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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 20, 2008

2008-03-21

On the afternoon of March 20, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the recent serious criminal act of violence involving smashing, looting, beating and arson in Lhasa.

Qin: Good afternoon. I would like to take your questions.

Q: Could you tell me how many armed police are deployed in Tibet? According to reports, similar incidents also took place in Gansu and Sichuan provinces. What measures did the Chinese Government take to put down the unrest? Has the PLA been involved? According to the Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Olympic Games and Preparatory Period, foreign journalists are free to report in China. Why we are not allowed to go to the western areas? Is that contradictory to the Regulations?

A: At present, social order and stability has been restored in Lhasa. The breaches of law in other places have been dealt with. I'd like to stress, any attempt to disrupt social stability and instigate separation is unpopular and doomed to failure.

Given the circumstances in some areas, Chinese law-enforcement authorities have the right to take special measures in line with the law. And I hope the press and journalists would understand this and cooperate with them. You just said that the Regulations allow free reporting by foreign journalists in China, however, there is no absolute freedom anywhere in the world. Besides, Article One of the Regulations stipulates that these Regulations are formulated to facilitate reporting activities by foreign journalists in China in accordance with the laws of the People's Republic of China. We hope foreign journalists abide by Chinese laws and relevant regulations.

I'd like to reiterate that foreign journalists are always welcome here to cover China fairly and objectively. This remains unchanged. Please understand the special measures taken by law enforcers under special circumstances, which is a common practice around the world.

Q: At the press conference during the NPC and CPPCC sessions, Premier Wen Jiabao said that China would consider organizing a reporting trip to Tibet for foreign journalists. When will the trip start since the situation in Tibet has been almost stabilized? Besides, could you give us more details on the phone conversation between Premier Wen Jiabao and UK Prime Minister Brown? Prime Minister Brown said the biggest question now is to have dialogue with Dalai while China criticizes Brown for planning to meet with Dalai. Could you explain that?

A: We fully understand your urgent feeling to cover the incident. Relevant work on the trip to Lhasa is under way, and we will update you in due course.

As to your second question, we have released relevant information. During the conversation, Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Brown exchanged views on bilateral relations and touched upon the recent criminal act of violence in Tibet.

We express grave concern over Prime Minister Brown's decision to meet with Dalai. We have, on many occasions, pointed out that Dalai is not just a religious figure, rather, a political exile long engaged in separatist activities. The recent serious criminal act of violence involving beating, smashing, looting and arson in Lhasa has fully exposed the separatist nature of the Dalai clique. We strongly urge the UK to recognize the true nature of Dalai and refrain from supporting in whatever form Dalai and his separatist activities.

Q: Dalai said he does not support violence and he would resign if the violence escalated. Do you have any comment? Are you going to have dialogue with him?

A: Social stability and order has been restored in Lhasa now. The recent criminal act of violence has aroused grave indignation and strong condemnation among the people of all ethnicities in Tibet. It is premeditated, organized and instigated by the Dalai clique which could not escape from the responsibility.

Premier Wen Jiabao explicitly reiterated the Central Government's principled stance on the dialogue with Dalai. Our position on that is persistent, clear and remains unchanged.

Q: Chinese officials, in a recent briefing, said that no lethal weapon was used in handling the Lhasa incident by law-enforcers. Is it the same case in the Tibetan communities of other provinces? My second question, will the situation in Lhasa affect President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan scheduled in May?

A: During the process of handling the violent incident in Lhasa, the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region and law-enforcement authorities have exercised tremendous restraint. They haven't carried or used any lethal weapon. Not a single country in the world will tolerate such kind of violence. Any responsible government has the right to deal with it according to its constitution and laws in a bid to safeguard social stability, law and order, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of people. We are capable of making this happen.

On your second question, we have expounded on the position of the Chinese Government on the Lhasa incident on many occasions, pointing out its nature and cause. I believe any unbiased country and government upholding justice will understand and support the measures taken by the Chinese authorities according to law. I have not heard that the incident would affect President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan, unless somebody intends to create new obstacles for China-Japan relations.

Q: The Pope said in Rome yesterday that he was sad to see the incident in Lhasa and called for tolerance on both sides. Do you have any comment? UK Prime Minister Brown said Premier Wen Jiabao expressed his willingness to conduct dialogue with Dalai under certain conditions. What are the specific conditions?

A: I have to point out that the incident in Lhasa is a serious criminal act of violence involving beating, smashing, looting and arson. The purpose is to disrupt social stability, undermine people's harmonious life, sabotage the Beijing Olympics and harm national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. I believe any unbiased and righteous country and people will draw a correct conclusion.

You all have seen the relevant video clips and pictures. Are those acts so-called "peaceful demonstration" or violent crimes? Are killing, arson, looting, smashing shops, schools and banks "peaceful demonstration"? How can these acts be tolerated? If so, is there any room for law, human rights or justice in the world? The relevant authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region take measures against rioters to protect social order, stability and fundamental interests of the people. We hope the international community fully understand and support that.

Q: Two German journalists were expelled from Tibet today. Do you have any comment? Is there any casualty during the riots in Gansu and Sichuan, in particular, Aba County? The "Tibetan government in-exile" released photos of those wounded in Aba riots, how do you respond to that?

A: I don't have the specific information of the two German journalists reporting in Tibet. We understand the interest and needs of you to cover the incident, meanwhile, we hope you could respect and comply with Chinese laws and regulations, and follow the arrangement of Chinese law-enforcers.

Relevant authorities have dealt with the groups of people involved in disruption of social order in other areas. I don't have any details on that.

