|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on April 7, 2021|
Xinhua News Agency: Yesterday, China released a white paper titled "Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution" to share China's experience in poverty reduction with the international community. When the world is still facing a severe poverty situation and wealth disparity is widening in some countries, what significance does China's success in poverty reduction hold to the global efforts on this front?
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday, China issued a white paper titled "Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution", which gives a comprehensive review of the course of the Chinese people's great fight in eliminating extreme poverty under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), especially since the 18th CPC National Congress. It also shares China's approach, experience and practice in poverty alleviation.
Upholding the people-centered philosophy, China has made poverty alleviation a top priority in its governance. Efforts have been made to eradicate poverty through development while giving full consideration to reality. By letting those in need play the principle role, and gathering collective strength, China has blazed a development path that suits its national conditions.
To give you an idea of China's achievement in poverty reduction, let me share with you three figures. Since the reform and opening up, China's 770 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period according to the World Bank's international poverty standard. Having achieved relevant target set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, China has enabled hundreds of millions of its people to live a better life, significantly reduced the world's poor population, and expanded the capacity of humanity to get rid of poverty. Such accomplishment is of milestone significance, and will leave its mark not only in the history of the Chinese nation but also the history of mankind.
China's experience in poverty alleviation proves that poverty is not invincible. China's approach provides inspiration and reference for solving the governance challenges in our times. China will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries in poverty reduction, and make greater contributions to building a community with a shared future that is free from poverty and features common prosperity.
Bloomberg: The US will continue to consult with allies to define common concerns and establish our shared approach, this is in relation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and that's according to the State Department spokesman Ned Price. What's the foreign ministry's response to Mr. Price's statement? Is there a concern that such discussions could lead to a full or partial boycott of the Games?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding what you just cited of the US side's remarks about the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, we've noted from media reports that the US State Department spokesperson had already offered clarifications. According to the US side, a boycott has not yet been discussed.
I stress once again that the allegation of "forced labor" in Xinjiang is the most outrageous lie of the century. We've presented the true situation in Xinjiang on multiple occasions. The wheels will come off for the US if it continues to turn a blind eye to facts and truth, and attack and malign China based on deliberate lies. This will not only hurt US reputation and interests but also meet with the resolute opposition of the Chinese people and the forceful responses from the Chinese side.
As to the so-called rhetoric about boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, I would also like to stress that politicization of sports runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter and harms the interests of all athletes as well as the international Olympic cause. The international community, including the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, will not buy it. We have every confidence that with concerted efforts, we will host an extraordinary and outstanding Olympic event in Beijing in 2022.
China Daily: The IMF on April 6 released its World Economic Outlook, projecting a 6 percent growth for the global economy in 2021 and 4.4 percent in 2022, with projections for China at 8.4 percent in 2021 and 5.6 percent in 2022. The IMF also released its Global Financial Stability Report. According to the IMF, China has re-emerged from the crisis more quickly than any other country. The measures that were taken were very quick and very effective. I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted the reports. Since the beginning of this year, with unrelenting efforts to roll out vaccination and resume economic activities in all countries, the global economy has shown signs of recovery. The IMF has projected a stronger momentum in the global economic recovery. This is a result of the active efforts of countries around the world to promote global anti-epidemic cooperation and resumption of work and production. It demonstrates the necessity and efficacy of the international community strengthening solidarity and cooperation and jointly dealing with the global crisis.
Since last year, faced with the surging pandemic and deep world economic recession, China adopted decisive and effective macro-economic policies in a timely manner and coordinated epidemic prevention and control with socioeconomic development. Thanks to these measures, China's economy was the first to overcome the crisis and rebound to pre-COVID level, which also acted as a powerful engine for world economic recovery and growth. The IMF's decision to further revise upward its forecast for China's growth also reflects the international community's recognition of China's policies and measures as well as its firm confidence in China's growth prospects.
In the meantime, we are seeing the on-going epidemic worldwide, divergent recovery paths in countries, unstable momentum of the world economic recovery, great uncertainties in development prospect and profound impact of the epidemic still growing. The international community need to forge ahead together and work for more robust, balanced and sustainable recovery and development of the world economy.
As a responsible major country, China will continue to work on both epidemic containment and economic and social development. As China has entered a new development stage, we are following the new development philosophy, formulating a new development paradigm, enhancing opening-up in an all-round way and firmly advancing high-quality development. We will work with all countries to build an open world economy and strengthen macro-economic policy coordination. Efforts will be made to enhance international cooperation on fighting the coronavirus, promote an early recovery of international economic and trade cooperation, better safeguard the smooth and stable operation of industrial and supply chains, so as to make positive contribution to world economic stability.
Global Times: On April 6, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that "when it comes to our concerns with the government in Beijing, including Beijing's egregious human rights violations, its conduct of genocide in the case of Xinjiang, that what the United States does is meaningful". Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: As we've said repeatedly, the so-called allegation of "genocide" in Xinjiang is the most preposterous lie of the century. The more diligently the US works to fabricate lies on China's human rights conditions and disguise itself as human rights defender, the more it exposes its guilty conscience burdened by its grave human rights problems at home. It can find no other way to deflect people's attention than to put the blame on others. Such ploys of trying to fool the world cannot succeed. The US has been using human rights as a fig leaf, but this has failed long ago to cover the sins it has committed, which have been inscribed in history and still manifest themselves today. Let me name a few here.
The first sin: colonialism. US history has recorded the horrific systemic ethnic cleansing and slaughter of native Indians, which constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Over nearly 100 years after the US was founded, native Indians were expelled and killed during the Westward Expansion. Their population dwindled from 5 million at the end of the 15th century to 250,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.
