China Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on December 4, 2019UnofficialChina December 10, 2019 0 COMMENTS
The US House of Representatives just passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. This bill deliberately smears the human rights condition in Xinjiang, slanders China’s efforts in de-radicalization and counter-terrorism and viciously attacks the Chinese government’s Xinjiang policy. It seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China is strongly indignant at and firmly opposed to it.
Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. Previously, Xinjiang suffered gravely from extremism, violence and terrorism. Faced with severe circumstances, the government of Xinjiang Autonomous Region lawfully fought violent and terrorist crimes while addressing the root causes. Our efforts include advancing de-radicalization, economic growth, ethnic solidarity, social harmony and stability.
Thanks to those efforts, Xinjiang hasn’t seen a single terrorist attack over the past three years. Those endeavors are endorsed by all 25 million people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They are also China’s contribution to the global counter-terrorism cause.
The international community speaks highly of China’s Xinjiang policy. Since the end of 2018, over 1,000 representatives have visited Xinjiang in more than 70 groups, including officials from various countries, regions and international organizations, and people from the press, religious groups and the academic circle. They acclaimed that Xinjiang’s experience in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization was worth learning from. In March this year, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation adopted a resolution which commended China’s efforts in providing care to Muslim citizens.
In July, ambassadors of over 50 countries to the UN Office at Geneva co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, applauding China’s respect and protection of human rights in its counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts. In October, at the Third Committee session of the 74th UNGA, more than 60 countries commended in their statements the tremendous human rights progress achieved in Xinjiang, China. All those are strong proof that the US accusations on Xinjiang-related issues are entirely against facts and the mainstream public opinion of the international community.
We state our position clearly to the US that as Xinjiang is part of China, its affairs are purely domestic affairs that allow no foreign interference. This US bill smears our efforts in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization, which only reveals America’s double standards on counter-terrorism and further exposes to the Chinese people its hypocrisy and malicious intentions.
The Chinese government and people are determined in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. Under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues, the US attempts to sow discord among various ethnic groups in China, undermine prosperity and stability in Xinjiang, and contain China’s growth. But its attempt will never succeed. We urge the US to correct its mistakes at once, prevent this bill from becoming law, and stop using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere China’s internal affairs. China will take further reactions according to how the situation develops.
Q: The US House of Representatives just passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 this morning. Representative Chris Smith called China’s “mass internment of millions” in Xinjiang and “modern-day concentration camps”. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called China’s treatment of Uyghurs “an outrage to the collective conscience of the world”. Do you have a comment?
A: I don’t know what you think of those US lawmakers, but I’ve heard that some of them don’t even have passports. They have never been to China, let alone Xinjiang. How can they speak for the 1.4 billion Chinese people or the 25 million people in Xinjiang? And yet they are making unwarranted allegations and false comments on Xinjiang. How arrogant!
US politicians are talking about “conscience” with China on ethnic minorities. What ignorance, what brazenness, what hypocrisy! Have they forgotten? The two-century long American history is tainted with the blood and tears of native Indians, who were originally master of the continent. Starting from the 19th century, the US army occupied millions of square kilometers of land and grabbed countless natural resources by expelling and slaughtering native Indians through the Westward Expansion.
Apart from that, the US also conducts forced assimilation of native Americans, killing, expelling and persecuting them and denying them their due civil rights. Today, they only account for 2.09 percent of the total US population. They are facing numerous difficulties, including backward infrastructure in reservations, shortage of water and electricity, lack of Internet access, unemployment, poverty, diseases and poor living conditions. Faced with all these shocking facts, can the US politicians feign ignorance? Where is their conscience?
China implements the system of ethnic regional autonomy, upholds ethnic equality and unity, respects and protects freedom of religious belief, protects normal religious activities and safeguard religious groups, religious venues, and believers’ rights in accordance with law. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy equal legal status and constitutional and lawful rights, including right to elect and be elected, to participate in management of state affairs, to use the spoken and written languages of their ethnic groups, to inherit their ethnic culture, as well as freedom of religious belief and right to education, etc.
Xinjiang-related issues are by no means about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about the fight against separatism and terrorism. Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks, elements of terrorist, separatist and extremist forces launched several thousand terrorist attacks there, causing massive casualties as well as property loss. In the “July 5” incident alone,197 people were killed and more than 1,700 injured. Borrowing international counter-terrorism experience, China started vocational education and training in Xinjiang, which is a step answering the call of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
I wonder if the US lawmakers have read the document through? Perhaps they never bother about UN resolutions or action plans. As the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism points out, poverty, unemployment, lack of job opportunities, poor education and the cynical distortion and misuse of religious beliefs, ethnic differences and political ideologies by violent extremist groups, are all backgrounds and motivations of violent extremism. The document also proposes to encourage members of violent extremist groups to leave such groups by providing them with educational and economic opportunities as well as vocational training resources.
To this end, many countries have set up de-radicalization centers and education transformation centers. Some countries have developed both in-prison and community-based education transformation of terrorists and high-vulnerability groups. In the UK, the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) makes it mandatory for all terrorism-related offenders to receive training. There are also segregation units in prison to prevent the spread of radical violent terrorism.