Q: It is reported that when having telephone conversation with Prime Minister Brown, Premier Wen said the Central Government will have dialogue with Dalai subject to two preconditions. Can you confirm? The Chinese Government said it has ample evidence to prove the Lhasa incident is premeditated by the Dalai Clique. When can you produce the evidence? Is the Chinese Government satisfied with the reports of western media on the issue? Do you believe the western journalists will report the incident objectively if they are allowed to cover it on spot?

A: I have already briefed you on the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Brown and Premier Wen. Some reports are not accurate, so I would like to make a clarification. Premier Wen reiterated China's position on having dialogue with Dalai, which is, Dalai must renounce his proposition for Tibet independence and stop separatist activities. Based on that, the door for dialogue will stay open.

I can assure you that as the investigations unfold, the competent authorities will release the evidence. Actually, if you read recent reports by foreign media, they also suggest that the Dalai Clique is behind the violent incident. The series of activities of the Dalai Clique in foreign countries have turned themselves in that they are connection with the incident.

We have taken note of the strong interest of foreign media in the incident and their intensive reports. Some reports are objective, and others are absolutely not in line with the fact. We hope the media can respect the facts and take a responsible attitude. We wish to see objective and fair reports that follow the ethics of journalism. As to on-spot reporting in Tibet, we understand your aspiration and we are trying to make the arrangement. But for those reports, especially those that challenge facts, it makes no difference whether they are on-spot or not. Sometimes it is about common sense. It is about ethics of journalism.

Q: In the past, when foreign leaders met with Dalai, you said it hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. If foreign leaders continue to meet with him in the future, will it undermine China's relations with these countries?

A: Our position on the issue is clear-cut. In fact, the serious crime of violence has fully exposed again the separatist nature of the Dalai clique. We hope the international community, related countries and government see through the separatist nature of the Dalai Clique, and do not support in whatever form Dalai and his separatist activities.

Q: You just mentioned that you can tell from the western media report that the Dalai clique is behind the Lhasa incident. How do you define the Dalai clique? Are they the people or organizations in Britain, India and the US that support Tibet independence? How are they connected? Second, recently China has been largely criticized on the Tibet question, Darfur issue, air pollution and so on. Do you think these are views of individuals or it reflects that the western countries do not want to see a successful Beijing Olympics or the western governments want to exert more pressure on China?

A: I have already answered your first question just now. Facts are facts which can not be distorted or covered up. The truth will be disclosed sooner or later. As the investigations unfold, the related evidence will be released. Those incidents happened simultaneously, from the violent crimes involving beating, smashing up properties, looting and arson in Lhasa as well as other places within China, to the attacks against Chinese overseas diplomatic missions. All the incidents act in collusion in and outside China. Do you still believe that they are all accidental or isolated?

On your second question, we are ready to develop friendly cooperation with all countries in the world following the UN Charter and universally-recognized norms governing international relations. Chinese people are peace-loving and friendly. We hope to exchange views and enhance mutual understanding with people from all countries in the world. Chinese Government is a responsible government. We uphold international cooperation and common development so as to promote world peace, stability and development. Some people in the world do not want to see China's progress and attempt to create obstacles for China's development. The examples in your question only represent a handful of people who run counter to the trend of times and the common will of people around the world. They represent neither the international community nor the trend of the world so their attempt is unpopular and doomed to failure. The vast majority of the countries in the world stick to the One China principle. There is not single country in the world that recognizes Tibet as an independent state or acknowledges the so-call Tibet Government in-Exile. All the countries are committed to developing friendly cooperation with China. This is the mainstream and trend of the times.

Q: How do you define the Dalai clique? Are they a handful of people or hundreds of persons? Are they in Dharamsala? How are they funded and operating? Have you known about the uprising before hand?

A: Actually you are well aware of the definition of the Dalai Clique. They are those following Dalai and long engaged in the separatist activities. Can't you see them clearly through their recently performance?

We have the capability to maintain social stability and safeguard our national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. I wonder whether it's your misunderstanding or political preference to call this an "uprising". This is by no means an "uprising", but a crime, a sin. If this hard fact is denied, then there will be no room for justice or fairness in this world.

Q: If it is true that the Dalai Lama is behind the violent criminal incident in Lhasa as you said, then he is guilty of the crime. Will China thus ask the Indian government to extradite him, or resort to the Interpol for investigation? If not, why not?

A: Our position on the Dalai Lama is consistent and clear-cut, and it has remained unchanged.

Q: During his telephone conversation with Prime Minister Brown, Premier Wen Jiabao said that there are two preconditions for dialogue with the Dalai Lama: one, Dalai must renounce the preposition of "Tibetan Independence", and two, Dalai must stand on the opposite side of violence. This week, Dalai seems to have fulfilled both preconditions. Does that mean that time is now mature for the Chinese Government to talk with Dalai?

A: We require the Dalai Lama to give up his so-called position of "Tibetan Independence" in real sense, and thoroughly cease any activities aiming at separating Tibet from the motherland. When it comes to Dalai, we cannot take for granted what he says without watching his deeds. The series of things that happened in recent days are adequate to prove that he is not like what he claims. We hope that he will have a thorough reflection of himself so as to create conditions for dialogue. He denies himself to be a separatist, but his propositions and actions tell us that he has never truly stopped separatist remarks and actions.

Q: ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan is in China today. Could you brief us on his itinerary? Whom will he meet with? What will be discussed?

A: Mr. Yu Myung-hwan met with Minister Wang Jiarui of the International Department of CPC Central Committee. He will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao this afternoon, talk with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi tomorrow morning and meet with State Councilor Dai Bingguo tomorrow afternoon.

If there are no further questions, thank you for your attendance. See you!

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