|Opening Remarks by Ambassador Ren Yisheng at the Meeting with the Liberian Media and Scholars|
(August 8, 2022)
Hon. Kwame O. Weeks, Director General of Liberia News Agency,
Representatives of the Liberian media outlets and friendship institutions related with China present here and online,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! Welcome to this meeting. To begin with, I wish to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all of you for your strong support and great contribution to promoting China-Liberia brotherly friendship and win-win cooperation.
Today, I would like to first update you on some new developments and achievements about China’s economic and social development, Taiwan question and issues related with Xinjiang, Hong Kong and etc., and China-Africa and China-Liberia friendly, pragmatic and win-win cooperation before I take questions from the floor.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The first half of this year has witnessed quite some new developments in China. China successfully hosted the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March respectively. Beijing has thus become the first and sole city in the world to host both summer and winter Olympic Games.
In June, the 14th BRICS Summit was held in Beijing. The issue of BRICS membership expansion has drawn wide attention of the international community.
During the first half of the year, due to the resurgences of pandemics and other factors, China’s GDP increased by 2.5%, slightly below the expected growth rate. With the pandemic well prevented and controlled, China’s resilience in economy and a series of policies to boost economic development, China will try its best to realize a growth rate of around 5% for the whole year. China’s economic aggregate is expected to reach a new height of around 20 trillion US dollars this year.
Later this year, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be convened in Beijing. This will be an important milestone for both the CPC and the Chinese people as we have successfully realized our first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and are marching towards the second centenary goal of building China into a prosperous, democratic, culturally civilized, harmonious and beautiful socialist country by the middle of this century when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.
From Nov. 5 through 10, the 5th China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai. Africa-featured products and handicrafts have always been popular among Chinese consumers. The Chinese government has offered two free standard booths to Liberian participating enterprises. We encourage Liberian enterprises to actively participate in the Expo.
China continues to uphold multilateralism by making unswerving efforts to build a community of shared future for mankind. After putting forward the Global Development Initiative at the General Debate of the 76th UN General Assembly last year, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative at the Boao Forum for Asia 2022 Session to promote the sustainable development through sustainable security.
China has also actively carried out international cooperation especially with African countries in coping with COVID-19 pandemic and has dispatched medical expert teams, and provided large amount of supplies such as surgical face masks, PPEs, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, infrared thermometers and etc.
Ladies and gentlemen,
now I would like to touch upon the Taiwan question and issues relating to Xinjiang, Hong Kong etc.
As President Xi Jinping has said, the Taiwan question and issues relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, etc. are China's internal affairs and concern China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Other countries should respect China's core interests and act prudently.
On Taiwan question, Chinese President Xi Jinping has on multiple occasions expounded China's stance on the Taiwan question, reaffirming the commitment to resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification. As he has pointed out that, the true status quo of the Taiwan question and what lies at the heart of one-China, are as follows: there is but one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China, and the Government of the PRC is the sole legal government representing China. We have patience and will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts. That said, should the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence” provoke us, force our hands or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures.
A few days ago, in disregard of China's strong opposition and serious representations, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited China's Taiwan region.
This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for "Taiwan independence". China's firm countermeasures are completely legitimate and justified. All the consequences arising therefrom must be borne by the U.S. side and the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces.
On Xinjiang related issues. For a period of time, some Western countries have crazily fabricated lies of the century on Xinjiang-related issues, slandering and attacking China with no bottom line. Last June, at the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the West once again gathered some countries to attack China over Xinjiang and other so-called human rights issues. Meanwhile, at the same HRC session, around 100 countries voiced their support to China on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet through joint or individual statements.
The so-called Xinjiang issue is entirely a strategic conspiracy of the West to disrupt China from the inside. Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. There has been no violent act of terrorism in Xinjiang for five consecutive years and more. The safety and security of people of all ethnic groups have been effectively protected. Today Xinjiang is enjoying security, social stability and good development.
