|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 8, 2008|
On April 8, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Beijing Olympic torch relay, the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Six-Nation Talks on the Iranian Nuclear Issue, Boao Forum for Asia, the Dalai issue and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Firstly, I have an announcement to make.
At the invitation of Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, Political Director-generals of Foreign Ministries from the US, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and the Director General of External Relations of the Council of the European Union will hold a meeting in Shanghai on April 16 to discuss plans to resume talks on the Iranian nuclear issue and push forward a resolution through diplomatic negotiations.
In the joint statement in early March, Foreign Ministers of the six nations reiterated resolving the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations and agreed to find a plan to resume talks at an early date. The six-nation meeting in Shanghai is to be held to implement the consensus.
China always believes that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through diplomatic negotiation and dialogue. Given the current circumstances, relevant parties should display creativity and flexibility in proactively seeking a comprehensive, long-term and proper resolution of the issue. We hope to see positive achievements out of the meeting in Shanghai with the joint efforts of all relevant parties.
Now, the floor is open for questions.
Q: In the " Statement to All Tibetans", Dalai denied any connection to the criminal acts of violence involving beating, smashing up properties, looting and arson, and claimed again that he doesn't seek "Tibet Independence", but persists in the "Middle Way". How do you comment on that? Mr. Hill, head of the US delegation to the Six-Party Talks, meets with Kim Kye-gwan in Singapore today and will come to China tomorrow. Which officials of the Chinese side will meet with him?
A: Dalai is the ruler of the theocratic serfdom, which is the darkest slavery in human history. There wasn't any kind of democracy, freedom or human rights, but only serfowner's privileges under that system. Dalai's "Middle Way" is to restore his past heaven and put millions of already emancipated serfs back to the dark cage. Who can accept this kind of "Middle Way"?
Dalai lives on lies. We cannot take for granted what he says without watching his deeds. What he has been doing recently is to incite and organize the criminal act of violence in Lhasa. His activities have proven again that his rhetorics of peace and nonviolence are lies to deceive the world.
On the issue of the Six-Party Talks, China always supports the efforts of relevant parties to enhance communication and consultation in pressing ahead with the Six-Party Talks and the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. We expect to see positive achievements out of the meeting between the US and DPRK.
Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will meet with Assistant Secretary Hill in Beijing tomorrow. He will be briefed on the meeting between the US and DPRK, and exchange views with Mr. Hill on the next phase of work and the current situation. Heads of the Japanese and ROK delegations to the Six-Party Talks will also come to Beijing to be updated by Mr. Hill.
Q: China always says the protests along the Olympic torch relay are organized by the Tibetan separatists. In fact, some ordinary people and politicians in western countries also took part in the protests. Is it contradictory to what you have been saying? Will the continuous protests tarnish China's international image before the Beijing Olympics? Will the Chinese Government consider conducting dialogue with Dalai to improve the current situation?
A: The Olympic Holy Fire belongs to people worldwide. The disruption of the torch relay is a challenge to the Olympic Charter and spirits, to law and order of the world and to all peace-loving people around the globe. These days, the performances of the Tibetan separatists in front of the world have exposed again the true face of the Dalai clique engaged in disrupting and splitting activities. But their attempts are doomed to fail. Under the Olympic flames, these people look very pathetic and trivial.
The Central Government's policies on Dalai are persistent. We stay in contact with Dalai with patience. The door to dialogue with Dalai was open in the past and remains to be so at present. But the problem is, Dalai prefers violence to dialogue. Nevertheless, as long as Dalai stops criminal act of violence, stops disrupting the Beijing Olympics and the separatist activities, we are willing to have contact and talks with him.
Q: How will China comment on the Olympic torch relay in Paris and the security measures taken by the French Government? French Secretary of State for Human Rights said in an interview that President Sarkozy will refuse to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games unless the Chinese Government starts talks with Dalai. Has China received the request? And what's your response to that?
A: As for the torch relay in Paris, I believe that many friends saw the live yesterday. And I expounded our position right now. With the joint efforts of China and France, the torch relay was completed in Paris as scheduled.
