Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 3, 2008

On the afternoon of April 3, 2008, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Beijing Olympics and torch relay, President Musharraf's visit to China, the Iranian nuclear issue and other issues.

Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have three announcements to make.

At the invitation of the Boao Forum for Asia, President Hu Jintao will attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2008 scheduled on April 12 in Boao, Hainan and deliver a keynote speech.

President Musharraf of Pakistan, President Enkhbayar of Mongolia, President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Bachelet of Chile, King Tupou IV of Tonga, Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden, Prime Minister Masimov of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Hamed of Qatar and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia will attend the opening ceremony of the Annual Conference.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, King George Tupou IV of the Kingdom of Tonga will pay a state visit to China from April 9 to 15, President Pervez Musharraf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will pay a state visit to China from April 10 to 15, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania will pay a state visit to China from April 10 to 15 and President Michelle Bachelet of the Republic of Chile will pay a state visit to China from April 11 to 15.

At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamed bin Jasim bin Jabor al-Thani of Qatar will pay an official visit to China from April 6 to 12, Prime Minister Karim Masimov of the Republic of Kazakhstan will pay an official visit to China from April 8 to 12, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of the Australian Federation will pay an official visit to China from April 9 to 12 and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden will pay an official visit to China from April 11 to 15.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: US Treasury Secretary Paulson is here for a visit. Yesterday, he held talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and discussed on the Tibet issue. We noted that he is the first US senior official visiting China since the March 14 violence in Lhasa. Did you believe the exchange of views on Tibet between the two sides yield good result?

A: Secretary Paulson is in Beijing for a visit these days. This afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Wang Qishan will meet and have talks with him respectively. We have released information on the meeting between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Mr. Paulson which included the Tibet issue. We hope the international community, including the US, have a clear understanding of the nature of the criminal act of violence in Lhasa and other areas, respect the fact and distinguish the right from wrong so as to understand and support the righteous measures taken by the Chinese Government according to law.

Q: Former IOC President Samaranch requested the international community to stop calling for boycotting the Olympics. How do you comment?

A: The IOC officials always act in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The BOCOG has kept close coordination and cooperation with the IOC in preparing for the Olympic Games. The Olympics are a major event for people worldwide and an important platform for peoples to enhance friendship, exchanges and cooperation. The Chinese Government and its people hope to carry forward the spirit of the Olympics and make due contribution to the development of the Games by hosting the Beijing Olympics.

Q: This morning, human rights activist Hu Jia was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Some foreign governments call for an unconditional release and some critics condemn China of arresting dissidents ahead of the Olympics. How do you respond to that?

A: We can not accept these accusations. China is a legal country ruled by law and everyone is equal under the law. We could not suspend our legal system for the Olympics. The case you mentioned has been handled according to Chinese laws and legal procedures. We hope relevant countries and groups respect the legal system of China and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the excuse of human rights issues.

Q: According to reports, officials from the Chinese Embassy in France, when interviewed, linked the way France handled the riots with the measures China took to stop the violence in Lhasa. France staged protest against that, claiming that it will remove the police protecting the Chinese Embassy. It said that the Chinese Ambassador apologized for the remarks and hoped for a stay of the police. Could you confirm? How do you respond?

A: I'd like to tell you that the report is not in line with the fact. The incident involving beating, smashing up properties, looting and arson in Lhasa and other areas is not, in any sense, a "peaceful demonstration", but a criminal act of violence. We hope relevant countries respect the fact and take an objective and fair position so as to understand and support the legal and righteous measures China took to stop the violence.

I'd like to stress that, according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, governments of all signatory countries have the obligation to protect the safety and dignity of diplomatic missions and personnel there. We hope France continue its effective protection over the Chinese Embassy.

Q: Could you share with us more details on President Musharraf's visit to China?

A: At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Musharraf will pay a state visit to China from April 10 to 15 and attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2008 in Hainan Province. During his visit, President Hu Jintao will have talks with him, Chairman Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will meet with him respectively. The two sides will sign a series of documents, the details of which are still under discussion.

Over the past years, the China-Pakistan strategic partnership of cooperation has maintained sound momentum of development. We are all-weather and all-dimensional partners with frequent high-level exchanges and fruitful cooperation in all fields. The bilateral trade volume last year reached US$6.54bn, a year-on-year increase of 25%. We have also conducted practical cooperation in telecommunications, transpotation, culture and education. We believe President Musharraf's visit will surely press ahead with the China-Pakistan good-neighborly friendship and cooperation and promote the practical cooperation in all fields.

Q: It is reported that China recently provided IAEA with information on Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons. How do you comment on that?

A: These reports are totally groundless and out of ulterior motives.

China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue is consistent. We always uphold peaceful resolution of the issue through diplomatic negotiations. Given current circumstances, China believes that relevant parties should exert creativity and flexibility, so as to achieve a comprehensive and long-term resolution of the issue. We will continue to make constructive efforts towards that goal.

Q: There were reports yesterday that a disturbance took place in Xinjiang. Could you give us more details? Is there any involvement of foreign forces?

A: The local government has released information on the incident in Hotan, Xinjiang. I'd like to emphasize that the local government is capable of safeguarding social stability and protect the safety of people and their properties.

Q: It is reported that the mayor of Paris said that he would display a banner for human rights when the Olympic torch passes through Paris as a token of his concern over the human rights situation in China. How do you respond to that?

A: I think it brings glory and honor to the French people when the torch passes through Paris. It is also a great opportunity for the French people to show to the world their love for the Games. Yesterday, we saw the first leg of the torch relay in Alma-ata, Kazakhstan on TV. President Nazarbayev and hundreds of thousands of people welcomed the torch in the most solemn and warm way, showing the whole world their passion for peace and the Olympics Games and the brand-new image of Alma-ata.

The holy fire belongs to people all round the world, and I believe the French people will cherish the relay there. I'd like to remind relevant political figures to respect the spirit and purpose of the Olympics and refrain from instigating disruptions to the torch relay at the violation of people's will..

Q: Another question on the torch relay. Some Uigurs are said to be planning protests while the torch comes to Istanbul. What do you believe to be the reason of the protest? What are the grievances of those Uigurs?

A: The intention of those saboteurs is very clear. Disrupting and undermining the torch relay which belongs to the people worldwide is a flagrant provocation of the Olympic spirit and Charter and a brazen challenge to the people around the world.

China is a big and harmonious family comprising of 56 ethnic groups and various religions. The 56 ethnic groups treat each other equally, co-exist in a friendly way and seek common development. Xinjiang practices a policy of regional ethnic autonomy, the ethnic minorities enjoy not only the same rights as the Han people, but also some special rights according to law. The government respects and protects the freedom of religious belief. I believe all objective and unbiased people could see these basic facts.

Thanks for your attendance, see you next time.

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