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Foreign Spokesman's Press Conference(30/11/2001)
2004/06/16

Q: Recently, the US Department of State issued the 2001 Report on International Religious Freedom. It criticized China's religious policy. What is China's comment?

A: The 2001 Report on International Religious Freedom by the US Department of State, in its chapter on China, distorted facts and made groundless allegations upon China's religious policy and the banning of the Falungong cult by the Chinese Government according to law. The U.S. action is an outright violation of the norms of international relations and a gross interference in China's internal affairs. China wishes to express its strong indignation and resolute opposition.

The Chinese Government protects the freedom of religious belief according to law. At the same time, it prohibits any organization or individual to engage in criminal activities under the pretext of religion. Since the founding of the PRC, especially since the adoption of the policies of reform and opening-up more than two decades ago, there has been marked progress in China's religious undertaking. The United States is not in a position to issue its so-called report on international religious freedom. Further more, it has no right to invent a story and make irresponsible allegations upon and point fingers at the religious situation in other countries.

We call on the United States to abide by the norms of international relations, including that of mutual respect and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. The United States should stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion, so as to free Sino-US ties from further damage.


Q: Did Vice President Hu Jintao talk about the NMD issue during his visit to Russia? What agreement was reached?

A: Anti-terrorism and NMD are both major international issues of common concern. China and Russia have maintained close consultations on these questions. It is no exception this time. China and Russia share similar or identical positions on these issues. We will increase our cooperation. This is also part of the concrete cooperation under the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of coordination.


Q: During his visit to London, Vice President Hu Jintao was confronted by some Tibetan protesters. What is your reaction?

A: I myself have also come across such incidents when I accompanied Chinese leaders on overseas visits. In my view, some of the protesters really have anti-China political motives. They engage in such protest under the support of splittist forces. However, the majority of the protesters do not have adequate knowledge of China. They are cheated by the organizers. I once asked some of the protesters if they had been to Tibet and if they knew the situation there. Most of them answered that they had not been to Tibet. In my view, most of them do not know the truth. They engage in such activities at the connivance of some individual. This is not what we wish to see.


Q: Last week, Pope John Paul II apologized to China for the canonization incident. Has China's relations with the Vatican improved? Has the Vatican sent anyone to China in recent days to discuss about the establishment of bilateral ties? Is there any progress in removing the two obstacles in the ties?

A: We have noticed that Pope John Paul II delivered a message to an international conference in Rome honouring Matteo Ricci. In the message, the Pope expressed his regret and grievances over the past errors by the foreign missionaries in China. He asked for forgiveness and understanding by the injured Chinese people. We view this as a positive indication. However, in his message, the Pope has not made a clear-cut  apology for the canonization incident, which seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. We wish to express our regret.

The Chinese Government is willing to improve our ties with the Vatican. Our two principles on the issue are clear and consistent. We hope the Vatican adopt real measures to remove the obstacles to the improvement of relations.

On the contacts between the two, I wish to point out that China used to have contacts with the Vatican. However, the Vatican bent on canonizing the missionaries in disregard of China's strong opposition. The event created new obstacles to the improvement of bilateral ties. Our principled position on this question is consistent and clear. We hope to see real measures by the Vatican to remove the obstacles so as to create positive conditions for the restoration of talks.


Q: The United States used clustered bombs in its military attacks upon Afghanistan. This led to massive civilian casualties. Does China support the use of such weapons?

A: We regret over the civilian casualties. From the very start, we have stressed that the attacks upon terrorists should have clear and specific targets. Efforts should be made to avoid as far as possible hurting the civilians. We still hold these principles of vital importance.


Q: Yesterday, Japan's upper house approved the law on special measures against terrorism. It has decided to send its self-defence troops overseas. What is your reaction?

A: On this issue, I wish to point it out that the fight against terrorism is a common task confronting the international community. We hope the relevant parties make their efforts to this end in light of their actual conditions and in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Due to historical reasons, the question of Japan's military role is a very sensitive one. We hope that Japan would act in a prudent manner.


Q: It is reported that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture will visit China before the end of the year. Please confirm. What is the term for his visit? Will he be allowed to visit China's prisons?

A: China attaches importance to our cooperation with the UN human rights mechanism. We welcome the friendly visit to China by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. On the specific programme of the visit, we will, as permitted by China's laws,  make arrangement through friendly consultations according to his specific request and mutual understanding.


Q: Does China have plans for hosting the World Cup?

A: So far, I have not heard of any concrete suggestion on this matter. But I understand that it is an ardent aspiration of the Chinese football fans.

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