I haven't heard of the remarks nor seen the reports you mentioned. I'd like to stress that the Olympics are a major event for people worldwide and an important platform for people to enhance exchanges and cooperation. We welcome all the people who cherish peace and the Games to participate the Beijing Olympic Games. If someone wants to take the Olympic Games as an opportunity to blackmail China, he is certainly miscalculating the situation. Those who attempt to boycott the Olympics will only isolate themselves and tarnish their own image.
Q: US Congresswoman Hillary also requested President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Is China worried about that?
A: I hope that some US politicians could stay sober-minded on recent issues and respect the fact, draw a clear line between the right and wrong. They'd better be aware of their own image of abiding by norms governing international relations as well as upholding justice and legal system when making relevant remarks.
The China-US relationship is of great significance to people of both countries. The sound and stable development of bilateral relations is also in the common interest of the two countries. We hope relevant figures could view and handle the China-US relations from a strategic and long-term perspective with political vision.
Q: Travel agents in Hong Kong said recently that the Chinese authorities have stopped issuing foreign travelers short-term and multiple-entry visas. Please confirm. Is this because of the Olympic Games?
A: China's visa policy is formulated according to China's laws and regulations and in line with international practices. China does not stop issuing multiple-entry visas to foreign travelers.
Q: We could see on television that several people in bright blue uniform escorted the Olympic torch. Which department are they from? Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that the Australian side will provide security personnel for the torch relay there. How do you comment on that? What kind of measures will China take to ensure the smooth relay of the torch in San Francisco?
A: The people you mentioned are torch escorts. You may consult the spokesperson of the torch relay center for their information. The measure is taken in accordance with the requirement of the IOC and the routine practice of the Olympics. Their job is to protect the Olympic torch.
Tomorrow the Olympic torch will arrive in San Francisco. We hope that with the joint efforts of the Chinese and US people, the Olympic torch relay there could proceed safely and smoothly. We also look forward to the US people taking this opportunity to display to the world their love for peace and the Games.
Q: You just said that Dalai lies to the world and organizes the criminal act of violence in Lhasa. Why do you still want to hold dialogue with him?
A: Dalai has never given up his proposition for Tibet independence. Neither did he stop his separatist and sabotage activities. The nature of the serious criminal act of violence in Lhasa and other areas is very clear. Solid evidence has proven that Dalai lies to mislead the world when he claims he does not participate in or support the violent and separatist activities.
The difference and contradiction between the Chinese Government and Dalai is not an issue of ethnicity, religion or human rights, but one of secession versus anti-secession and violence versus anti-violence. It is also a political issue concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as a sensitive issue the Chinese people feel strong for. Having said that, if Dalai stops all his activities of inciting the criminal acts of violence, disrupting the Beijing Olympics and separating Tibet from the motherland, the door for dialogue stays open.
Q: In recent days, overseas Chinese vigorously support the Chinese Government's policies on the Tibetan issue. What's your comment on the nationalism? Did Chinese Embassies and Consulates encourage this kind of activities? Many foreign journalists in China received harassing phone calls. Has the Chinese Government taken any measure to stop the harassment?
A: It is ridiculous to suggest that Chinese Embassies and Consulates try to provoke the nationalism of the Chinese citizens. You underestimate the Chinese people. In recent days, we see that the indignation and dissatisfaction of many Chinese citizens were expressed over some western media's provocative, biased and unfair coverage.
This could by no means be instigated by the government. Nor should the government feel necessary to do so. All these are spontaneous activities and indignation aroused by those media. I think what they pursue is justice and the rule of law.
I've taken note of reports that some foreign journalists in Beijing received harassing phone calls. For the personal data of foreign journalists, our principle is to facilitate their work and meanwhile protect their privacy. Some US journalists complained to us, asking us to publicize their phone numbers on the Internet so that Chinese citizens could find them at any time. We did not and will not publicize the mobile phone numbers and other personal data of foreign journalists on the websites. This principle is fairly clear. I'd like to stress here that the Chinese Government will continue to protect the safety and all lawful rights of foreign journalists in accordance to law.
Q: President Hu Jintao will attend the Boao Forum for Asia this weekend. Will he meet with leaders of relevant countries, as well as Mr. Vincent C. Siew? The second question is, Taiwan officials will come to the mainland to discuss the cross-strait direct flights. Is there any timetable for this? The third question is, will the US Assistant Secretary Hill talk with other parties about when to resume the Six-Party Talks?
