the United States suspended direct flights between China and the US. On February 2, the US closed its borders to all Chinese citizens, by which time the US announced there were just over 10 confirmed cases. The timeline is crystal clear. After China cut off the transmission path of the epidemic to the world, how did the US, boasting the richest medical resources and the most advanced medical technology, step by step became the most severely affected country in the world in just a few months? I am neither willing nor convenient to comment too much. There have been a lot of American media reports on the US administration's epidemic responses, and people from all walks of life in the US have let off their pent-up grievances. Yesterday, the US House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Crisis released reports obtained from the White House task force, which demonstrate what the administration's officials told the public are in contradiction with those reports they issued, apparently an effort of cover-up. As Dr. Fauci said, numbers don't lie. Every number indicates a life taken, and reminds us of his or her loved ones. The blaming tricks can only deceive some people for some time, but ultimately defeating the epidemic depends on science and respect for life. We hope the American politicians can realize this simple truth as soon as possible and fulfill their due responsibilities for their country and people.

Xinhua News Agency: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, and we noticed high-level commemorative events held in both China and Russia today. Have the two sides been coordinating on this?

Hua Chunying: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. This morning, President Xi Jinping and other CPC and state leaders, together with representatives of various sectors in Beijing, laid wreaths of flowers to commemorate the martyrs at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Today President Xi and President Putin exchanged congratulatory messages. As you may have also known, Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the United States, Cui Tiankai and Anatoly Antonov, published a joint article. Another article was jointly published by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Hanhui to Russia and Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov to China.

As President Xi Jinping pointed out, exactly 75 years ago, the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression and the victory of the Soviet Union against Japan demonstrated the final victory of the world anti-Fascist war. In the war that involved Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania, over 100 million troops and civilians died or injured, which was the heaviest price the human race had ever paid. China and Russia, as the main theaters in Asia and Europe during the war, made tremendous sacrifices for and indelible contributions to its final victory. The two peoples fought together, forged unbreakable friendship and laid solid foundation for the high-level China-Russia ties.

The great victory 75 years ago is of special significance to China, Russia and the entire human history, and laid a foundation for the post-war international order. The UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law have played an irreplaceable role in peace, human progress and development since the war ended 75 years ago.

The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. The great changes and the global pandemic affects the human society with wide-ranging impacts. The pandemic proves once again that all countries are closely intertwined. However, the world faces rising unilateralism, blatant bullying, a resurgence of Fascism and McCarthyism, and the deliberate attempts to drag the world back into turbulence, war and chaos. To safeguard the post-war international order which was won by people sacrificing their lives, and to safeguard international fairness and justice, we must uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose arbitrary interference in other countries' internal affairs. We must stick to peaceful settlement of disputes and reject the use or threat of force. We must abide by international law, fulfill international obligations, and oppose unilateralism and bullying practices. We must choose solidarity, cooperation and shared responsibility over division, confrontation and blame-shifting. Under the current circumstances, it is even more important for all sides to promote the correct view on WWII and oppose attempts at misrepresenting history or whitewashing Fascism and militarism.

As major victorious nations of the WWII and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia share a special duty of safeguarding world peace and security and advancing human progress. China will continue working with Russia and other countries to firmly uphold the outcomes of the victory of the WWII, the status of the UN and multilateralism, and foster a community with a shared future for mankind.

Nihon Keizai Shimbun: The Chinese leader laid wreaths of flowers at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, but he didn't make a speech there. Can you tell us why? Is it because China expects improvement in China-Japan relations?

Hua Chunying: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. This morning, President Xi Jinping and other CPC and state leaders, together with representatives of various sectors in Beijing, laid wreaths of flowers to commemorate the martyrs at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Party and state leaders attend relevant events every year to commemorate this important moment in various ways.

Since China and Japan are neighbors that cannot be isolated, an improving China-Japan relationship certainly meets the aspiration of the two peoples as it will deliver greater benefits to both sides. This aspiration has been there all the time, which shouldn't be subject to presumptions based on whether there's a speech or not. Do you agree?

AFP: Do you have any comment on India's decision yesterday to ban 118 Chinese apps citing national security reasons?

Hua Chunying: By banning these hi-tech, easy-to-use and popular apps, the Indian side is sacrificing first and foremost the rights and interests of the Indian users, and damaging those of Chinese companies. Therefore, no one gains from such an action.

I noticed that almost on the same day, the US State Department called on other countries to join India in carrying out the so-called "Clean Network" program. I wonder if there's connection or coordination between India and the US on this issue. But India, as a country proudly possessing an ancient civilization, is wise enough to have known about Dirtbox, PRISM, Irritant Horn, Muscular and Undersea Cable Tapping. It knows fully well whether the US is clean or dirty when it comes to US policies and practices. Independence is so precious. We hope that the Indian side will stick to it. No short-sighted decisions shall be made to impede the long-term interests of the two countries and two peoples.

