|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 3, 2020|
CCTV: We noted that General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out while presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau on November 30 that China should deeply take part in the global intellectual property governance within the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Does China have any plans or measures for its role in this regard going forward?
Hua Chunying: The Chinese government attaches high importance to intellectual property protection, which is required by our implementation of the new development philosophy, fostering a new development paradigm and advancing high-quality development. In recent years, China has been proactively implementing the strategy of innovation-driven development and the intellectual property strategy, establishing the awareness that protecting intellectual property is protecting innovation. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Chinese government has given higher priority to intellectual property protection. The terms of "science and technology" and "innovation" have been mentioned many times in the communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC, and the Proposal of the plenum made clear stipulations on strengthening IP protection.
After years of endeavor, China has achieved historic progress in protecting IPR. In the first 10 months of this year, the number of invention patent applications in China reached 1.232 million, up 11.2 percent year on year. China also saw 55,000 applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty System accepted, up 23.5 percent year on year. Both achieved positive growth despite the impact of the epidemic. China moved upward to the 14th place in the innovation ranking of 131 economies over the past five years, taking science and technology innovation as the primary driving force of national development.
China has taken an active part in international cooperation in the field of intellectual property rights and made positive contributions to the balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of global intellectual property rights. China will adhere to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and the principles of openness, inclusiveness, balance and universal benefits, strengthen cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other countries, deeply engage in global intellectual property governance, and work together to make the global IPR governance system more just and equitable.
Bloomberg: The New York Times is reporting that the United States will tighten visa rules for China Communist Party members. These rules are set to take effect from Wednesday and from what the report says, it would limit entry to the United States to a single entry and for a period of one month. What is the foreign minister's response?
Hua Chunying: I haven't read the latest report you mentioned. Previously it was revealed that the United States may impose restrictions on CPC members' entry. The world sees very clearly that this is an escalation of political suppression against China by some extremist anti-China forces in the United States out of strong ideological bias and deep-seated Cold-War mentality. China firmly opposes such practice. Instead of serving the interests of the United States, it will only further weaken or damage the country's self-claimed image of confidence and openness as well as systemic advantages. China urges the U.S. government to view China and China's development in a more rational, calm and impartial manner, and reject their hatred and distorted sentiments towards the CPC. We hope they can work with China to enhance the correct understanding of each other through dialogue and communication, and jointly push for the sound and stable development of China-U.S. relations. This is the only way that serves the fundamental and long-term interests of both Chinese and American people and meets the common aspiration of the international community.
Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department said that over 1,000 Chinese researchers have left the United States amid a U.S. crackdown on alleged technology theft. The Department also said Chinese agents are stepping up attempts to influence Biden team. What's your comment on this?
Hua Chunying: For some in the United States, whenever they look around, they see hatred, division and confrontation. For some time, out of strong ideological bias and a strategy to contain China, the United States has launched various political oppressive campaigns against China, including taking extreme measures to suppress and cut off normal bilateral people-to-people exchange, as well as arbitrary harassment, persecution and oppression against experts and scholars in the United States. It has greatly impacted China-U.S. personnel exchange and cooperation in all fields including science and technology, culture, and education. The U.S. authorities even asked regional judicial authorities to report China's "espionage" behaviors on a regular basis and launch at least one or two prosecutions against China every year. Such a "presumption of guilt" is absurd. China firmly rejects the U.S. actions which are scarcely supported. We hope it can uphold a rational and impartial attitude, correct mistakes and create favorable conditions for normal personnel exchange with China. There is a Chinese saying to the effect that "The eye sees what the mind believes." We hope the U.S. will denounce the narrow-minded, extreme thinking and stop regarding everyone as spies.
China is open to the world. We welcome travels, exchanges and cooperation by people from the United States and around the world. We are a confident, open country that is ready for communication. Why is the United States, a self-claimed powerful "democracy", being so unconfident when it comes to normal exchanges with China? We hope those in the United States can calm down and take it as food for thought.
Global Times: The US Department of State attacked China's policy of military-civilian integration on Twitter on December 2. US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach retweeted that the same day and commented that "China's Military-Civil Fusion is one reason why I wrote a letter to the Governing Boards of U.S. universities about a serious threat from the Chinese Communist Party to their academic freedom, university endowments, research, and intellectual property." Do you have any response to this?
