Press Release: Linking Darfur Issue with Beijing Olympic Games Unpopular(03/06/08)
2008/03/06

 

 

       1. Recently, a few NGOs and some individuals in certain western countries again made remarks and took actions against China's position and role on the Darfur issue of Sudan. Some did this out of concerns for the situation in the Darfur region or lack of understanding of the relevant policy of the Chinese Government. In these cases, China is willing to have dialogue with them on the basis of equality and mutual respect in order to share information and enhance mutual understanding. However, a handful of people, out of ulterior political motives, attempted to link the Darfur issue with China's policy toward Sudan and Africa. They even trumpeted for linkage with and boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games. The Chinese Government and people are firmly against such totally unjustified, irresponsible and extremely unfair actions.

 

       2. The conflicts in the Darfur region of Sudan are decades-old with complicated backgrounds. One of the root causes of this issue is poverty and backwardness. Therefore, the issue boils down to lack of development. It culminated in an explosion of large scale armed tribal conflicts in the Darfur region in February 2003, which led to a severe humanitarian crisis. Military actions were taken by the Sudanese government to crack down on anti-government factions and some of Sudan's neighboring countries are involved in the conflicts. The Darfur issue became an acute hotspot issue drawing international attention.

 

5月22日,刘贵今(前左一)在苏丹西部达尔富尔地区一处难民营的食品分发站了解救援粮食的分发情况.当日,刘贵今访问了达尔富尔地区,实地了解当地形势.刘贵今一行于19日开始访问苏丹. 新华社记者邵杰摄

 

       The Darfur issue is not an issue of China. Nor is it caused by China. However, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a major and responsible country committed to upholding world peace, China has attached great importance to this issue, expressed its desire for an early realization of peace, stability and development in the Darfur region and made tireless efforts toward this end.

 

       The Chinese leaders and government have used different occasions to work on the Sudanese leaders and government, urging them to take the reasonable concerns of the international community seriously, who finally accepted the Annan Plan completely in June 2007 and have since actively participated in the peace process.

 

       China was the first country to suggest, in clear-cut terms, and push for the establishment of a "trilateral mechanism" incorporating the Sudanese government, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations and the application of "two track" strategy, i.e. pushing for parallel progress in the multilateral peacekeeping mission and political negotiations between the Sudanese government and the anti-government armed factions. China intensified its coordination with the international community in pushing the Sudanese government, AU and UN to reach consensus on the deployment of an AU/UN "hybrid operation" in the Darfur region. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1769 in July 2007 and the effort to seek a solution to the Darfur issue was on track. The Sudanese government and the armed anti-government factions had a number of negotiations and signed relevant peace agreements.

 

       China actively participated in the AU/UN "hybrid operation", being the first non-African country to send peacekeepers to Darfur. The Chinese Government pledged to send a multi-purpose engineering company of 315 men to Darfur. Right now, an advance team of 140 soldiers are already in Darfur and the remaining troops will be deployed in due course. The advance engineering corps is working in full swing to get the logistics ready for the future hybrid mission, building garrisons, drilling wells, paving roads and leveling grounds. Their excellent and efficient work is highly commended by the United Nations.

 

 

       China appreciates and supports the AU and UN envoys for the Darfur issue and their efforts in pushing for progress in the political process. The Chinese Government will donate 500,000 US dollars to the UN Trust Fund that provide finance to the work of the two envoys. In addition, China has already donated 1.8 millimillion US dollars to AU.

 

       In May 2007, the Chinese Government designated a special representative for the Darfur issue, Ambassador Liu Guijin, former director-general of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Since his designation, Ambassador Liu has been mediating actively for a solution to the issue. He paid his fourth visit to Sudan recently, where he made his third field trip to Darfur for better understanding of what was happening on the ground. He has maintained close contact and dialogue with his counterparts from Western countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, as well as African countries and the UN. 

 

       3. The Chinese Government cares deeply about the humanitarian crisis emerging in the Darfur region and sympathizes with the displaced people living in the refugee camps. China has been doing its best within its capabilities to help improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur by being the first country to provide development aid to that region and providing more development aid than any other country.

 

       The Chinese Government has provided 5 shipments of humanitarian and development aid valued at 11 million US dollars to the Darfur region since last year, and has been encouraging the Chinese companies in Sudan to make their contribution to the reconstruction and development in Darfur.

 

       The Chinese companies have donated millions of US dollars in the form of building a number of projects that will have a direct effect on the livelihood of the people in Darfur, including 46 wells, 20 micro power plants (18 of which are already finished), 120 schools in mobile structures and a plan for a hospital.

 

       Some Chinese companies are working on water supply projects in southern Darfur funded by a Chinese Government preferential loan of 50 million US dollars. These projects include an 85 kilometer pipeline, generators and water pumps. The Chinese Government will provide additional 90 million US dollars in preferential loan to support a water supply project in northern Darfur, which will soon begin.

