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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on September 24, 2019
2019/09/24

Q: Today the UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit will be held at the UN headquarters in New York to take stock of global implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. What measures has China taken to implement the agenda and what progress has it achieved? Also what does China expect from this summit?

A: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an important guideline for the international community. China attaches great importance to its implementation. We were among the first to release a national plan and progress report on implementation of the agenda. We have integrated the agenda with medium and long term national development plans such as the 13th Five Year Plan and have achieved early harvest on multiple sustainable development goals. By 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line will be out of poverty, which means China will meet its SDG in poverty alleviation ten years ahead of schedule. Enabling 1.4 billion people to live a happy life free from poverty, hunger and displacement in a land of 9,600,000 square kilometers is China's greatest contribution to the global implementation of the 2030 agenda.

China is committed to international cooperation on development. In recent years, when hosting international events, we have been working with various parties to feature the issue of development prominently at the heart of the global macro-policy framework. We have also worked to seek greater synergy between BRI cooperation and the 2030 agenda. Besides, China has also provided strong support to fellow developing countries in their implementation of the agenda through practical measures such as setting up the China-UN Peace and Development Fund and the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, and also through bilateral channels.

China attaches high importance to this SDG Summit and has been actively and constructively participating in its preparation. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend this summit as President Xi Jinping's special representative. China looks forward to sharing its development experience and good practice on this platform. We will work in concert with other countries for a fruitful summit to further consolidate international consensus and inject new impetus into the global development cause.

Q: According to media reports, Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu recently paid a visit to northern Cyprus and expressed intention to open Varosha, which was closed off to the public. What's your comment on that?

A: China supports a just and proper settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions. Any solution must be in the interests of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. We call on relevant parties to exercise restraint and refrain from unilateral actions that might hinder a just and peaceful solution in order to create conditions for resuming negotiation. As a permanent member to the Security Council, China stands ready to play a positive role in this.

Q: Yesterday State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in this month. Do you have any comment on that?

A: Yesterday, State Councilor Wang Yi met with Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York. The Chinese side has already released a readout. I want to emphasize again that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual support. The China-Pakistan friendship is unbreakable. China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and national dignity. At present, China and Pakistan have frequent high-level exchanges, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to deepen friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation and make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a demonstration project for high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative to bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Q: According to US media reports, the next round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations may be held from October 10 to 11. Can you confirm that? Have the two sides agreed on the specific time for the consultations?

A: Recently, the economic and trade teams of China and the United States held vice ministerial-level consultations in Washington and conducted constructive discussions on economic and trade issues of common concern. The two sides also discussed the specific arrangements for the the 13th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations between the coordinators in Washington in October. Both parties agreed to continue to communicate on relevant issues. As for the specific date and other issues, I will refer you to the competent authorities.

Q: During the C5+1 ministerial meeting, US Secretary of State Pompeo lodged groundless accusations against China on its Xinjiang policy and even claimed that China attempts to "erase its own citizens' Muslim faith and culture". Will this impact China's relations with Central Asian countries?

A: I already responded to this yesterday. Let me add a few points.

As a close neighbor to China's Xinjiang, the five Central Asian countries know better than the US the real situation in Xinjiang, where people of all ethnic groups live a happy life and enjoy full freedom of religious belief with sound socioeconomic development. Secretary Pompeo tried to sow discord and throw mud at China in front of the C5 foreign ministers, but this was simply barking up the wrong tree.

As a matter of fact, since the establishment of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, its population has grown year by year. Specifically, the Uighur population increased from 5.55 million to 11.65 million, accounting for about 46.8% of the total population of the region. There are over 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, which means one for every 530 Muslims on average. Pompeo seems so ignorant of basic facts by claiming that China attempts to "erase its own citizens' Muslim faith and culture".

