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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on August 29, 2019

2019-08-29

From September 4 to 6, at the invitation of Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua of the State Council will attend the fifth Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, and the two will hold a meeting as chairs of the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation of Northeast China and the Far East and Baikal Region of Russia.

Q: The Yokohama Summit of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) opened recently in Japan. Does China have a comment? Japanese media said that Japan didn't release information on the number of African leaders attending the conference, possibly out of concern that the African side is under Chinese pressure on their attendance. What's your response?

A: Supporting Africa in realizing peace and development is in the interests of the international community and also a shared responsibility. It is a common expectation among African countries that the TICAD summit can support African development. We also hope this conference will focus on cooperation with Africa to deliver tangible benefits.

On your second question, those reports are just baseless speculation. China is always glad to see Africa building diversified cooperation partnerships. We welcome efforts based on equality and mutual respect by Japan and other international partners to help Africa realize lasting peace and self-reliant sustainable development. I need to stress that as African leaders observed on many occasions, there is no shortage of international conferences on Africa and they welcome pledges of assistance to African countries, but the key lies in honoring commitments with actions. We hope the international community will listen to them and make constructive efforts to support Africa in speeding up development.

Q: You said yesterday that the US and Mexico both confirmed the items seized in Mexico were not fentanyl, and that China was investigating this matter. Can you tell us if there has been any progress? Also, some American media are still reporting that "the fentanyl products seized in Mexico were trafficked from China". The US White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said on Twitter that "China continues to pour poison in our communities." I wonder what is your comment?

A: As I said yesterday, the Chinese authority pays high attention to this matter and started investigation immediately. It contacted the US and Mexican sides, and they both confirmed that those were not fentanyl. According to the competent Chinese authority, it has figured out the whole transaction process of those substances and has inspected and identified them. They are neither fentanyl products nor their scheduled precursors. In fact, they are 920 bags of calcium chloride weighing 23,000 kilograms and 11 bags of N-phenylpiperidine-4-amine weighing 275 kilograms, which are widely-used industrial chemicals. They are not controlled by the UN, the US or China.

The US is a major player in the global chemical industry. To address its problem of fentanyl products abuse, it needs to look for the causes at home and come up with feasible solutions. On the contrary, pinning blames on others is neither constructive nor practical. China stands ready to deepen cooperation with the US and other countries to advance joint management of fentanyl-like substances and solve the abuse problem together.

Q: Australian Prime Minister said on Thursday that he would advocate for the release of an Australian citizen Yang Jun. I wonder if China has any response?

A: I stated China's position regarding this case several times this week.

The remarks by some in Australia are simply fact-distorting and self-contradictory. On one hand, they claim to respect China's judicial sovereignty and not to interfere in China's judicial matters. But on the other, they keep on with their finger-pointing on matters within China's sovereignty to cast blame and exert pressure. I reiterate that China is a country with rule of law and Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently in accordance with law. I advise the Australian side to stop making groundless and irresponsible remarks and stop hyping up the case to pressure China. It should work to cement rather than undermine our bilateral relations and mutual trust.

Q: The Council of Europe has nominated the jailed Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti for one of its highest human rights awards. Do you have any comments on this and any information you can share about Mr. Tohti's current condition?

A: The man you mentioned, Ilham Tohti, a separatist in support of extreme terrorism, was sentenced to life in prison for separatist activities by China's judicial authority. When he was a college teacher, he called extremists and terrorists who staged violent attacks "heroes" in class, and lured and coerced others to go abroad and engage in East Turkistan separatist activities.

The council concerned attempts to whitewash such a separatist in support of extremist terrorism under the false flag of human rights and freedom. By doing so, it is condoning and encouraging his criminal activities. It is also an insult on and a travesty of human rights. We urge it to withdraw the nomination and stop supporting separatist and terrorist forces.

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