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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 18, 2008

2008-03-19

On the afternoon of March 18, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the grave violent crime involving beating, smashing, looting and burning in Lhasa, Korean Peninsular nuclear issue and etc.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to make.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Bingu wa Mutharika of the Republic of Malawi will pay a state visit to China from March 24 to 30.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Sanjaasuren Oyun, Foreign Minister of Mongolia will pay an official visit to China from March 24 to 27.

Now the floor is open.

Q: A Tibetan official said that those who involved in the violent crime in Lhasa should surrender themselves before midnight yesterday. How many of them have surrendered? Have the relevant authorities begun to search and arrest those who did not surrender?

A: Up till now, relevant authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region are dealing with the grave violent crime involving beating, smashing, looting and burning in Lhasa in accordance with law. I haven't received the information you asked for. However, the situation in Lhasa has been stabilized and social order there is back to normal.

Q: Yesterday, International Olympic Committee(IOC) said that the air pollution in Beijing could pose a threat to athletes' health, and they would consider canceling some sports events of the Beijing Olympic Games. Do you have any comment? It is reported that China has stopped importing iron ore from Australia, for China is concerned that the merge of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto could affect the price of iron. Can you comment on that?

A: I haven't heard of the remarks by IOC officials that you mentioned. On the contrary, what I heard is that IOC officials said explicitly that the air quality in Beijing will meet the criteria for sports during the Beijing Olympic Games.

With regard to improving environment and air quality in Beijing, officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee have repeatedly reaffirmed that athletes from all countries can be assured to compete in the sports arena in Beijing. We will try our best to provide a sound environment with better air for them to achieve good scores in the Games.

With regard to your second question, I don't know the specifics. The merge of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto is an international commercial practice which should follow market rules.

Q: Yesterday, EU issued an official statement, urging China to clarify the incident in Lhasa last week and have an overall investigation of the incident. What's your response to that?

A: I don't know whether or not EU has noted our positions on this issue. Competent officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region have briefed the press on the incident in Lhasa.

The incident is a grievous violent crime involving beating, smashing, looting and burning, which has led to great losses of people's lives and property, and severely undermined social order. There is sufficient evidence that this incident was premeditated, organized and instigated by the separatist group led by the Dalai Lama and perpetrated by separatist forces for Tibetan independence both in and outside China acting in collusion.

The incident is not the so-called "peaceful demonstrations" or "peaceful expression of political and religious views". Rather, it involves grievous violence. The brutal and cruel butcher of innocent people has aroused deep indignation and strong condemnation among people of various nationalities in Tibet. It is reasonable and legitimate for relevant authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region to deal with the incident in accordance with law in a bid to maintain social order, uphold legal system and safeguard the fundamental interests of the people. Throughout the process, law enforcement personnel exercised extreme restraint. The incident has once again exposed the separatist nature of the Dalai clique as well as the hypocrisy and deceitfulness of his claimed "peace" and "non-violence". We hope that relevant states and international organizations could respect facts, draw a clear line between the right and wrong, and uphold the justice.

This grave violent criminal incident has undermined state sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, jeopardized life and property of citizens of a country, and violated the UN Charter and fundamental norms governing international relations. Not a single responsible government will remain silent or sit back when those violent activities of beating, smashing, robbing and burning take place. The Chinese Government is capable of safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintaining social order and stability, as well as protecting life and property of the vast majority of people.

Q: Has DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan met with Mr. Wu Dawei, his counterpart in Beijing? How will China comment on the recent US-DPRK meeting in Geneva?

A: I'm not aware of the schedule of Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan in Beijing.

Both the US and the DPRK have briefed China on their recent meeting in Geneva. We view this contact as helpful. We hope they can stay in communication, meet each other half way, and strive for a prompt and proper solution of the relevant questions. This will create favorable conditions for the comprehensive and balanced implementation of the second phase action of the Six-Party Talks and the plan of the next step of the Talks.

Q: If foreign governments or leaders meet with Dalai in the future, will China protest as usual, or adopt a harder stance? Dalai held a press conference and accused the Chinese Government of exercising "culture genocide" in Tibet. He also called for international investigation on the recent incident in Tibet. What's your reaction?

A: The position of the Chinese Government on Dalai's visit to other countries is clear-cut and resolute. Dalai is not a purely religious figure, but a political exile engaged in activities aimed at splitting the motherland and undermining national unity under the pretext of religion. The violent criminal incident in Lhasa exposed once again the separatist nature of the Dalai Clique. Any unbiased country and government that upholds justice will reach a correct conclusion. We firmly oppose any official of any country meeting with Dalai, facilitating or providing venues to his separatist words and deeds. Our position remains unchanged.

As a matter of fact, the Chinese Government's principled stance and propositions on the Tibetan issue are widely supported and understood by the international community. There is not a single country or government in the world recognizes the so-called "Tibetan Government-in-Exile", or views Tibet as an independent country. This is the basic point of departure when all countries in the world handle the Tibetan issue. We hope the international community can better see the separatist nature of the Dalai Clique through the incident in Lhasa.

On your second question, what the international community should focus on and question is exactly the role of Dalai himself in the grievous violent and criminal incident of beating, smashing, looting, burning and killing. It is exactly the Dalai clique and the Dalai Lama himself that should be interrogated.

Follow up: Will China bring Dalai up for trial?

A: At least, he should be put under moral trial.

Q: You just said you have evidence to prove the Dalai clique is behind the Lhasa incident. Can you show us the evidence?

A: We have ample evidence that the Dalai clique is the mastermind of the violent and criminal incident. As the investigation unfolds, we will release related evidence in due course.

Q: After meeting with the US officials in Geneva, the DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan said the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is the one between the DPRK and the US, and they keep a wary eye on China's intermediary role. Do you have any comment?

A: I have not heard of Mr. Kim's remarks as you described. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is the one between the DPRK and the US as well as among the six parties. If it is only between the DPRK and the US, I don't think it is necessary for the DPRK side to come to Beijing for the Six-party Talks. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the six parties, we can press ahead with the Six-party Talks step by step. There is no denial that China has made arduous efforts and played a constructive role in the process which is recognized by all. The DPRK side has expressed their appreciation to that on various occasions.

Q: Will Dalai be tried if he returns to China?

A: Our position on Dalai has remained unchanged. Premier Wen has already answered related questions at the press conference this morning.

Q: The Japanese media say President Hu will visit Japan in May. Can you share with us more information on his itinerary?

A: President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan is an important one and is of great significance to the long-term healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations. Both sides attach great importance to the visit. The two Foreign Ministries are having proactive and intensive consultation on his schedule there. Once the date is fixed, we will make the announcement in due course.

If there are no further questions, thank you! Bye-bye!

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