Q: UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said that Russia, the US and the UN will hold three-way talks on the Syrian issue in Geneva on December 11. The UN will emphasize the need to intensify the fight against terrorism and call on all sides to collaborate more on counter-terrorism efforts. What stance does China have? How is the third foreign ministers' meeting on Syria going?
A: Here comes a new window of opportunity for the settlement of the Syrian crisis as all parties show more willingness to resolve the Syrian issue through political means as soon as possible. Fighting terrorism is an important aspect of the endeavor to defuse Syrian crisis. The Chinese side supports the international community in uniting as one to conduct counter-terrorism actions following the UN Charter and international law, and jointly dealing with the threat of terrorism. Preparations are being made for the third foreign ministers' meeting on Syria. The Chinese side is ready to work with all relevant parties to push for a political settlement of the Syrian issue at an early date.
Q: The UN Committee Against Torture issued a report about China's implementation of the Convention Against Torture yesterday, expressing concerns about the existence of torture in China. What is your comment on that?
A: China is firmly opposed to torture. In the process of pursuing all-round progress of law-based state governance, China has deepened judicial reform and put human rights under more protection, making well-recognized and tangible progress in its anti-torture campaign.
China is resolute in its position against torture. With the advancement of state governance in accordance with the law, China will make greater efforts for better performance in its fight against torture. We have also noted that some opinions held by the UN Committed Against Torture are based on uncorroborated information. It is hoped that the committee could stick to its mandate, improve its way of work and review China's implementation of the convention in a more comprehensive, objective and impartial way. The Chinese side will carry forward its communication with the committee based on equality and mutual respect for the realization of the purposes of the convention.
Q: The DPRK leader claimed today that the country has become a powerful nuclear weapons state capable of detonating a self-reliant atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb. What is your comment?
A: I have noted the relevant report. The Chinese side maintains that efforts shall be made to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, safeguard peace and stability of the Peninsula and solve problems through dialogues and consultations. We hope that all relevant parties would make constructive efforts for peace and stability of the Peninsula and an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: Today is the World Human Rights Day. The US Ambassador to China and the German Embassy in China have both issued statements, expressing their concerns about China's human rights record. What is China's response to that?
A: I have noted the relevant statements and would like to make the following points.
First, specific people mentioned in those statements are neither US citizens nor German citizens but Chinese citizens. Relevant countries should respect Chinese judicial authorities' handling of cases in accordance with the law. No foreign institutions or individuals have the right to interfere with China's judicial independence and sovereignty.
Second, China attaches great importance to promoting and protecting human rights, upholds the universality of human rights in the context of real conditions in China and promotes economic and social development, social equity and justice so that economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights can be improved in an all-round and balanced way. It is fair to say that China has traveled a path of human rights development that suits China's national conditions. Those who have no prejudice will by no means deny the fact that China has made world-renowned progress in the course of human rights.
Third, it seems that some people are poring over specific cases in China while selectively ignoring the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese people and the freedom and progress that they enjoy. If it is not because they are politically biased, then something must be wrong with the way they understand and measure human rights. It is hoped that they would not keep themselves from the whole picture. Fourth, no country in the world can say it is flawless in terms of human rights. Serious problems in the US such as police's excessive use of force in the process of law-enforcement and racial discrimination have raised people's concerns. It is hoped that relevant countries and people would focus more on their own problems. The Chinese side will continue its constructive dialogues and cooperation with countries around the world on the issue of human rights in the spirit of equality and mutual respect so as to learn from each other and make common progress.
Q: The Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) concluded with great success. But there are western media who believe that what African countries can get from China's assistance is limited and not quite helpful with the improvement of democracy and human rights. What is China's response to that?
A: The most salient feature of China-Africa cooperation is mutual benefit.
China gives priority to the actual needs, people's livelihood and the capacity of independent development of Africa when conducting cooperation with Africa. The Chinese side has provided a large amount of development assistance to Africa as its capacity allows over a long stretch of time. So far, China, by offering assistance and financing support, has helped African countries build 5,675km of railways, 4,507km of highways, 18 bridges, 12 ports, 14 airports and terminals, 64 power stations, 76 sport facilities and infrastructure for water conservancy and communications, 68 hospitals, over 200 schools and 23 demonstration centers for agricultural technology. Since 2000, China has provided 55,000 state scholarships to Africa and trained over 80,000 skilled personnel for different sectors. Cooperation as such has created better conditions for the development of Africa and delivered benefits to the general public of Africa.
Not long ago, President Xi Jinping announced 10 major cooperation plans with Africa for the next three years at the FOCAC Summit in Johannesburg, which are more targeted, more widely covered, better focused, more intensified and distinctive. First, these plans focus on speeding up the process of industrialization and agricultural modernization in Africa, aim at addressing three bottleneck issues holding back Africa's development, namely, inadequate infrastructure, lack of talent and funding shortage, and encourage industrial connection and production capacity cooperation between China and Africa. Second, these plans put more weight on complementing each other with respective advantages, striving to incorporate China's comparative advantages of funds, technology and equipment with Africa's abundant natural and human resources as well as enormous market potential. Third, these plans highlight people's well-being, and put subsistence, public health, education and other areas that Chinese and African people care the most on the top of the cooperation agenda.
China's assistance is warmly welcomed by African countries and peoples as China stays committed to not interfering in other countries' domestic affairs, not attaching political strings to its assistance, not forcing others to do what they are unwilling to do and not making empty promises. We hope that people would be objective, just and sensible about China-Africa cooperation and China's assistance to Africa, and contribute to Africa's independent and sustainable growth.