|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 3, 2021|
China has officially joined COVAX and is in close communication with the WHO and other sponsors of the plan, working together to make vaccines a global public good and make them more accessible and affordable to developing countries.
We attach great importance to Director-General Tedros' call to vaccinate priority populations in all nations within the first 100 days of this year. We also attach great importance to the difficulties facing the practical implementation of COVAX, in particular the huge vaccine supply gap in February and March.
At the request of the WHO, China has decided to provide 10 million doses of vaccines to COVAX, mainly to meet the urgent need in developing countries. This is another important measure taken by China to promote equitable distribution of vaccines, advance international cooperation in fighting the pandemic, and apply the vision of a community of common health for mankind.
The WHO has started to review emergency use authorization for Chinese vaccines. The Chinese companies involved will continue to offer their close coordination. We hope that the WHO will finish the review process as soon as possible.
We hope that countries, with the capacity to do so, will take actions to actively support COVAX and the work of the WHO, help developing countries access vaccines in a timely manner, and make their due contributions to mankind's early victory over the pandemic.
CCTV: The poll released by the Asia Society yesterday found 56% of respondents wanted cooperation with China on climate change, seeing it as more important than all other issues, including COVID-19, and 69% of voters believed if China takes more action to address climate change then the United States should follow suit. US voters were particularly supportive of cooperation on clean energy technologies, with 52% saying partnering with China to increase its development would be beneficial to the U.S. economy. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted this poll result.
China announced a serious of policies on climate change last year, putting forward the goal of striving to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060 and four new measures to enhance its nationally determined contribution targets. All this demonstrates China's firm resolution in tackling climate change and building a community with a shared future for mankind, and also constitutes China's new contributions to the the global efforts against climate change.
Climate change is a global challenge. China and the United States share broad common interests and great space for cooperation in addressing climate change. Facts have proven, and will continue to prove that China-US cooperation can accomplish many great things that benefit both countries and the world at large. China and the United States once conducted fruitful cooperation in this area, and our joint efforts were constructive in the conclusion, signing and entry into force of the Paris Agreement, making a major contribution to multilateralism. China welcomes the U.S. announcement of its return to the Paris Agreement and hopes it will work with China to promote the full and effective implementation of the agreement, build a win-win, fair and reasonable climate governance system, and contribute to the global low-carbon transformation and green post-pandemic recovery.
Nippon TV: Today, the WHO experts visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology. US Secretary of State Blinken said that China lacks transparency in relevant arrangements for the WHO experts. I know you have answered a similar question yesterday. What kind of discussions have been held between the two sides there?
Wang Wenbin: As the WHO officials said at yesterday's press conference, the team of experts had productive discussions with the Chinese side and visited hospitals, markets and the Wuhan CDC. Relevant work is progressing smoothly. Today, the team also visits the Wuhan Institute of Virology and has a discussion with experts from Huazhong Agricultural University. These activities are an important part of the origin-tracing exchanges and cooperation between the two sides.
It should be pointed out that tracing the origin of the virus is a complex scientific issue and we need to offer ample space for scientists to do their work. China will, as always, maintain an open, transparent and responsible attitude, continue to cooperate with the WHO and make its own contribution to better prevent future risks and protect the safety and health of people around the world.
Nippon TV: Last year, then President Trump said that the WIV was the source of the virus. The Chinese government has repeatedly refuted this claim, and the WHO expert team visited there. Has the Chinese side presented any relevant evidence?
Wang Wenbin: I answered your question just now. I can stress again that the pandemic shall not be exploited to stigmatize others. Origin-tracing is a scientific issue, and we need to provide sufficient space for experts to conduct scientific research. At the same time, we also hope that like China, all parties will adopt a positive and science-base attitude towards close cooperation with WHO.
China News Service: According to reports, the scientists and the Civil Rights Alliance led by Majority Senator Susan Lee of the U.S. Senate of Maryland and Terry Lierman of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland wrote to the Chairman of the Committee on Civil Rights and Freedoms of the U.S. House of Representatives Jamie Ruskin, asking him to hold a hearing on the US Department of Justice's investigation of Chinese scientists in recent years and called for the end of the "China Initiative". What is China's comment?