Hua Chunying: China has repeatedly stated its position on this issue. For political purposes, the United States has clung to narrow-minded Cold-War thinking, deliberately underscored ideological factors, and used every possible opportunity to publicly distort and discredit China's policy of military-civilian integration. They've viciously attacked the Communist Party of China in its utmost effort to contain China's development. To this end, the US has gone even further to employ moral hijack, political pressure and threat of sanctions against Chinese and American businesses and researchers. China deplores and rejects this.
It is a customary international practice to promote integrated military and civilian development. It is no exception for the US, where this practice dates back to before WWI. In recent years, it has been pursuing all-dimensional integration in various sectors at an even faster pace. Some American multinational companies like Lockheed Martin are the result of "military-civil fusion" themselves, with business operations and products covering both ends. The US allegation against China is typical double standards by forbidding others to do what it is doing itself. Its true purpose is to create excuses to justify a hi-tech blockage against China. It goes against the spirit of international cooperation and the trend of the times and will eventually damage the interests of China, the US and the whole world. We urge the US to immediately correct its erroneous words and deeds, and stop malicious provocations and denigration against China.
Associated Press of Pakistan: According to reports, the Afghan government and Taliban representatives have reached a preliminary deal in Doha to press on with peace talks. This is the first time for the two parties to reach an agreement in 19 years. I wonder if you have any comment on that?
Hua Chunying: China welcomes and applauds the progress in intra-Afghan talks. It has been the Afghan people's aspiration to realize peace and stability at an early date. After so many years of war, the Afghan people deserve a more peaceful, stable and wonderful future. We hope both sides of the Afghan peace talks will put the nation and people first, act on the people's will, meet each other halfway and reach consensus on peace as soon as possible. China will continue working with the international community to play a constructive role in this process.
Bloomberg: Chinese social media platform WeChat has deleted a post by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of misleading Internet users. Do you have a comment on the deletion?
Hua Chunying: I'm not aware of it. What you asked about is a matter between the WeChat company and Prime Minister Morrison. WeChat deals with business affairs following its rules.
Shenzhen TV: Recently, the U.S. Department of State's Asia Pacific Media Hub in Manila held a telephonic press briefing, saying that the PRC is ranked as the worst IUU fishing offender in the Pacific, or the "illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing" problem, plundering the basic livelihood resources of the countries in the region and threatening their stability, food security and economic development and the basic international order. What is China's comment on this?
Hua Chunying: For some time the US State Department has been serving as a manufacturer of lies and loudspeaker for rumors. What you mentioned in your question is just another lie that it manufactured and spread.
As a responsible fishing country, China adheres to the path of green and sustainable development, the science-based conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources, and the sustainable development of global fishing industries. We have "zero tolerance" for violations of relevant laws and regulations committed by distant fishing vessels. We have long been in close communication and cooperation with countries in the region and are committed to preserving the production order of marine fisheries and marine ecological environment.
China strictly implements the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and multilateral fishing agreements to which it is a party. We have fully fulfilled flag state obligations, observed port state measures, placed strict supervision and control on distant water fisheries, strengthened international cooperation, and done a great deal of fruitful work in jointly combating illegal fishing and promoting the sustainable development of fishery resources with other countries. China's practice of fishery management is fully consistent with the requirements of international law. China strictly complies with the management of relevant Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in conducting fishing in the relevant high seas, and the vessel position monitoring and other measures taken by the Chinese side are stricter than international standards. Our compliance record is spoken highly of by all fisheries organizations. As per bilateral arrangements with the coastal states concerned, China conducts fishing activities in their exclusive economic zones, which has produced good economic and social results.
Recently, the competent Chinese authority issued a white paper on its distant water fishing compliance which gives a comprehensive account of China's principled stance, policy measures and compliance results in distant water fisheries management.
Facts speak louder than words. The US baseless accusations deliberately bent international law and relevant multilateral fisheries agreements. Its politicization of the IUU issue disrupts the global efforts to crack down on IUU practices and undermines international cooperation to protect the marine environment and promote sustainable fisheries. We urge the US side to stop spreading rumors on these issues, quit its political manipulation, and stop trying to drive a wedge between countries.
CCTV: China and Russia held the 25th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian prime ministers yesterday. What is the significance of the meeting to the development of China-Russia relations under the current situation?
Hua Chunying: On December 2, Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin co-chaired the 25th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian prime ministers via video link. The meeting was a great success. The two sides comprehensively reviewed and summarized the fruitful achievements of China-Russia cooperation in the fields of anti-epidemics, trade, investment, energy, and people-to-people exchanges over the past year, and made strategic plans for actively expanding new areas of cooperation and elevating the level of cooperation. After the meeting, the prime ministers of the two countries jointly announced the adoption of a joint communique for the 25th regular meeting between the prime ministers of China and Russia.