A: As for your first question, at the invitation of the Boao Forum for Asia, President Hu Jintao will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a keynote speech. Besides, heads of state and government of some countries will attend the opening ceremony, including President Musharraf of Pakistan, President Enkhbayar of Mongolia, President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Bachelet of Chile, King Tupou IV of Tonga, Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden, Prime Minister Masimov of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamed of Qatar and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia.
President Hu Jintao will meet and have talks with them respectively on the sidelines of the Boao Forum, which is likely to be covered by journalists there.
Mr. Siew attends the forum as the chairman of the Cross-straits Common Market Fund. As to the meetings and relations across the Straits, direct flights in particular, please refer to competent authorities.
As to Assistant Secretary Hill's visit to Beijing, relevant parties will take this opportunity to exchange in-depth views on the current situation and the next stage work of the Six-Party Talks. We hope the meetings yield positive results. I'll update you on that in due course.
Q: Are the protests during the torch relay a reflection of China's negative international image? Will that affect China's efforts to integrate into the international community? Secondly, when you said the torch was not extinguished in Paris, did you refer to the flame?
A: The Olympic Holy Fire has never been put out. To ensure the safety and dignity of the torch under the situation there, the mode of the relay was temporarily changed in Paris. Eventually, the torch relay was completed safely as scheduled.
The world could see clearly the attempt of the Tibet separatist forces through the scene they made. Some misled Western people are not quite aware of the Chinese Government's policy towards Tibet. I'd like to brief you on that.
Firstly, Ethnic Regional Autonomy is practiced in Tibet. The Tibetan people of various ethnic groups enjoy not only their democratic rights, but also preferential laws and policies applied only for ethnic minorities. Secondly, we adopt a special policy involving nationwide assistance towards Tibet. Governments at all levels vigorously assist Tibet in its development in terms of human resources, capital and materials. The gross local product of Tibet has maintained a growth rate above 12% with per capita GNP of RMB12,000, higher than the average level of China. Over the past years, the Central Government has never levied a penny of tax on Tibet, instead, appropriated billions of RMB for Tibet's development and construction each year. Thirdly, freedom of religious belief is protected in Tibet. With the ongoing various religious activities, freedom of religious belief of believers of various ethnic groups is respected by the government and guaranteed according to law. Fourthly, the Tibetan culture is well protected. It is developing and prospering. Tibetan Buddhism is soundly preserved. Apart from the preservation of thousands of monasteries, the Central Government also has earmarked large sums to renovate the Potala Palace and other temples, collected, compiled and published Buddhism classics including the Tripitaka, set up over 50 research institutions of Tibetology nationwide and senior academy of Tibetan Buddhism. In Tibet, both the Tibetan and Chinese language are taught, with Tibetan being the main language and a main course in curriculum. The Tibetan people are the first among minority ethnic groups in China to have an international-standard language.
We could see from the facts that the social, economic and cultural development of Tibet is now in a best ever period of history. The Tibetan people, having raked in substantial benefits, know this the best. A handful of rioters and outlaws could not speak for the Tibetan people, nor could they represent the people of this nation.
Q: Is there any progress made in the investigation of the Dumpling Incident by Chinese and Japanese police? Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will come to China tomorrow, what topics will China discuss with him?
A: China takes the Dumpling Incident seriously and adopts a responsible attitude in cooperation with Japan. We hope police of both sides enhance cooperation and find out the cause at an early date. For future eradication of such problems, China has suggested establishing a long-term mechanism on food safety cooperation.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will pay an official visit to China from April 9 to 12 and attend the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan. During his visit, President Hu Jintao and Chairman Wu Bangguo will meet with him respectively and Premier Wen Jiabao will have talks with him. Mr. Kevin Rudd will visit Beijing, Sanya and Boao.
Q: Apart from the Tibetan separatist forces, there are also human rights activists and Uigurs taking part in the protests during the torch relay. How do you view this?
A: No matter what opinions they have against the Chinese Government, it is unwise to put on such a political show during the Olympics, in particular, the torch relay which belongs to the people worldwide. People should have a clear understanding of China's policy. China has made tremendous progress in human rights over the years, and the Chinese people know that quite well. Our society is increasingly diversified and the fundamental rights and freedom of the Chinese citizens are completely guaranteed. The Chinese Government will continue its endeavor to promote the human rights undertakings. It is unwise and futile for some people to make noises and exert pressure on the Chinese Government under the excuse of human rights issues, or play up some topics to tarnish China's image.