Wang Wenbin: The so-called "China Initiative" launched by the Justice Department of the previous US administration in 2018 is a pure political exercise based on presumption of guilt and meant to meet an artificially set caseload target. It goes against the spirit of the rule of law advocated by the US itself, and will be condemned and resisted by clear-eyed people from all sectors of the US. We urge the relevant US department to listen to the objective and rational voice of its own people, discard the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, correct its wrong practices, stop abusing judicial power to disturb and suppress Chinese students and researchers in the US, and provide favorable conditions for normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the US in scientific, technological, cultural and other fields.
Xinhua News Agency: The Tibet Autonomous Region and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly held an online seminar on ecological environment protection under the Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation. Could you share more information?
Wang Wenbin: On February 2, the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-hosted the online seminar on ecological environment protection under the Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation. CPC Secretary Wu Yingjie and Chairman Qizhala of the Tibet Autonomous Region delivered remarks. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attended and addressed the opening ceremony. We have released a readout on this.
China takes an active part in global environment governance including climate change and bio-diversity. Chinese leaders attended the international climate summits convened recently. President Xi Jinping announced solemnly that China will enhance its nationally determined contribution targets and strive for the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. After that, he announced the specific measures China will take to achieve these goals, demonstrating China's climate ambition and resolution to pursue green and low-carbon development and boosting global confidence in climate governance. Countries around the Himalayan region, with a big population and huge market, historical and cultural affinity, rich resources and energy, and highly-complementary economies, can do a lot to expand friendly exchange and practical cooperation. It is our hope that countries, especially those with close economic, trade, cultural and historical ties with the Himalayan region, will attach greater emphasis to and invest more into the forum, where cooperation in a broad range of areas including ecological governance can be discussed to explore unique fields and create new opportunities.
Delegates attending the seminar called on all countries to work together for win-win cooperation and effectively advance the global climate governance process through exchange, dialogue and multilateral mechanisms.
Reuters: According to testimonies in a report by the BBC, women in Xinjiang's re-education camps are subject to systematic sexual abuse and torture. Do you have any comment on this report?
Wang Wenbin: I hope you have noted that the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region held the third special press conference in Beijing not too long ago. I want to say that this is not the first time that the BBC has made some false reports on Xinjiang, and each time we refuted false claim and cleared out the situation. I must stress that so far, the Chinese side has published eight Xinjiang-related white papers, and the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has held more than 20 press conferences, showing with detailed figures and examples that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang live in peace and contentment, unity and harmony, and that all their legal rights are effectively guaranteed. In recent years, more than 1,200 diplomats, journalists and representatives of religious groups from more than 100 countries have visited Xinjiang. They witnessed with their own eyes the unity, harmony, joy and peace of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
The BBC report on alleged abuses of women's rights in Xinjiang you mentioned has no factual basis at all. There are simply no "re-education camps". Some of the interviewees in previous reports turned out to be actors spreading false information. I'd like to share some more facts about Xinjiang with you here. In July 2019, more than 50 countries' permanent representatives in Geneva sent a joint letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights commending China's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts and protection of human rights. In October 2019, over 60 countries spoke at a Third Committee session of the 74th UNGA applauding the tremendous progress in Xinjiang's human rights cause. In July 2020, 46 countries delivered a joint address at the 44th session of the UNHRC in support of China's position, practice and progress on issues relating to Xinjiang. In October 2020, nearly 50 countries recognized the measures China has taken in Xinjiang when the Third Committee of the 75th UNGA was reviewing relevant issues. Also in October 2020, 20 Arab states' diplomats in China and Arab League delegates visited Xinjiang. After the trip, they all spoke highly of the region's progress in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization, protection of religious freedom, promotion of economic growth and livelihood.
We hope relevant media will acknowledge the facts and stop the baseless vilification of China on Xinjiang-related issues.
Global Times: Regarding the issue about T-shirts with bat image and "Wuhan" letters on it that were ordered by a member of staff from the Canadian embassy. A spokesperson for Canada's foreign services said it was a misunderstanding, and that the T-shirt logo is an emblem of American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and "is not intended to represent a bat", and it was created for the team of embassy staff working on the repatriation of Canadians from Wuhan. What is your comment? Has that matter been cleared up satisfactorily in China's view?
Wang Wenbin: "Misunderstanding" is an alibi that we simply cannot accept. Some mainstream media have also acknowledged that the custom T-shirt has bat-like emblem on it. It is beyond our belief that senior diplomats who have been working and living in China for years could make such a stupid mistake inadvertently.