China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination. Since the beginning of this year, the two sides have maintained the stable development of bilateral relations despite the impact of the pandemic. President Xi Jinping spoke to President Putin four times over phone, which offered important and strategic guidance for the development of bilateral relations. The two sides have been working side by side to fight the pandemic, deepening political mutual trust, firmly supporting each other on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns, strengthening strategic coordination, and showing strong resilience in mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.
China attaches great importance to its strategic relationship of coordination with Russia. Both China and Russia have strong political will to further strengthen strategic communication and coordination to move forward epidemic containment and pragmatic cooperation in parallel, and at the same time strengthen strategic communication on major international and regional issues and make joint efforts so that the development of China-Russia relations can contribute to the development of our respective countries and world peace, stability and security.
China News Service: Australian defense chief Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday that Australia and the United States will build and test hypersonic missiles in a bid to counter the threats of China and Russia which are developing similar weapons. What's China's comment?
Hua Chunying: China noticed reports on this. The United States has been leading global efforts in developing hypersonic weapons, directly aggravating the momentum of arms race in this category and severely undermining global strategic stability. Australia follows suit and fabricated excuses like "the China threat" and "the Russia threat" trying to justify its arms expansion, which adds instability to regional and even global security. China is concerned about it.
China always pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature. Our military development doesn't target any specific country. We don't have a global strategy and plans of military operations like the United States does. We don't intend to make Australia our target. And we are not at all interested in having an arms race with other countries.
China urges Australia to review its security interest needs in an objective manner, enhance trust between regional countries, and contribute to regional security and stability instead of doing the opposite.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Speaking at the 11th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum in Macao, Chairman of CPEC Authority said that infrastructure and construction will be a key to reviving jobs market and national economies. He also said that about a dozen major projects under CPEC were proceeding as scheduled. What is your response?
Hua Chunying: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and significant progress has been made in the past seven years or so. Most outcomes are achieved in the fields of transport infrastructure and energy. A large number of highways and power stations have been built and lots of jobs created, strongly boosting the economic development of the relevant regions in Pakistan, which has benefited the Pakistani people and thus warmly welcomed and positively appraised by them. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, various CPEC projects have persisted in not evacuating people, not laying off workers, and not stopping construction, which has provided strong support for Pakistan to fight the epidemic and stabilize the economy. At present, the two sides are actively preparing for the 10th CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee meeting to plan for the future CPEC development.
Both the Chinese and Pakistani governments attach great importance to CPEC projects. China is willing to make joint efforts with Pakistan to fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. While completing and operating well existing projects, China is willing to further focus on cooperation in the fields of social wellbeing, livelihoods, industry and agriculture so the CPEC will stand as a shining example of high-quality BRI cooperation and deliver more benefits to people in the two countries and other countries in the region.
Reuters: The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it will block imports of cotton and cotton products originating from Xinjiang, saying it uses forced labor of Uyghur Muslims. What is your comment? Will China take any countermeasures?
Hua Chunying: China has previously stated its solemn position on the relevant issue. Some US politicians have concocted disinformation of so-called "forced labor" in order to restrict and oppress relevant parties and enterprises in China as well as contain China's development. The US practice violates the international trade rules and market economy principles, destroys the global industrial chains and supply chains, and damages the interests of enterprises and consumers in various countries, including the United States. This is a typical act of hurting others' interests while diminishing one's own. We urge some U.S. politicians to respect basic facts and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang. China will continue taking essential measures to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of relevant parties and companies in China.
It must be pointed out that helping people of all ethnic groups secure stable employment is entirely different from "forced labor". According to the Forced Labor Convention of the International Labor Organization, the term "forced labor" means all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily". All ethnic groups in Xinjiang choose their occupations according to their own will and sign "labor contracts" of their own volition in accordance with law on the basis of equality. They will not be discriminated against because of their ethnicity, gender or religious belief. Governments at all levels in Xinjiang fully respect the will of ethnic minority people in their employment choices and provide training for those who wish to improve the skills needed for employment. According to the Investigation Report on Employment of Ethnic Minorities in Xinjiang, 86.5% of the labor force in four surveyed villages are willing to work outside their hometown, which indicates that the ethnic minorities have a strong willingness of voluntarily going out for jobs. By the end of 2019, a total of 2.9232 million people in Xinjiang had been lifted out of poverty, and the incidence of poverty had fallen from 19.4 percent in 2014 to 1.24 percent. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are leading a happy and fulfilling life, after shaking off poverty and with their livelihoods bettered. Their smiles are the most powerful refutation to rumors and lies about their home.
