Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on March 3, 2011

On the afternoon of March 3, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference.

Q: After the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 on the situation in Libya, the US, the UK and other countries call for further actions of the UNSC against Libya. What is China's comment on that? King Hamad of Bahrain has asked his son, Crown Prince Salman, to start a national dialogue with all parties concerned in the country. How do you comment?

A: With regard to the situation in Libya, China holds that the discussions at relevant UN agencies should be conducive to an early restoration of stability in Libya. Whether the UNSC should take further actions against Libya will depend on the developments of the situation in Libya and consultations among the UNSC members. We believe there are several principles to follow. First, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya. Second, to push for a peaceful settlement of the current crisis in Libya through dialogue. Third, the UNSC should listen to and respect the opinions of the vast Arab and African countries.

We welcome the efforts of the Bahraini leaders to ease tension through national talks and believe that people in Bahrain have the capability and wisdom to address the problems they are facing and restore stability and order at an early date.

Q: How do you comment on the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs?

A: China is shocked at the news and has sent condolences to Mr. Bhatti's family. We believe that the Pakistani Government can handle this issue properly and maintain the stability and unity of the country.

Q: Does China endorse the proposal of military intervention such as setting up no-fly zone in Libya?

A: We are of the view that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country should be respected in accordance with the norms of the international laws. We hope that countries concerned can properly address the issue according to international laws.

Q: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi mentioned China several times in his speech yesterday, saying that he was willing to transfer the economic interests of the western countries in Libya to countries like China and Russia. What is China's comment on that?

A: Middle East countries are all friends of China. China follows closely the situation in Libya and sincerely hopes that relevant parties can resolve the current crisis peacefully through dialogue so as to restore social stability and normality at an early date. China has always been committed to developing friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

Q: Yesterday, some foreign journalists in Beijing were asked to come to the police and were told that if they wanted to interview someone, they had to apply beforehand and get the consent of the interviewee. Does that mean Decree 537 is no longer in effect?

A: Relevant authorities arranged communication with some journalists in order to help them with their work in China. You said the authorities came to you. I think that may be because of the turmoil caused by some foreign journalists' reporting activities without permission in a busy business district in Beijing. I hope you can deal with it in a right attitude.

As we have repeatedly stressed, Decree 537 remains the guiding regulations for reporting activities by foreign journalists in China. Competent Chinese authorities will protect the legitimate rights and interests of journalists and provide convenience and assistance for their legitimate reporting activities. That is what we have been doing and we will continue to do so.

Q: I want to follow the rules and I did file reporting applications, but I find the explanation by the police confusing. Do you think it is the police who violated Decree 537?

A: Since you are so persistent, I will share the information I get. In recent days, some foreign journalists rallied and took pictures without permission at a busy business street in Beijing, and refused to listen to the management staff on the site. Their prolonged presence affected traffic and disturbed the normal order in the area, causing strong dissatisfaction of the shopkeepers and pedestrians nearby. The policemen on duty tried to guide and disperse the crowd according to law. Those who refused to listen were taken away for further conversation. I believe most of the journalists were there with the hope of getting some scoops. But their behavior constitutes violation of rules and disturbance of social order. Most of the journalists were cooperative with the police and left the site under guidance. Only a few ran into conflict with the police.

I have to point out, if someone seeks more than normal news coverage, but try to make themselves "heroic journalists" by creating news stories at the expense of law, then that is not only a violation of professional ethics but also changes the nature of the whole thing.

Follow-up: Can you specify which article of which law in China that we have broken?

You have broken the rule that applications are required prior to reporting at that location. Don't use the Decree as a shield. The truth is some people are eager for the fray and attempt to create trouble in China. For those with that kind of motive, I don't think the Decree can protect them. I hope you can wisely understand the issue. A true journalist should act in accordance with their professional ethics and abide by laws and regulations in China. Besides, in the previous two cases, those journalists who gathered at that spot didn't get the news they were waiting for. If you receive further instigating message to make another illegal gathering in the coming days, I suggest you report to the police immediately for the law and order of Beijing and your own safety and rights and interests.

Meanwhile, I would like to emphasize that the stability and development that China has achieved through reform and opening up already proves that the development path China chose is correct. To seek stability, development and harmony is the common aspiration of the entire Chinese nation. We will continue to unswervingly follow the development path suitable for China's national conditions and steadfastly safeguard the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. Any attempt to undermine China's social stability will in no way succeed. China's stability and development serve the interests of China and the world as well.

Q: We respect China's regulations, but are confused about how they are implemented. What was allowed doesn't work now. We may unintentionally break China's laws and regulations if we continue with what we understood previously. Could you explain?

A: I believe you know very well about China's development over the years since reform and opening up and the continuous improvement in the reporting environment for foreign journalists after working in China for so many years. With the deepening of reform and opening up, foreign journalists enjoy an increasingly relaxed reporting environment in China. However, it takes mutual respect, trust, understanding and cooperation to maintain a sound reporting environment. I believe if there is more trust and better cooperation, the reporting environment will become smoother and more relaxed.

After the press conference, some journalists asked for the spokesperson's comment on US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's recent remarks that the US is in direct competition with China over influence on the Pacific island countries. Jiang Yu said, both being developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, China and the Pacific island countries enjoy profound traditional friendship, share wide-ranging common interests and boast great potential for mutually-beneficial cooperation. It is the common aspiration of both sides to advance our friendly cooperation.

Over the past years, relations between China and relevant island countries have developed smoothly, with frequent high-level exchanges, steady growth of economic cooperation and trade as well as sound communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. China is committed to providing sincere and selfless assistance to island countries within our capability with a view to helping build up their capacity for independent development and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. Our efforts are well received by people of these countries. Facts have proved that the friendly and cooperative relations between China and the island countries not only bring tangible benefits to both sides but also make positive contributions to the stability, development and prosperity in the region. We hope that the US will keep pace with the times and join China's efforts in developing cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

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