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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on May 31, 2021
2021/05/31

AFP: According to the latest news report, China's Politburo decided in a meeting today to allow families to have up to three children in future. Could you enlighten us on the purpose and motivation of this new policy?

Wang Wenbin: Please refer to competent authorities.

Bloomberg: US Customs and Border Protection on Friday said it will detain imports of seafood from Dalian Ocean Fishing after an investigation showed the company operated under all 11 of the International Labour Organization's indicators of forced labor. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted relevant reports. To our knowledge, the US Customs and Border Protection's claim of "forced labor, abuse of crew members and withholding of pay" is fabrication that is totally inconsistent with facts.

Dalian Ocean Fishing Company Limited has never sold any products to the US, and there's nothing to detain in the first place.

The so-called "forced labor" is completely groundless. So far as I know, the enterprise involved has always been law-abiding with strict and full-fledged management mechanism and a good reputation in the industry. Moreover, tuna fishing vessels normally enjoy high technical and modernization standards, and their operation are mostly automated, so there is no need for heavy manual labour.

The so-called "abuse of crew members" is totally unfounded. Last year saw some media hype-up of the issue; in response, the enterprise involved immediately checked with the Indonesian crew working on the ship, all of whom said they had never been treated unfairly, let alone abused.

Facts fully show that the allegation of "forced labor" is nothing but a lie concocted by the US side in an attempt to wantonly suppress Chinese enterprises. China firmly opposes such political manipulation, and calls on the US side to respect the basic facts and annul the wrong decision. China will take every measure necessary to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.

Beijing Daily: According to Japanese media reports, three local agricultural cooperatives in Fukushima, Japan, passed a special resolution on Friday expressing opposition to the government's decision to release nuclear contaminated water into the sea. The resolution criticizes the authorities and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for breaching the previous agreement to not start any treatment of the contaminated water without the due understanding of the people concerned, as the government authorities failed to properly explain the matter to Japanese citizens as well as fishery workers. What is China's comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted relevant reports. This is another proof that the Japanese government, turning away from its commitments and acting in ways inconsistent with its words, is extremely irresponsible in handling the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water.

Dumping the nuclear contaminated water cannot be the first option, still less should it be taken as the only option. China once again strongly urges Japan to take up its due responsibility for ecological safety and the health of all mankind, earnestly respond to the serious concerns of the international community, the neighboring countries and its own people, re-examine and revoke the wrong decisions, and voluntarily accept the substantive participation, verification and supervision of stakeholders and relevant international institutions. It must not start the discharge process before an agreement based on full consultation is reached with all stakeholders and relevant international institutions.

Prasar Bharati: As per media report, Wang Jingyu was wanted by China over his online comments about clashes near China-India border last year. He was arrested by Dubai police and was later released after weeks of detention. Can you please confirm if China was seeking his extradition for his online comments over clashes between Chinese and Indian forces last year? And do you have more details to share?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted relevant report. As we speak, competent Chinese authorities are investigating and handling the case in accordance with law.

China Review News: According to media reports, the Japanese government said the other day that it would study the possibility of providing vaccines to Taiwan, to which the Taiwan authorities expressed thanks. Earlier heads of the Red Cross Society branches in Chinese cities Fuzhou and Xiamen expressed readiness to donate vaccines to Jinmen and Mazu in the Taiwan region, but the Mainland Affairs Council declined the offer. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Recently many counties, cities and groups in the Taiwan region have been calling for early access to vaccines from the mainland and some institutions have announced that they will receive donations from the mainland. All this demonstrates the Taiwan people's confidence in mainland vaccines. We expressed on many occasions the readiness to do our best to help Taiwan compatriots fight the virus.However, the DPP authorities, proceeding from selfish political calculations, turned a blind eye to the goodwill of the mainland, and even resorted to malicious smears and various other means to thwart the shipment of vaccines from the mainland to the island. This is running roughshod over the life and health of our compatriots in Taiwan.

China always supports international cooperation in combating COVID-19 and has been taking active efforts in this regard. That being said, we are firmly against those who exploit the pandemic to put on political shows or even meddle in China's internal affairs. I've noticed that Japan can barely ensure adequate supply of vaccines at home. Under such circumstances, the Japanese government's announcement of considering providing vaccines to China's Taiwan region has drawn doubts from media and the public including in Taiwan. I would like to stress that vaccine assistance should be restored to its origin purpose, which is to save lives, and should not be reduced to a tool for selfish political gains.

CCTV: Lately some in the US and the UK have been renewing efforts to hype up the "lab leak theory". Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said on May 28 that "We would like for everyone out there to separate, if they can, the politics of this issue from the science. This whole process is being poisoned by politics". Do you have a comment?

Wang Wenbin: Study of origins is a scientific issue that should not be politicized. Unfortunately, for some time, we have seen rhetoric and actions that stigmatize and label the virus, use study of origins to shift the blame to specific countries, wantonly criticize WHO experts on the study, and even draw on intelligence apparatus rather than rely on scientists to lead the study. These US acts which politicize origins study have gravely disrupted and undermined normal international cooperation in origins study and created difficulties and barriers for national efforts to fight the virus and save lives.

We stand for a scientists-led study of origins featuring solidarity and cooperation, not an intelligence-led investigation stoking confrontation and sowing division. The process should not be dictated by any country's will.

Upholding the principle of openness, transparency and cooperation, China has twice invited WHO experts in for joint study of origins. As the study of origins involve many countries and localities across the world, we call on other countries to follow our example and invite WHO experts in for similar studies to address international concerns. We urge a handful of countries including the US to immediately halt their politicization and stop sabotaging international cooperation in origins study for hidden political agenda.