On the one hand, these US politicians claim to be concerned about the rights of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and act as if they are their protectors, but on the other hand, they resort to pressure, sanctions and other means to suppress Xinjiang's enterprises and disturb Xinjiang's stability, development and prosperity. How is that different from depriving people in Xinjiang of their lawful right to pursue a better life through labor? Don't they intend to cause "forced unemployment" and "forced poverty" in Xinjiang? These U.S. politicians are exceptionally enthusiastic about Xinjiang affairs, but indifferent to the inequality, high poverty rate, systematic racial discrimination and police brutality suffered by ethnic minorities in the US. In terms of protecting the rights of ethnic minorities at home, why aren't they chanting "America First"?
CCTV: We noticed that yesterday, China released the information that President Xi Jinping's special representative, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the special session of the UN General Assembly in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. What are China's expectations for this special session?
Hua Chunying: The COVID-19 pandemic, wreaking havoc all around the world, has deeply affected the development of the human society this year. Faced with a new round of the pandemic, we shoulder more difficult tasks of fighting the virus, protecting people's livelihoods and stabilizing the economy. The international community expects bigger role of the UN to deal with the challenge more effectively. The UNGA special session is important in this context. China will work with all parties to send out strong signals of upholding multilateralism and solidarity against the virus.
Reuters: The US House of Representatives passed an act on Wednesday aimed at removing Chinese companies from US stock exchanges for not complying with auditing oversight rules. What is China's comment? Will China retaliate?
Hua Chunying: I stated our principled position the other day on the US House of Representatives passing the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. What the US is doing is no other than another concrete example of its political suppression of Chinese companies in a bid to contain China's development.
China, as always, believes that in today's highly globalized capital market, the right way to solve problems is to enhance dialogue and cooperation among relevant parties in a candid manner on issues such as strengthening cross-border regulatory cooperation and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of investors. We firmly reject politicizing securities regulation. If the bill is finally enacted, it will seriously erode the confidence of global investors in the US capital market, which will end up as severely undermining the international status of the US capital market and harming the US own interests. We hope the US side will grasp the situation and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies to invest and operate in the US, instead of trying to set up various barriers. The Chinese side will certainly take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests.
Prasar Bharati: First question, regarding China's plan to build a huge dam near the LAC with India, did China inform India and Bangladesh about its plans as they are lower riparian states? If not at this stage of planning, then at what stage China will consult lower riparian states like India and Bangladesh? Second question, regarding a Chinese study which claimed that the coronavirus might have emerged in the Indian subcontinent, the study has been withdrawn from the pre-print platform of The Lancet. Does the ministry have any comments on this?
Hua Chunying: With regard to the first question, it is China's legitimate right to carry out hydropower station development in the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. China has always held a responsible attitude towards the development and utilization of cross-border rivers and adopted the policy of simultaneously developing and protecting cross-border rivers. Any project we undertake will go through scientific planning and research and we fully consider the impact on the downstream areas, taking into account the interests of both the upstream and the downstream. At present, the development of a hydropower station at the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River is still in the early planning and research stage, and there is no need to read too much into it.
For a long time, China has carried out good cooperation with India and Bangladesh in flood reporting, flood control, disaster relief, and emergency management. China will maintain communication with India and Bangladesh through existing channels.
With regard to the second question, we have seen and heard many reports that keep updating the location and time for the outbreak of COVID-19. Researchers in various countries are conducting scientific studies. These facts confirm that tracing the source of the virus is a complex scientific matter which requires scientists to carry out international scientific research and cooperation on a global scale, so that we can have a better understanding of the virus' animal hosts and the way it spreads, better prevent possible risks in the future and protect people of all countries.
China will continue to actively participate in the global scientific research on the traceability and transmission of the virus, and will work with all parties concerned to make our positive contributions to global virus research and anti-epidemic cooperation.
Follow-up: Regarding the dam, will you consult India and Bangladesh going forward regarding the further development and course of action?
Hua Chunying: At present, the relevant project is still in the early stage of planning and research. China will continue to communicate with India, Bangladesh and other relevant countries through existing channels.