 

       4. Given the complicated nature of the Darfur issue, the international community need to work together if a solution is to be found. In particular, the Sudanese government, the various factions, Sudan's neighbors in the region, the African Union, the United Nations and relevant major countries are "stakeholders" and need to cooperate closely and take comprehensive measures. Excluding or accusing any one party will not be helpful in finding a solution to the issue.

 

       To resolve the Darfur issue at its roots, it is important to address the humanitarian crisis, promote the peace process and realize development as soon as possible. The pressing task at the moment is to follow the "two track" strategy and push for balanced progress in peacekeeping and political solution. In other words, the relevant parties should not only attach importance to peacekeeping but also pay attention to the political process.

 

       If one takes an objective view, it is not hard to see that although progress has been slow in resolving the Darfur issue, the current efforts have had some effects. And although difficulties still remain in the peacekeeping operation, there has been some progress. The problems that occurred during the deployment of the AU/UN "hybrid operation", such as SOFA, night flight rights and garrison site selection, either have been or are being gradually solved. Surely, the Sudanese government needs to show more flexibility, make further efforts and continue to cooperate with the international community so that the deployment of the AU/UN "hybrid peacekeeping troops" can be completed at an early date.

 

       In the political process, there has been an absence of substantive progress for months. One of the main reasons for this is that, out of political and other considerations, some anti-government factions have been refusing to have political negotiations with the Sudanese government. Countries that are influential on the factions, particularly the western countries, should throw in their weight and urge the factions to return to the negotiation table. This alone can bring progress in the political process and provide political insurance for the smooth implementation of the peacekeeping operation.

 

       Frankly speaking, a major hurdle prolonging a solution to the Darfur issue is the lack of basic trust and deep mutual suspicion between the Sudanese government and the western countries. China hopes that the relevant western countries will work to improve relations with the Sudanese government in order to reduce misperception and build basic trust. This will be conducive to the resolution of the Darfur issue and will be a real help to the people in the Darfur region. Otherwise, as suspicion and misperception grow, it will be even more difficult to resolve the issue. But if all the relevant parties work together, the Darfur issue will surely have an early solution.

 

       China maintains a normal state-to-state relationship and economic and trade ties with Sudan in the spirit of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan and on the basis of equality and mutual respect. China is only one of seven countries that maintain arms trade with Sudan and, in line with relevant UN resolution and China's own policies regarding arms sale, requires normal defensive usage by the buyer country. In 2006, only 8% of Sudan's total arms imports are from China.

 

       Regarding Darfur issue, China tries to have equal and candid dialogue and communication with the Sudanese government in order to help them understand the requirements and expectations of the international community, put forward suggestions in a friendly way and convince them to show flexibility on certain questions. China's efforts have produced very good results. When Ambassador Liu Guijin, China's special representative for the Darfur issue, visited Sudan recently, President Bashir said to him that bringing an early end to the conflicts in Darfur is a priority for the Sudanese government. He said that the Sudanese government will make every effort to resolve the Darfur issue at an early date and improve the humanitarian situation in the region, and he hoped that the international community will offer their help and work together.

 

       China wants a real solution, an early end to the chaos and realization of peace and development for Darfur rather than reducing the so-called pressure on itself. What China wants is in the interest of the Sudanese people and Africa as a whole. China does not have any selfish interests and has done nothing wrong. China's efforts are widely appreciated and applauded by the international community, including the western governments for being fair and constructive, and China is willing to cooperate with the international community and continue to contribute to the resolution of the Darfur issue.

 

       5. The Beijing Olympic Games is a sports event that the people of China and the world, especially the athletes who are working so hard for the competitions, are waiting for in eager anticipation. It is not a world political forum for solving international and regional issues.

 

 

       However, some NGOs, media and individuals in the western countries have turned a blind eye towards the progress in the peace process of Darfur and China's constructive efforts therein. They have made groundless accusations against China time and again and attempted to link the Darfur issue and other irrelevant issues with the Olympic Games in Beijing. They have even used sensational words to instigate boycott of Beijing Olympics. This is totally out of ulterior motives. Their action is against the universally recognized principle of sports being non-political, against the Olympic spirit, and against the wish of the people throughout the world. It is not surprising that their practice is met with opposition from the governments throughout the world and the International Olympic Committee. The facts show that such actions are unpopular and such attempts will not succeed.

 

       The Chinese Government honors its bidding commitments. Right now, the preparations for the Olympic Games are in full swing and on schedule. The Chinese Government and people are confident that they will be able to host a successful and memorable Olympic Games. A successful Olympic Games will surely be a strong boost to China's reforms, opening-up and development. We believe that the governments throughout the world, the International Olympic Committee and the peoples of all countries will continue to support the Olympic Games in Beijing and welcome this sports pageant for all.

 

(Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America)

 

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