Bloomberg: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern "expressed grave concerns about the human rights situation" in China's Xinjiang and said that the United Nations and others should be allowed to make "meaningful" visits. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have taken note of and are deeply concerned over the relevant statement. The leaders of Australia and New Zealand, with irresponsible remarks on China's internal affairs relating to Hong Kong and Xinjiang as well as the South China Sea issue, have made groundless accusations against China, grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and seriously violated the international law and basic norms governing international relations. China firmly opposes this.

I would like to reiterate that Hong Kong is China's Special Administrative Region and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs. China will not waver in its determination and confidence to uphold the principle of One Country, Two Systems and safeguard the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Nor will China waver in its resolve and will to reject any external interference in China's internal affairs. Xinjiang-related issues are about counter-violence, anti-separatism and de-radicalization, rather than human rights, ethnicity or religion. Xinjiang has not seen a single violent terrorist case in the past four years. Remarkable achievements have been made in economic and social development and improvement of people's livelihood. The rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including the Uyghurs, have been fully protected. These are the facts that are recognized by all those without bias. At present, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable. China firmly upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. At the same time, China is willing to properly handle maritime differences with relevant countries through consultation and negotiation to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the region. There is never any problem with the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. We firmly oppose any groundless accusations against China under the pretext of the South China Sea issue.

China maintains that the development of bilateral relations between countries in the region should help enhance mutual understanding and trust among countries in the region, and be conducive to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific, instead of targeting or damaging the interests of third parties, and much less forming enclosed small clique with ideology as the yardstick. It's not justifiable for relevant countries to say and do wrong things on issues bearing on the sovereignty and security of a third country, or interfere in its internal affairs under the guise of human rights. We once again urge relevant parties to stop making irresponsible remarks and act in ways that are conducive to bilateral relations and regional peace and stability, rather than the opposite.

The Paper: A joint investigation by foreign media agencies revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) used a partnership with Denmark's foreign intelligence unit to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, Germany and France between 2012 and 2014. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: As facts have proven time and again, the US is the world's top empire of hacking and theft of secrets. With targets including not only competitors, but also its allies, the US is a real master of large-scale, indiscriminate tapping and theft of secrets. Even its allies find this "unacceptable".

Ironically, this master of theft of secrets is using "clean network" as a cover and claiming to safeguard cyber security. This fully exposes that the US is not truly upholding cyber security, but suppressing competitors; it's not truly defending the security of allies, but maintaining its own hegemony.

The US owes the world an explanation on whether what it does is consistent with its intelligence laws and the spirit of its trans-border data flow agreement with allies and whether it's "polluted network" or "clean network".

We hope the international community will expose and reject the US cyber bullying and not be a cat's-paw for the illegal acts of this "empire of hackers".

China Daily: According to reports, on May 28, 209 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi which reads, "We request that you instruct the appropriate Democrat committee chairs to immediately join Republican calls to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic. There is mounting evidence the pandemic started in a Chinese lab, and the CCP covered it up. If that is the case, the CCP is responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide". Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Between January 14 and February 10 this year, with China's strong support, 17 international experts independently selected by WHO, overcoming the impact of COVID-19, formed a joint mission with Chinese experts to conduct near month-long field research in Wuhan, China. Upholding the spirit of openness, transparency and cooperation, the Chinese side arranged for visits to the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology at the joint team's request. During the visits, the team visited bio-safety laboratories, had in-depth and candid exchanges with experts there, and gained thorough knowledge of the management, standard operating procedures and recent virology research. On this basis, the joint team arrived at the conclusion through prudent science-based discussion that the hypothesis of "a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely". This conclusion and the process of the study is clearly recorded in the joint WHO-China study mission report. This is an authoritative and official conclusion based on science.

However, some in the US, turning a blind eye to facts, science and the questionable study of origins and botched response at home, kept fabricating the lie that the virus was leaked from the WIV and unreasonably asking China to pay for their own inaction . This shows that they don't care about facts or truth and have zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins. Their aim is to use the pandemic to pursue stigmatization and political manipulation. They are being disrespectful to science, irresponsible to all lives, especially American lives, and counter-productive to concerted global efforts to fight the virus.

The US keeps accusing China of cover-ups, but what about itself? There are so many questions about the earlier cases in the US which emerged before the officially-reported first case, the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and on the subsequent EVALI outbreaks in Wisconsin. Can the US practice what it preaches and be open and transparent and disclose detailed data and information on relevant cases at an early date? If the US is totally above-board, why not open up the suspicion-shrouded Fort Detrick for visits, investigations and research by international experts?

I would like to stress again that the study of origins of COVID-19 is a matter of science, not a political tool. It should be conducted by scientists all over the world in collaboration, not by the intelligence community or a few finger-pointing politicians, because the latter would only disrupt and undermine normal international cooperation in origins study and create difficulties and barriers for countries' efforts to fight the virus and save lives. We urge a handful of countries including the US to immediately halt their politicization, stop sabotaging international cooperation in origins study for hidden political agenda and refrain from rejecting science to embrace conspiracy theories and sabotaging global solidarity and cooperation in fighting the pandemic for selfish gains.

Reuters: Taiwan's DPP said today that China prevented Taiwan from getting vaccines. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson has already responded to the relevant question, which you can refer to. As we have said many times, we stand ready to do our very best to help our Taiwan compatriots bring the epidemic under control and defeat the virus at an early date. The DPP authorities are extremely irresponsible to our Taiwan compatriots by using political manipulation to divert attention. They should immediately stop all kinds of slanders and smears on the mainland helping Taiwan compatriots in their fight against the epidemic, and take practical actions to remove man-made obstacles, so as to ensure the health and well-being of Taiwan compatriots.

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