In recent years, over 2,000 people from more than 100 countries, including experts, scholars, journalists, diplomats and religious figures, have visited Xinjiang, witnessing the social security and stability of Xinjiang, and the people living and working in peace and contentment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On China-Africa cooperation, I wish to stress again that the biggest feature of China-Africa cooperation is mutual benefit and common development. In carrying out cooperation with Africa, China has upheld the principles of sincerity, pragmatism, amity and good faith and the principles of pursuing the greater good and shared interests and China-Africa cooperation has become a model for South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa.
According to a white paper released by China's State Council Information Office in November last year, China helped African countries build more than 13,000 kilometers of roads and railways and more than 80 large power facilities in the 20 years to 2020.
It also funded over 130 medical facilities, 45 sports venues and over 170 schools and built a series of flagship projects including the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa.
In fact, the so-called debt-trap theory has been rejected by researchers around the world, and they called it a convenient political narrative that is being used by Western politicians in a bid to damage China's relationship with its development partners.
According to research released last month by the Debt Justice group in the United Kingdom, African governments owe three times more debt to Western banks, asset managers and oil traders than they do to China. The research indicated that just 12 percent of African governments' external debt is owed to Chinese lenders compared with 35 percent owed to Western private lenders. Talk of the so-called Chinese debt trap for African countries is pure disinformation, and not a single developing country has suffered because of Chinese loans.
On China-Liberia friendly cooperation, I have listed in several articles published by Liberian media about the completed China-aid projects in recent years such as the Ministerial Complex, the Annexes to the Capitol Building, 50 bore wells for rural areas and the RIA through concessional loans.
I would like to update that the two overpass bridges on Tubman Boulevard, the National Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment Lab, the LBS expansion project, and the Laser Fingerprint Examination Lab are all in the tendering and procurement phases. The Road and Bridge near Sinkor Area is making steady progress.
On investment, China Union plans to resume its work in Bong County before the end of the year. Bao Chico has just obtained mining permit and is preparing to start mining operation in Gbarpolu County in the near future.
On people-to-people exchanges, as you are aware of, China provides around 50 full government scholarships and around 200 short- and long-term training opportunities, some of which are also combined with master and PhD degree scholarships to Liberian students and trainees.
For the 2021-2022 training year, so far 16 terms of training for 155 persons and 11 training slots of scholarships have been implemented respectively. Another 85 scholarship applicants for master and PhD degrees have been recommended with 79 enrolled.
We are working with the First Lady’s Clar Hope Foundation and the Jewel Starfish Foundation established by the Vice President and will donate sanitary pads to young women and girls.
In recent years, we have donated 2,500 tons of rice to Liberia every year. Upon completion of two food- and nutrition-aid projects to Liberian students, pregnant women and new born babies, we are now working with the Ministry of Education to donate another 1,000 bags of 25kg per bag rice together with some milk powder and vegetable oil. We also plan to dona a batch of desks and chairs to Liberian schools.
The 15th batch of China Medical Team has arrived in Liberia and will start to work in JFK Medical Center in mid August after quarantine.
We have donated more than 300 solar power lights and poles to Liberian communities and about 75 have been installed on the bridge and along the stree linking two districts of Montserrado and Bomi counties and the bridge has since become much safer.
We have helped Booker Washington Institute to establish cooperation with Shandong Vocational and Technical College. We are working with Bomi Community College to enhance its development.
We are working with JFD Hospital in Tapeta, Nimba County to upgrade its infrastructure.
We have been helping Star Foundation School’s renovation near Monrovia along the Japan Freeway and both sides have agreed to add a new name “China-Liberia Friendship School” to the school.
We will help Liberia National Wheelchair Basketball Federation to construct a wheelchair basketball court near SKD Sports Complex in Monrovia.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China-Africa and China-Liberia are good friends and brothers. Based on the norms and principles of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states as enshrined in the UN Charter, China is ready to continue to make unremitting efforts to strengthen China-Africa and China-Liberia friendly and pragmatic cooperation and build a community of shared future for our peoples.
Thank you. Now I would like to answer your questions.