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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 11, 2008


On the afternoon of March 11, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the US and the DPRK's plan to meet in Geneva, the G20 ministerial meeting on climate change, the Beijing Olympic Games and etc.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Now the floor is open for questions.

Q: How do you view an Ethiopian marathoner's decision to not take part in the Beijing Olympics because of air pollution, which he said could harm his health?

A: Like other provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China, Beijing has been making endeavors to clean up environment. We are improving the environment not merely for the sake of Olympics, but also to materialize the scientific outlook of development, achieve sustainable development, and improve people's livelihood. Since it succeeded in the bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing has been intensifying its efforts in treating environmental pollution and improving air quality. I'd like to take this opportunity to brief you on these efforts.

Since 1998, we have carried out a 13-stage of comprehensive prevention and treatment work with over 200 measures. As a result, the air quality in Beijing has been gradually improved in the past 10 years. It's not hard for people who have been in Beijing for some time to find that the sky here is getting clearer, and air quality is getting better, particularly in recent days. According to statistics, in 2007, there were 246 days with air quality at or above the second level, accounting for nearly 68% of the year. To better prepare for the Olympics, the Beijing Municipality and its five surrounding provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions established a coordination task force in order to take joint efforts to improve Beijing's air quality. We have also developed plans to guarantee air quality for Beijing Olympics, including measures prior to the Olympics and in the midst of Olympics. Comprehensive measures have been taken to treat air pollution before the Games. Intensive measures of emission reduction will be taken to further bring pollution and emission under control during the Games.

We believe that during the Olympics, the indicators of Beijing's major air pollutants will reach the national standard, or the guided standard set by the WHO, thus creating a clean and beautiful environment for the Beijing Olympics.

We welcome athletes from all over the world including this Ethiopian athlete to compete on the arena in Beijing, and wish them success.

Q: Do you believe the talks between the US and the DPRK in Geneva this Thursday will help solve the issues that stall the Six-Party Talks? Is the DPRK chief nuclear negotiator, Mr. Kim Gye Gwan meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing ?

A: I have been lately informed that the US and the DPRK representatives are going to have talks in Geneva. We find the news desirable. We hope that all parties concerned will maintain close communication, build up mutual understanding and trust through dialogue and make even greater efforts to advance the Six-Party Talks. We hope to see positive results out of the forthcoming meeting between the US and the DPRK.

I'm not aware of whether Mr. Kim Gye Gwan is in Beijing.

Q: Some organizations said that the Chinese Government exaggerated the terrorist threat in Xinjiang. Kadeer even alleged the recent uncovery of a terrorist group in Xinjiang as a fabrication to crack down on the Uighurs. Do you have any comments?

A: Recently, police in Xinjiang has uncovered a terrorist group backed by the "Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement" (ETIM), and spotted some terrorism-related materials and weapons. After interrogation, the suspects admitted guilty of establishing a violent terrorist group to carry out potential terrorist activities under ETIM's command. The case is still under investigation.

We would like to stress that terrorism is an enemy to the entire international community. ETIM, which is behind the terrorist group in Xinjiang, is listed by the UN Security Council as a terrorist organization. The international community should speak with one voice and act in unison to combat terrorism.

We also maintain that terrorism should not be linked with particular ethnic or religious groups. These terrorists cannot represent the vast majority of the Uighur people, who, like other ethnic groups in China, are peace-loving, and resolutely opposed to extremism, separatism and terrorism. Some people including Kadeer intend to link the Chinese Government's effort of anti-terrorism with the vast majority of the Uighur compatriots out of ulterior motives. Their plan is to provoke tension between the Han nationality and the Uighur ethnic group. They are not going to get anywhere because they will meet with resolute opposition from the entire Chinese people including the Uighur people. Individuals like Kadeer can not represent the Uighur people. What she represents is only a small handful of separatists and terrorists. I hope that friends from the press will stay sober-minded on this issue.

Q: Do you have more details about what happened on the flight of the China Southern Airlines? Who have been arrested? Is it related to terrorists?

A: What I have learnt from relevant authorities is as follows: on March 7, on Flight CZ6901 of China Southern Airlines from Urumqi to Beijing, crew members found some individual passengers holding suspicious liquid. To ensure safety of all on board, the plane landed temporarily at the Zhongchuan Airport of Lanzhou in Gansu Province. It arrived in Beijing later with all passengers and crew members safe and sound. As I understand, further investigation is still underway.

Q: Who will represent China at the upcoming G-20 meeting on climate change hosted by Japan and what do you hope to achieve? Japan suggests applying sectoral caps on carbon emissions. What is China's position on that?

A: Xie Zhenhua, Vice Director of National Development and Reform Commission will head a delegation to attend the meeting. On the issue of climate change, the international community should reinforce communication and cooperation so as to find out effective ways to address it. Mr. Xie and the Chinese delegation will attend the meeting with an active, pragmatic and open attitude. I hope the rest of the participants can also engage in dialogue and discussions in the same spirit.

As a matter of fact, there are various initiatives on how to deal with climate change, which is a reflection of attention from the international community. We are open to proposals that are in accordance with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the arrangement of the "Bali roadmap", and the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities in particular.

It is imperative now that the developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions and providing developing countries with technical and financial assistance as much as possible to enhance their ability to deal with climate change. All the developing countries, including China, will take active measures in line with their own sustainable development strategy.

Q: Do you believe the recent incident aboard the China Southern airplane is also related to terrorism?

A: I'd like to remind you of what I said earlier, the case is under further investigation and the result will be found out sooner or later.

Q: Some are worrying that whether China could guarantee the security of the Beijing Olympics. Do you have any comment?

A: The Chinese Government attaches great important to the security of the Beijing Olympics. We have set up a state-level security agency and a directing system drawing on experiences of previous Olympics. We also formulated a strategy plan in line with the request of the IOC. At present, competent authorities are implementing every measure regarding the security of the Beijing Olympics.

I would like to stress that China is a safe place on the whole. However, we will still exert our utmost efforts to do a good job in security protection. We have the resolve, confidence and capability to ensure a safe and smooth Beijing Olympics.

Q: Human Rights Watch issued a report claiming that the migrant workers in China are exploited. How do you respond?

A: We are all well aware of the nature of this group. It claims itself to be Human Rights Watch, yet it always has a problem with its eyesight. It has been suffering from cataract and amblyopia. Could believe a picture seen or a conclusion drawn by someone with such a vision? In spite of its troubled eyesight, it persists in wearing colored spectacles. We suggest it get a pair of right glasses.

Q: Yesterday, Dalai released a strong statement, saying that the Chinese Government has strengthened its control over Tibet, seriously violated the human rights in Tibet and there is no religious or political freedom there. Do you have any comment?

A: Dark theocracy and feudal serfdom were practiced in old Tibet. Since the peaceful revolution and democratic reform, earthshaking changes have taken place in Tibet. In particular, in recent years, the central government has enhanced its support to Tibet. It is witnessed by all that Tibet is enjoying economic development, social stability, ethnic unity and religious harmony.

Tibet is developing with the progress of the era, which is an irreversible trend. It is unwise to distort the fact and politicize the Beijing Olympics. Any attempt of this kind will surely get nowhere. We hope the Dalai Lama could face up to history and reality and take concrete measures to do things for the benefit of Tibetan people in his life time.

The Dalai clique always says the culture, religion and environment is being destroyed. My answer is, in Tibet, there is something that has been destroyed. But that is not its culture, nor religion or environment, but the dark serfdom which has been destroyed for good and will never be restored.

If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.

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