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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 8 November, 2007

2007-11-09

On the afternoon of November 8, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Six-Party Talks, situation in Pakistan, the suicide bombing in Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear issue and etc.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I will start with an announcement.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr. Maduro, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will pay an official visit to China from November 13 to 15.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: Reports from Europe say that China will prohibit foreigners from carrying Bible into the Olympic village during the Beijing Olympic Games. Do you have any comment?

A: I've taken note of relevant report and checked with competent authorities immediately. It turned out to be a pure rumor. The Chinese Government and competent authorities have never formulated such regulations, nor have they released any information like that.

The Chinese Government has always respected and safeguarded foreigners' freedom of religious belief in China according to laws. Provisions on Managing the Religious Activities of Aliens in the PRC clearly stipulates that "When foreign nationals enter China, they may carry printed materials, audio and visual materials and other religious items for their own use". Competent authorities and BOCOG have never promulgated such regulation as the so-called "ban on Bible in the Olympic village". It's absolutely out of the question for China to do so.

I'm deeply suspicious of the hidden agenda of people spreading that rumor. I hope they stop doing things detrimental to the interest of themselves and harmful to the mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and their counterparts around the world.

Q: The US President Bush said that he had no choice but to support Pakistan's President Musharraf. He also said that Pakistan will plunge into chaos if he didn't do so. Then why does China support Musharraf?

A: It's the business of the U.S. to decide the policies to be adopted towards Pakistan. From the perspective of my government, we are following the developments of the situation there. We believe that the Pakistani Government and people are able to solve their own problems and hope Pakistan maintain stability and development.

Q: Do you have any comment on the recent suicide bombing in Afghanistan?

A: China strongly condemns this terrorist attack. We express our condolence to those who lost their lives and solicitude to their bereaved family and the injured. As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, China will as always support relentless efforts made by Afghanistan Government to fight against terrorists and safeguard domestic stability.

Q: It's reported that Singapore's Senior Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew will visit China from November 14 to 17. Please brief us on his schedule. Whom will he meet with?

A: To my knowledge, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has a plan. We are now consulting with Singapore about arrangements of his visit. Once we work out the details, I will announce it in due course.

Q: Reports of "No Bibles in the Olympic village" have drawn much attention in the US. Are you surprised at these reports? Do you agree the outside world have little knowledge about China's religious policy? Since China has eased the restrictions of foreign journalists' reporting activities, will China consider relaxing that of religious activities during the Beijing Olympics?

A: I have taken note that the rumor has exerted certain negative impact internationally, which is the reason that I made official clarification on that just now. Meanwhile, I would like to express my gratitude to the spokesman of the USOC for his clarification on that.

There indeed are a handful of people who are reluctant to see the Olympics to be held in China, not to say a successful one. They not only stand against China, but also against all the good-will people around the world. The Beijing Olympic Games are not only a grand event for the Chinese people, but for the world as well. Those spreading the rumor and attempting to disrupt the Beijing Olympics should reflect on their erroneous acts and refrain from doing anything detrimental to others and to themselves.

As to the religious freedom, China's Constitution guarantees the freedom of Chinese citizens to believe or not to believe in a religion. The Chinese Government handles religious affairs in strict compliance with the law and protects normal religious activities of foreigners in China. Therefore, please be assured that as long as you conduct religious activities according to law, your rights and interests will be fully guaranteed here in China.

Q: Today marks China's Journalists' Day. The Reporters without Borders called upon China to release several detained Chinese journalists. Do you have any comment on that? It is reported that China and Indonesia have signed an agreement on defense cooperation, making Indonesia the first ASEAN country that enters into strategic partnership with China. Could you brief us on the specifics of the agreement?

A: I'd like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to all the Chinese journalists and their foreign counterparts.

As to the accusation you mentioned from the Reporters without Borders, I do not know the basis for their argument and whom they are talking about. If those people are journalists, they should abide by the laws and regulations in China. On the other hand, any violation of law must be punished accordingly. We do not welcome any gossip from this group.

The freedom of lawful coverage by Chinese journalists is fully guaranteed. A few days ago, competent authorities have made special stipulations to ensure the reporting rights of journalists during emergencies. I hope to remind you of that.

I have not read the details of China-Indonesia agreement on defense cooperation. You may refer your question to competent authorities. Both China and Indonesia are countries of major impact in the Asia-Pacific region and the two have maintained smooth and full exchanges and communications in cooperation in all fields including defense. We are willing to strengthen exchanges with Indonesia and make our due contribution to regional peace, stability and development.

Q: When my colleagues and I were reporting around the Tiananmen Square, the police came and asked us to show them our ID cards and passports and took me to the Department of Exit and Entry Administration. It is said that the Beijing police have taken new measures against foreign journalists including requesting us to provide certificates. I do not believe it conforms to the Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and Preparatory Period. Could you tell me why these measures are taken? Will foreign journalists be asked to do so during the Olympics?

A: I understand your concern over this. What you mentioned is an individual case and I haven't got the specifics yet. I'll have my colleagues check that for you right after the press conference. It is understandable if the police made necessary inquiries and asked for your certificates in order to perform their duty. However, if relevant authorities are not clearly aware of the Regulations or failed to implement them correctly, we will contact them and make further clarifications to them. And I hope there will be better communication if there are misunderstandings or lack of cooperation on the part of the journalists. In general, I wish you smooth work in China and I expect to see you abide by Chinese laws and regulations.

Q: President of Iran said yesterday that its nuclear program is irreversible. Will this statement affect China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue? Under what circumstances will China support sanctions against Iran?

A: China is concerned about the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope that the Iranian side will take seriously and respond actively to the concern and appeal of the international community and display more flexibility in dialogue and engagement. We wish relevant parties would settle the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard. We are ready to strengthen communication with relevant parties to press ahead with the Iranian nuclear issue toward a direction conductive to its peaceful settlement.

Q: The US stated that China, as the host country of the Six-Party Talks, would release DPRK's specific measures of disablement of nuclear facilities in Yongbyon. Will China do so? When does China expect DPRK to declare its nuclear program?

A: As for your first question on the release of DPRK's measures of disablement of nuclear facilities, we hope that relevant parties will reach a consensus and China has no difficulty with it. We are glad to see that the current disablement work is smoothly underway. We hope this momentum will be maintained so that goals and tasks specified in the October 3 Joint Document will be accomplished.

As for your second question, the October 3 Joint Document has already defined DPRK's complete declaration on its nuclear program. We hope that relevant commitment could be fulfilled on schedule.

If there are no more questions, we conclude here. Thank you.

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