I'd like to add a few words. Recently, there have been unfriendly voices in India that raised concern for clear-eyed people in China and India. Both countries are close neighbors and proud of our civilizations. The start of our exchange and mutual learning can date back to 1,000 years ago. The great Indian poet Tagore is very popular in China. He wrote, "We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us." Yoga and Indian movies like "Dangal" are also very popular in China. However, it never crossed our mind that India is trying to infiltrate or pose any threat to our country.

We hope that India will attach importance to the two peoples' friendship and long-term interests, and actively support bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

Kyodo News: First question, according to Japanese media reports, a Japanese press photographer was recently arrested in Hong Kong. It is said the photographer is a Hong Kong resident, and the Japanese government acknowledged this. Can you confirm it and give us more details? Second question, Taiwan "president" Tsai Ing-wen met with the Czech senate president today in Taipei. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: On your first question, I'm not aware of that.

On your second question regarding the Czech senate president's visit to Taiwan, we have made clear China's position in the past few days. The Czech senate president, in disregard of opposition from China and the Czech government, insistently visited China's Taiwan region and outrageously supported the "Taiwan independence" forces, which is an open provocation. The one-China policy is an important political basis of the establishment and development of China-Czech diplomatic ties. We noticed that the Czech government also drew a line between them and the senate president, noting that what he has done doesn't represent the government's policy. We hope the Czech side can have a clear understanding of the damage he has caused to bilateral relations, and mmediately take measures to eliminate the bad impact.

We solemnly inform the Taiwan authorities and the anti-China forces behind Vystrcil: your acts cannot alter the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and your attempts of political manipulation and "Taiwan independence" separatist activities will never succeed.

I also want to correct you that when you mention Tsai Ing-wen in the future, please don't refer to her as the Taiwan "president". She's merely a leader in China's Taiwan region.

Prasar Bharati: Regarding the BRICS Foreign Ministers' virtual meeting, is there any interaction between the foreign ministers of India and China? I was asking about if there will be any separate conversation between the foreign ministers of India and China regarding the ongoing India-China issues.

Hua Chunying: China and India are both members of BRICS, and tomorrow they will both attend the BRICS foreign ministers' virtual meeting hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. Tomorrow's meeting will focus on the current international situation and BRICS cooperation. I haven't heard of any separate meeting between Chinese and Indian foreign ministers.

Bloomberg: The Trump administration is debating the scope and effective date of its bans on Chinese social media apps WeChat and TikTok and will likely make the decisions known around September 20. We are wondering if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?

Hua Chunying: It is an open secret that the policies and actions taken and may be taken by the US side on TikTok and WeC hat have nothing to do with national security. They simply aim to cut open, bully and rob Chinese companies. Deep down, it is coerced transaction by government and public negation of the principles of market economy and fair competition that the US always flaunts. We have noted that TikTok and others have issued statements. We urge the US to correct its mistakes and stop unjustified suppression on Chinese companies.

For a long time, the US has been cracking down in unspeakable ways on specific Chinese companies by overstretching the concept of national security and abusing state power, while presenting no factual evidence to justify its actions. It gives us a good lesson on undisguised bullying. I know some people in the US call this a digital gunboat policy. But we are in a different era now, and China is capable of taking all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

Global Times: Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Phil Davidson said on September 2 that "An emboldened Communist Party of China seeks to change the world to one in which Chinese national power is more important than international law." On the same day, US Secretary of State Pompeo once again accused China of violating the UNCLOS. We also noted that he announced sanctions against the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor and others investigating US war crimes in Afghanistan. The US government also said that it will not pay some $62 million it owes the World Health Organization in membership fees. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: The world has seen so clearly that it is the US that seeks to change the world to one in which its national power is above the international law. What the US has done is hypocrisy, hegemony and double standards at full display.

To uphold its maritime hegemony, the US hasn't joined the UNCLOS so far, but it keeps accusing China of violating the UNCLOS. In order to prevent the ICC from probing into the US war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, the US is now sanctioning the personnel of the ICC. The ICC dismissed these coercive measures as unprecedented, serious attacks against the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, and the rule of law more generally. The US has wantonly walked away from international treaties and organizations. As of today, it has pulled out of over 10 international agreements. The latest example is the US announcement of withdrawal from the WHO and refusal to pay membership fees. It also owes more than two billion dollars in its share of the UN budget and peacekeeping funds.

People couldn't help but wonder if the US in any way behaves like a responsible, normal major country. It is widely believed that the US has become the biggest destabilizing element to world peace and stability, and the biggest threat to international order and international rule of law. Ironically, however, policy makers and practitioners in the US are feeling so good about themselves. We hope they can come to their senses as soon as possible.

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