Q: I learnt that the President and other officials from the European Commission will visit China on April 24 and have talks with China on the China-EU trade and economic ties. What do you expect? Will the meeting promote China-EU trade and economic relations?
A: China and EU are preparing for the high-level trade and economic dialogue. We hope the dialogue be launched at an early date, and we will release the latest information in due course.
China and EU are comprehensive strategic partners. Long-term and stable China-EU relationship serves the common interest of both. The trade and economic ties between the two, featuring mutually-benefit and win-win outcome, are getting increasingly mature in a sound and regulated way. With the bilateral trade volume above US$356bn, EU has become the largest trading partner of China and China the second biggest of the EU. We hope to strengthen the relations with the EU and expand and raise the level of cooperation so as to bring more benefits to our people.
Q: I have two questions. First, according to reports, due to the sabotage of Tibetan separatist forces, the torch had to be put out and its mode of relay changed. Did that mean a security failure or the organizer underestimated the power of those forces abroad? What measures will China take to ensure the security of the Beijing Olympic Games? Secondly, Japanese media said that the China-Japan military hotline will be launched this month. Could you confirm? If so, what will China and Japan discuss through the line?
A: We could see clearly the torch relay in Paris on TV. As I just said, the Olympic Holy Fire has never been extinguished. France has made its due efforts to ensure a safe relay in Paris. The performance put on by some Tibet separatist forces has also fully exposed their true face of sabotage and violence.
As to the security during the Olympics, we have full confidence that the Beijing Olympics will be held safely and smoothly.
As to the military hotline between China and Japan, following the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, the defense ministries of both sides have stayed in contact and enhanced dialogue and exchanges in security. Please refer to the Ministry of National Defense for further details.
Q: Has China make representation to the US on the torch relay in San Francisco? What's your expectation for PM Kevin Rudd's visit? Will China put forward specific innitiatives at the Shanghai meeting, in particular, about Iran's uranium enrichment plan?
A: China and the US have kept close cooperation on the arrangement of the torch relay in San Francisco. We believe the torch will pass through the US safely. We'd also like to warn those groups and forces that their attempt to tarnish or pressure China for their despicable motives by disrupting and undermining the torch relay will surely get nowhere. In the end, they will only find their true face of danger and sabotage exposed to the world.
We hope that PM Kevin Rudd's visit will be an opportunity for China and Australia to view and handle the bilateral relations from a strategic perspective, enhance exchanges and cooperation, increase mutual understanding and trust so as to promote a long-term, sound and stable development of the relations. The bilateral relations have seen a sound momentum of development with frequent high-level exchanges, fruitful exchanges and cooperation in extensive fields including trade and economy, energy and other resources, science and education and environmental protection and close coordination and cooperation on major international and regional issues. Last year, the bilateral trade volume hit US$43.84bn, setting a historical record and making China the biggest trading partner of Australia. The China-Australia relations are in the best period in history with a bright future. We hope this visit will further enhance the existing sound cooperation between us.
As to the Director-Generals' meeting in Shanghai, the purpose of the meeting is to implement the joint statement issued by the six Foreign Ministers early this March, so as to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations and seek plans to resume the talks. China is willing to play a constructive role for that. We also believe that through the joint efforts of the six parties, the Shanghai meeting will make positive achievements.
Q:An IOC official reportedly said that the relay of the Olympic torch will be shortened. Can you confirm?
A: I haven't heard any remarks like that. I have taken note that President Rogge said that violence for whatever reason is not compatible with the Olympic values. IOC does not favor boycotting the Beijing Olympics. The Olympic Games is an event for all the mankind. No politics should ever be brought to the races of the games.
Q: On the torch relay, has the Chinese Government asked countries on the route of the relay for stronger protection?
A: It not only serves the interest of China but also that of people around the world to ensure the safe and smooth relay of the Olympic torch, which belongs to all the mankind. Countries are all proud of the torch relay on their land, taking active measures to coordinate with China in ensuring a smooth and safe relay. We believe that with the care and support of people all over the world, the torch will travel smoothly around the globe to carry forth the Olympic spirit and the concept of harmony, peace, development and friendship.
Thank you and see you next time.