The second sin: racism. In the US, racism is a comprehensive, systematic and persistent existence. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(CERD) has long pointed out that African Americans face systemic racism in exercising their rights of health, employment, education and fair trial. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased by 150% since March 2020. Earlier this year, when the UN Human Rights Council was reviewing the report on the US, over 110 countries criticized the US on its human rights issues, asking the US to take concrete measures to solve systemic problems such as discrimination against minority groups.
The third sin: exporting unrest. Since 2001, the wars and military operations launched by the US in the name of fighting terrorism in about 80 countries have taken more than 800,000 lives, including 330,000 civilians, and led to displacement of tens of millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria among other countries. The "Arab Spring" that the US-led western forces helped stage has left many countries in West Asia and North Africa struggling in turmoil ever since.
The fourth sin: interventionism. For many years, hiding behind the banner of human rights over national sovereignty, the US has launched strikes against sovereign countries in defiance of UN Charter principle of respecting national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. The US has also imposed unilateral sanctions on more than a few developing countries, leading to severe humanitarian crisis. How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest? How could human rights be protected if national sovereignty is lost?
The fifth sin: double standard. The US, in sheer disregard of the reality that Xinjiang enjoys development and prosperity and the fact that the 25 million residents of all ethnic groups there live in solidarity and harmony, wantonly slapped the label of "genocide" on China based on nothing but the words of a few false witnesses. But how has the US government, who is professing such great concern over the Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang, been treating Muslims at home? After 9/11, some American cities witnessed radical behaviors including smashing and looting of mosques in Muslim communities. The Muslim group were targeted by White mobs. In 2017, the previous US administration issued the anti-Muslim ban, making the US the only country in the world to have issued a ban targeting the Muslim community specifically. A US poll showed that over 80 percent of those surveyed believe Muslims face discrimination in the US.
For too long, the US has been styling itself deceptively as a exemplary model of human rights protection while flagrantly playing with double standard and using human rights as a tool to maintain its hegemony. We urge it to let go of its arrogance and bias, review and examine its serious human rights issues, and take concrete steps to address them instead of wantonly criticizing other countries.
Reuters: Turkey summoned China's ambassador on Tuesday after the Chinese embassy said that it had the right to respond to opposition leaders in Turkey. These opposition leaders have criticized China's treatment of the Uyghurs. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: After certain individuals in Turkey blatantly endorsed terrorists on Twitter, challenged China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and even made erroneous comments openly inciting splitting China, the Chinese Embassy in Turkey stated China's solemn position at the earliest time. Its response is completely justified, reasonable and beyond reproach.
Turkey itself has long been plagued by terrorism and separatist forces. We hope people from all walks of life in Turkey could look at China's firm position to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as its counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in a rational and objective light, and join China in upholding the overall picture of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations with concrete actions.
The Paper: It has been reported that a joint allegation letter to the US government recently released by three UN human rights special rapporteurs accused the US government and military of ongoing human rights violations suffered by indigenous Chamorro people of Guam. The report expressed "serious concern over the US military buildup in the absence of adequate consultation with the Chamorro people and the associated threats to indigenous lands, resources, environmental and cultural rights." The US government has not yet given any response. Do you have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: I've taken note of relevant reports.
I've also seen reports that people born in Guam, a US overseas territory, are second-class US citizens who are not entitled to voting rights in US elections. Their homeland is viewed by the US as a military outpost in the Asia-Pacific. Land for civil use has been constantly encroached upon. One third of all territory on the island has been turned into military bases and land reclamation activities are still ongoing, gravely threatening the local tourism industry and livelihood of the indigenous inhabitants.
China is a consistent firm supporter for decolonization. We support the UN in playing its due role in this cause. The US should take a hard look at its own human rights issues and take concrete measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the indigenous residents of Guam.
AFP: The president of the Pacific island nation of Palau recently said in an interview that Palau would stick to diplomatic recognition of Taiwan over the PRC no matter what since Taiwan is a democracy. What's your comment?
Zhao Lijian: We firmly oppose the remarks you mentioned. As we know, the one-China principle is a basic norms of international relations followed by the overwhelming majority of countries.
The Foreign Ministry Special Promotion Event for Hubei Province will be held online and offline at 16:45 on Monday, April 12, 2021, at Lanting, South Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. With the theme of "Heroic Hubei: Reborn for New Glories", the event is co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People's Government of Hubei Province. Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister, will be present and address the audience. Mr. Yingyong, Secretary of Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party, Mr. Wang Xiaodong, Governor of Hubei Province and Mr. Wang Zhonglin, Secretary of Wuhan Municipal Party Committee, will make presentations of Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan city. Representatives from the Diplomatic Corps and international friends who contributed to fighting against Covid-19 in Wuhan will make remarks. This will be the first special promotion event the foreign ministry holds since the epidemic was brought under control.
In 2020, faced with a ferocious disease, Chinese people of all ethnic groups and on all fronts, united as one under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, fought hard against the epidemic, and won the battle of defending Wuhan and Hubei, and achieved major strategic outcomes. The heroic people in Wuhan and Hubei, bearing in mind the greater good, made enormous sacrifice for a national victory over COVID-19 and contributed significantly to the global COVID-19 response. In addition to demonstrating the anti-epidemic achievements of Wuhan and Hubei, this promotion event will also present a new look of all-round economic and social development in Wuhan and Hubei now that the difficult situation is behind us. It will elaborate on the new opening-up measures taken in pursuit of new development philosophy for high-quality development in Wuhan and Hubei. The event offers a good opportunity for countries around the world to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Hubei. We look forward to your attendance at and coverage of this event. For more details, please follow the notice to be posted by the Information Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.