China and Central Asian countries are friendly neighbors and strategic partners as close as lips and teeth sharing weal and woe. A stable Xinjiang serves our common interests. The Central Asian countries always understand and support China on Xinjiang-related issues and speak highly of the counterterrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang. We are convinced that the government and people of these Central Asian countries have firm resolve to develop friendly and good neighborly relations with China and fight terrorism, separatism and religious extremism and will not be deceived or instigated by anti-China forces. Attempts to drive a wedge between China and Central Asian countries will never succeed.

Q: It has been reported that the US State Department issued a media note on its website saying that Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan is co-hosting a panel discussion for UN delegations and non-governmental partners on the "human rights crisis" in Xinjiang. on September 24 How would you respond to it?

A: Lately the US, in disregard of China's opposition, has been using religion and human rights as a cover to slander and smear China's Xinjiang policies and interfere in China's internal affairs again and again. By holding the so-called panel discussion during the UNGA, it is going further down the wrong path. China firmly opposes the wrong rhetoric and actions by the US. We urge the US to cancel the relevant event, stop making wanton comments on Xinjiang, and stop interfering in others' domestic affairs in the name of human rights.

I will reiterate that the issues in Xinjiang are not about religion or human rights, but about fighting separatism and violent terrorism. The preventive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures have produced significant effects, with not a single violent terrorist attack for almost three years. People of all ethnic groups all support the government's policies and measures. Xinjiang's fight against separatism and violent terrorism is a fight between good and evil, between humanity and brutality, between rule of law and violence. It deserves every understanding, respect and support from the international community.

Since 2015, China has released seven white papers on Xinjiang with detailed information covering such areas as counter-terrorism and de-radicalization,vocational education and training, progress in human rights and religious freedom. Not long ago, 50 countries co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and explicitly commended the progress in China's human rights cause and its effective counterterrorism and deradicalization efforts. Almost a thousand foreign diplomats, officials and journalists have visited Xinjiang recently. They all recognized and spoke positively of the local efforts to fight and prevent terrorism in accordance with law. There has also been wide media coverage on that. The US chooses not to see China's efforts and progress in counterterrorism and deradicalization, and not to hear the voice of justice on Xinjiang by relevant countries and individuals. It conveniently acts blind and deaf from time to time. This malaise should be treated.

Facts speak louder than words and people can tell right from wrong. No matter what the US says or does, we in China will continue to manage our affairs properly and implement our Xinjiang policies to ensure its sustained development. Xinjiang continues to enjoy stability, prosperity, ethnic unity and social harmony. That is there for all to see. All lies will crumble before the facts.

Q: US Vice President Pence attacked China and other countries' religious conditions at the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event. What's your comment?

A: The Chinese government protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief and people of all ethnic groups enjoy full religious freedom in accordance with law. There are nearly 200 million believers across China, including 20 million Muslims. There are more than 380,000 clerics, approximately 5,500 religious groups and over 140,000 places of worship registered for religious activities. In Xinjiang, there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average, which surpasses many Islam countries. These plain facts simply cannot be smeared by a certain US politician.

If this politician really cares for religious issues, he should face up to the massive infringement on religious freedom in the US rather than make an issue out of other countries. According to poll results released by Gallup and Pew Research Center, 75% of Muslims believe there is serious discrimination against them in the US society. He should ask himself how to correct that.

There is a Western fable about Pinnocchio's nose. We urge this US politician to respect basic facts, objectively and fairly look at freedom of religious belief in China, stop using religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs, and stop repeatedly slandering China with lies. Otherwise, such behaviors will only further expose the hypocrisy of this self-styled guardian of religious freedom.

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"Great Journey, Glorious Achievements: Exhibition in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the PRC" was opened in the Beijing Exhibition Center on September 23. President Xi Jinping and other CPC and state leaders visited the exhibition yesterday.

This all-dimension exhibition uses multimedia technologies to showcase how the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC have, through unrelenting hard work, realized great leaps in national development, achieved historic progress and made important contributions to the peace and development cause of mankind. The exhibition reveals the profound truth behind the tremendous changes over the past seven decades since the founding of the New China. You're welcome to visit and cover the exhibition. For more details, please contact the Press Center for Activities in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the PRC at 68576100.

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