As has been proven, the measures taken in Xinjiang are useful exploration of the UN action plan. The security situation there has significantly improved, with not a single terror attack for three years. The preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts have not only gained the support of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, but also received international recognition. The US should also recognize and learn from China’s effective measures instead of discrediting them.
The US is being selectively forgetful of its brutality towards the American Indians and turning a blind eye to their past pain and present misery. However, it is slandering China’s successful ethnic policy, in particular our Xinjiang policy, in an attempt to sow discord in ethnic relations, undermine Xinjiang’s prosperity and stability, and contain China’s development. This only further exposes to the world the US’ double standards on counter-terrorism, its hypocrisy and malicious intentions.
After all, the 25 million people in Xinjiang and the 1.4 billion Chinese people are in the best position to say how the situation in Xinjiang is. The US lawmakers cannot even represent the interests of all American people. How can they speak for the Chinese people or the people in Xinjiang? What makes them think they can judge us?
In recent years, the US used human rights and counter-terrorism as a cover to wage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, killing millions of innocent civilians and turning more into displaced refugees. Such acts in total contempt of people’s right to life and development are a real “outrage to the collective conscience of the world”! Terrorism and extremism are common enemies of human beings. Counter-terrorism and de-radicalization is the shared responsibility of the international community.
It hasn’t been long since the September 11 attacks. The US should not forget the pain as wounds heal. If it continues to play with double standards or even infringe upon other countries’ sovereignty and security, it will end up swallowing a bitter fruit with its own interests harmed.
I just heard AP and others are broadcasting this press conference live. I would like to ask a favor. Please convey to the American people this message. Do you know what ordinary Chinese people think of this stupid bill the US Congress just passed? This is what they say: the US messed up Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Syria, then Yemen. Now it is trying to mess up China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong. This is only wishful thinking and a pipe dream. It will never succeed. I do hope you will let the American people hear the Chinese people’s voice. It would be much appreciated.
Q: Following up on this Xinjiang-related bill. We’ve seen that President Trump said yesterday that he would not mind delaying a trade deal with China until after the election next year. Also we saw that last week, he signed into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. And then this week there’s this movement on this Xinjiang-related act. From China’s perspective, do you think there is connection between the US government’s trade and human rights policies?
A: If you want to know what the US is thinking and planning to do, you should ask US officials. What I can say for China is that our position is consistent and clear, and we always honor our word.
On the trade issue, we hold that only a mutually-beneficial agreement acceptable to both reached on the basis of equality and mutual respect will last and serve the interests of the two peoples.
With regard to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, we have also stated the Chinese government’s solemn position repeatedly. No one should underestimate the Chinese government’s resolve and ability to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. Your question brings to my mind many media comments and suggestions. It feels like people can no longer sit and watch what the US is doing, and so are calling on us to take stronger measures in response.
Please rest assured. As I just said, the Chinese government has the resolve and ability to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. Attempts to contain China with Hong Kong or Xinjiang issues will prove to be nothing but day-dreaming.
Q: Will the passage of this bill from the US House of Representatives have any impact on the phase one trade deal and its timeline?
A: If the US takes measures that harm China’s interests, it must pay the price. Besides, there is no way this won’t affect bilateral relations and cooperation in important areas.
Q: Could you expand a little on what you mean that the US will pay the price and what areas will be affected? Yesterday Global Times’ editor-in-chief tweeted about China considering imposing visa restrictions on US officials with odious performance on Xinjiang and maybe banning US diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang. Now that the bill is passed, would you be able to provide more information?
A: As I just said, we note the numerous speculation and interpretation in Chinese and US media. Many people just cannot sit and watch the US hegemonic acts, which are unreasonable, wrong and foolish. They have also offered suggestions. We appreciate that. Please rest assured. The Chinese government is fully capable of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. As to what actions will be taken, please stay tuned as the price will be paid eventually.
Q: According to reports, US leader said China has become very powerful largely with US money. What’s your comment?
A: How ridiculous! Is any country on earth capable of rebuilding China with money? Isn’t it absurd? China’s achievement is neither a windfall nor made with others’ alms-giving and charity, but earned by the Chinese people with diligence, wisdom and courage. If anyone fails to see this point, I shall say they indeed need more education.
I want to point out that since 1987 when China started keeping statistics on foreign investment, the country has cumulatively utilized foreign investment of more than 2 trillion US dollars. Investment from the United States was over 80 billion US dollars, accounting for only around 4 percent. But the US has gained huge profits from its cooperation with China, with so many American households’ living costs largely lowered thanks to Chinese goods and so many businesses gaining lucrative profits.
Of all surveyed US companies, 97 percent say they have made profits doing business with China. According to a report by the US-China Business Council, US exports to China alone support over 1.1 million jobs in the US. In 2017, General Motors lost 11 billion RMB in global markets but gained nearly 13.4 billion RMB in profits from two joint ventures in China. Qualcomm’s sales in China accounted for 58 percent of its global revenue. How many American businesses China has fed and fattened up! Just do the math.
[Source: Consulate General of the PRC]