|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 12, 2019|
Q: A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on November 11 that the US condemned "unjustified use of deadly force" in the latest Hong Kong violence and that "Hong Kong police and civilians alike have a responsibility to de-escalate and avoid violent confrontations". British Prime Minister's Office urged all sides to be calm and exercise restraint, saying the Prime Minister supports the right to peaceful protests and they want to see "the Hong Kong authorities agree a path to resolve this situation". What's your comment?
A: The Chief Executive and police of the Hong Kong SAR have already responded to the incident yesterday where a masked man assaulted the police and was shot.
If you watch through the video clip, you will see clearly that the rioters assaulted the police first and the officer's response was fully lawful. It cannot be more obvious who was right and who was wrong. No matter which country you are in, you will never be allowed to assault police officers on duty, to grab their firearms and to threaten their safety. In addition, such attempts will be dealt with strong police force. I would like to ask US and British officials, how did their police react to similar scenarios?
There is another incident on the very same day in Hong Kong where rioters set ablaze a civilian who publicly expressed a view different from theirs. Such a hair-raising act has caused terror and anxiety among Hong Kong citizens. If the US and the UK truly oppose violence and call for restraint as they claim, why aren't they condemning such a heinous attack against a civilian?
The US official refused to be named. I'm afraid he or she could only utter such remarks under the mask of anonymity. The pretense of impartiality by the US and the UK only reveals how they confuse right and wrong and how hypocritical they are. Such verbal justice exposes their double standards and ulterior motives.
I must stress once again that ending violence and restoring order is the paramount task, the broadest consensus and the strongest appeal in Hong Kong at this point. The central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with law and the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing law, maintaining social order and protecting citizens. We urge the US and the UK to earnestly respect China's sovereignty, exercise prudence on Hong Kong-related issues and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any means.
Q: The World Bank said yesterday that it would cut funding to certain schools in Xinjiang in light of a report that says some of the schools have bought barbed wire and body armor. Do you have any comment on this decision?
A: You have read the World Bank statement, right?
I'm afraid your citation is rather partial.
With the active collaboration of the Chinese side, the World Bank recently conducted on-site review of the Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project. It has found that the project complies completely with World Bank policies and that the problems certain media claimed are non-existent at all.
The facts show that the implementation of the project promoted local vocational education development and cultivated many skilled personnel. The World Bank statement reflects objectively the implementation of the project by laying out the facts, which is a strong refutation of the so-called allegations.
Regarding the technical adjustments you mentioned, I believe they are out of practical reasons and aimed at improving management and cutting supervision costs.
As is clearly set out in the statement, at the suggestion of the World Bank, the scope and footprint of the project is being adjusted and the project component that involves the partner schools is being closed. Prior to that, the World Bank had held consultations with the Chinese side and the two agreed to implement the specific adjustments as soon as possible.
I want to repeat that the World Bank statement has clarified the truth and very clearly refuted some earlier media allegations.
Q: The Russian presidential aide said yesterday that, through video link, President Putin and President Xi will jointly initiate the East-Route natural gas pipeline in December. Can you confirm this?
A: The China-Russia East-Route natural gas pipeline, a major strategic project for bilateral energy cooperation, is a project the two presidents agreed on and granted personal attention to. It is of great significance to deepening all-round cooperation between the two countries and advance integration of our interests.
With the concerted efforts of the two sides, the project is scheduled to begin operating in December this year. There will be celebratory events to mark this important occasion. We will release information in a timely manner. Please follow up on that.
Q: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on November 11 issued its latest quarterly report on verification and monitoring in Iran. On the same day, the foreign ministers of France, the UK and Germany along with the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said in a joint statement that they are extremely concerned by Iran's decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordow plant and affirmed their readiness to consider all mechanisms in the JCPOA nuclear deal, including the dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve the issues related to Iran's implementation of its commitments. What's your comment?
A: We noted the IAEA report and the joint statement by the European side. It is China's consistent belief that the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and maximum pressure campaign against Iran are the root cause of the current crisis. The US should quit such wrong behavior to make room for diplomatic efforts and create conditions for de-escalation.
In the meantime, parties including the European side and Iran should exercise restraint, remain committed to full and effective implementation of the agreement, and resolve differences within the JCPOA framework. China supports the IAEA in fulfilling its duty in an objective and impartial manner and will continue to work with other parties for the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.