Serious damages have been done by such wrong actions. The Chinese people also find this very repulsive and difficult to accept. The Canadian side should take it seriously and give us a clear explanation.
AFP: Some campaign groups issued an open letter today, calling on world leaders to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: As we said before, Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be another significant contribution China makes to the Olympic Movement. All winter games lovers are looking forward to taking part in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. All preparation work for the games are well underway, which have won full recognition from the international community including the IOC. We are fully confident that the Beijing Winter Olympics will be a splendid event.
In the meantime, I must point out that it is highly irresponsible for some parties to try to disrupt, intervene and sabotage the preparation and holding of Beijing Winter Olympic Games to serve their political interests. Such actions will not be supported by the international community and will never succeed.
Kyodo News Agency: Yesterday, the UN Security Council held a meeting on the situation in Myanmar. What kind of solution did China put forward at the meeting?
Wang Wenbin: On February 2, the Security Council held closed-door discussions on the situation in Myanmar. China played a constructive role in the discussions. China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar. We hope that all parties in Myanmar will put the aspiration and interests of the people first, properly handle differences through dialogue within the constitutional and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability. The international community should create a sound external environment for Myanmar to properly resolve the differences. All actions taken by the Security Council should be conducive to Myanmar's political and social stability, peace and reconciliation, and avoid exacerbating tensions or further complicating the situation.
At the same time, China is also baffled and shocked by the leak of internal documents under discussion at the Security Council. This is not how the Security Council runs its day-to-day work, nor will it be conducive to the solidarity of and mutual trust between Security Council members.
China Daily: The Federal Court in Australia on February 2 issued a verdict which found that Chinese-Australian businessman Chau Chak Wing was defamed by the ABC and Nine as well as Nick McKenzie, and they were ordered to pay him $590,000 in damages and remove relevant parts of episodes and articles. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. I want to stress once again that the Chinese side develops relations with other countries based on the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. Over a period of time, certain Australian media outlets and journalist have been obsessed with hyping up baseless allegations of China's "interference" and "infiltration" activities in Australia to unscrupulously sling mud at China and undermine China-Australia relations. Their credibility has already been totally bankrupted. We urge certain Australian media to observe professional ethics, discard ideological bias and stop making irresponsible remarks on China.
The Paper: Some say the political change in Myanmar may have taken place with China's support or acquiescence. Do you have any response?
Wang Wenbin: Such allegation is untrue. China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar. We hope that all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability.
Bloomberg: Several House Republicans are asking their Senate counterparts to delay the confirmation of Gina Raimondo for Commerce Secretary until President Joe Biden clarifies whether he supports keeping Huawei Technologies Co. on a restricted trade list. I wonder if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side has repeatedly made clear its solemn position on the U.S. oppression of Chinese companies. The previous U.S. administration and some anti-China politicians, in order to maintain the U.S. monopoly and hegemony in science and technology, abused state power and resorted to all means to crack down on Huawei and other Chinese high-tech enterprises. This negates the market economy principles the U.S. side has claimed to champion and reveals its hypocrisy in touting so-called fair competition. We urge these policies to stop abusing the concept of national security and oppression of Chinese companies.
China Review News: Yesterday you said in response to a question about the origin-tracing of the novel coronavirus that the Chinese side hopes the US side will invite WHO experts to the US to carry out origin-tracing research as China has done. Will China formally request the WHO to conduct origin-tracing study in the United States?
Wang Wenbin: Origin-tracing is a complex scientific issue, which calls for cooperation by scientists from across the world. With an open and transparent attitude, China has maintained close communication and cooperation with WHO on origin-tracing and provided strong support and assistance to WHO experts' visit in China. A number of clues, reports and studies have indicated that the virus and infections broke out in multiple places in the world as early as in the latter half of the year 2019. WHO should pay similar visits to other countries and regions based on the facts and in accordance with their duties.
We hope that following China's example, relevant parties will act in a positive, science-based and cooperative manner on the origin-tracing issue, invite WHO experts in for an origin-tracing study and shoulder their due responsibilities and obligations for international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and building a global community of health for all.
Bloomberg: A follow-up on the COVAX vaccines. We are wondering if you have any information on which Chinese companies are providing the 10 million doses that China is providing to COVAX, and how many doses China can receive from COVAX?
Wang Wenbin: Like I said, China will stay in close communication with COVAX sponsors including WHO and make vigorous efforts to deliver what we have promised. I would refer you to the competent authority for the details.