The Russia-Ukraine conflict.
China’s position on this issue is consistent, clear-cut, and objective and fair, Amb. Hu Zhangliang said, stating that China is committed to promoting peace talks as the right direction. China calls for a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and supports Russia and Ukraine in carrying out direct dialogue.
He assured China’s commitment to upholding the basic norms governing international relations and opposes putting small and medium-sized countries at the forefront of geopolitical rivalry.
China is committed to preventing the resurgence of the Cold War mentality. China advocates the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and respects and accommodates the legitimate and reasonable concerns of all parties.
China is committed to upholding the legitimate rights and interests of all countries and opposes unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law, he said, disclosing that both Russia and Ukraine have appreciated China’s impartial and objective position on the Ukraine issue and assuring China’s continued constructive role on this issue.
We hope to see an early end to the conflict. It is also our hope that relevant parties will stop adding fuel to the flame, he said.
Amb. Hu condemned the disinformation disseminated by certain super power and NATO against China on the Ukraine issue, with attempt to shift blame, stoke confrontation and profit from the issue. Such a practice is malicious, HE Hu said.
He explained that the ins and outs of how the Ukraine issue has evolved to what it is today are very clear. The moves by the super power-led NATO have pushed the Russia-Ukraine tension to the breaking point. He said while those countries are looking away from their own responsibility, they criticize China with a view to maintaining its hegemony, stating that the more they rack their brains to discredit China with lies and hype things up, the more they expose their credibility deficit to the international community.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has been widely compared to the issue between decades old China-Taiwan. Clearing the air on this, Amb. Hu said such comparison is completely out of reason, saying that the Taiwan question is essentially different from the Ukraine issue. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. This makes it fundamentally different from a sovereign country like Ukraine, he said.
The Taiwan question is a legacy of China’s civil war. How to solve the Taiwan question is China’s internal affair and no foreign country has the right to interfere with. Those who deliberately compare the question of Taiwan with the Ukraine issue and spread the fallacy of the so-called “lack of conclusions on Taiwan’s international status” harbor a vile intention rather than run out of common sense. Their real agenda is to create a new crisis across the Taiwan Strait so as to serve certain countries’ geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of the well-being of the people across the Strait and regional peace and stability.
The Chinese people’s resolve and determination to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity is invincible. Those who play with and fan up the fire on the Taiwan question will only wind up burning themselves, he said.
Global Security Initiative.
The current international situation forces China to think about how the world can achieve real peace and what kind of security is real security. Amb. Hu Zhangliang said H.E. President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative at the Boao Forum on 21 April,2022, providing China’s wisdom and solution to make up for the global security deficit and guard world peace and tranquility. The Initiative consisted of six points:
First, Stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security;
Second, Stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries;
Third, Stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation;
Fourth, Stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security;
Fifth, Stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction;
Sixth, Stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.
The initiative has been widely recognized and supported by the international community, the Ambassador said, further noting that Human history has proven time and again that without peace, development will be like water without source; without security, prosperity will be like trees without roots.
The GSI, he said, is an effort to stand up to the changes of the world and answer the questions of the times. Building on the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, the GSI seeks to promote the establishment of balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. It thus offers a new approach to eliminating the root causes of international conflicts and achieving durable stability and security in the world.
China and Sierra Leone are both peace loving countries and both wish to achieve prosperity and progress in a peaceful environment. For a long time, China and Sierra Leone have maintained close cooperation in international affairs, jointly participated in global governance, and made valuable contributions to the safeguarding of world peace.
“I’m sure that our Sierra Leonean media friends will fully understand and support the global security initiative and use your pen and your voices to further promote this initiative so as to build greater momentum for its success,’ he said.
China’s “dynamic zero”policy on fighting COVID-19
The Ambassador said since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese government has been committed to a people-first and life-first philosophy and put in place scientific measures in combating the pandemic. Later on, China adopted a viable approach of preventing imported cases from abroad and resurgence at home and implemented a dynamic zero-COVID policy. Such a strategy has been proven to be very successful.
He continued that China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy is not aimed at realizing zero infection, but rather at bringing COVID-19 under control at the minimum social cost in the shortest time possible so as to effectively protect the health, normal life and production of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to the maximum, adding that the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population in most parts of the country can enjoy normal life and production. The COVID-19 infection rate and mortality rate in China remain the lowest in the world.
I have seen reports based on new modelling by scientists in China and the US indicating that China risks over 1.5 million COVID deaths if it drops its dynamic zero-COVID policy. China’s huge population especially the large number of elderly people warrants and justifies the dynamic zero-COVID policy. Not long ago, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific commended China’s COVID-19 response, he said.
However, recently, there are some people saying that China’s epidemic prevention policy is unsustainable and should be adjusted. I would like to stress that the Chinese government has formulated and implemented the dynamic zero-COVID policy based on China’s national realities and has been adjusting prevention and control protocols based on the changing conditions. The purpose is solely to protect people’s life and health to the greatest extent possible and to ensure sustained, sound and steady economic and social development. In China, we have the foundation, conditions and capabilities to achieve dynamic zero-COVID. We have every confidence in winning this hard battle and making greater contributions to the united global response.
What kind of policy to be formulated and implemented depends on a country’s actual situation and abilities. China never asks other countries to do the same as China, and does not want others to point their fingers at China according to their own standards or likes and dislikes.
China’s contribution and sacrifice to the international community’s fight against the pandemic is huge and significant. It is neither fair nor moral to make irresponsible remarks about China’s correct actions to safeguard its own people’s health and the health and safety of the mankind.
China-Sierra Leone cooperation in the fishing sector
Fishery is one of the traditional areas of China-Sierra Leone cooperation starting from the 1980s. According to Amb. Hu, the Chinese fishing enterprises have created thousands of direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs for the Sierra Leonean people.
By paying a handsome amount of various fees and taxes to the Sierra Leonean government and helping Sierra Leone earn a lot of foreign exchange through the export of fish catches, the Chinese fishing enterprises have also made significant contributions to the economic development of Sierra Leone and the improvement of living standards of its people, he said.
He continued that during the Ebola epidemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic and in times of other natural disasters, the Chinese fishing companies have always offered a helping hand to the local people and received appreciation and acknowledgement from the government and people of Sierra Leone.
However, there are certain reports criticizing China-Sierra Leone fishing cooperation. Some reports claim that the Chinese fishing enterprises are exploiting the local fishery resources. Some reports express unhappiness about the so-called meager salaries and maltreatment of local workers. Some reports say that the Chinese vessels engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.
But he stated that investigations disclosed that such reports are not true. Very often, they present a one-sided story either because of inadequate information or because of certain kind of prejudice.
According to the statistics, about 75% of fish catches of the Chinese fishing companies are sold to the local market, which ensures the sufficient supply of fish to the local people.
According to the Ambassador, the standard of salary of the workers employed by Chinese fishing companies are set by the market and recognized by the Ministry of Labor and the Fisheries Union of Sierra Leone. The working conditions, facilities and treatment of the local workers meet the requirements of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Sierra Leone, and are regularly inspected by the Ministry and supervised by the observers dispatched by the Ministry.
He said, the Sierra Leonean workers get along well with the Chinese fishing enterprises and they enjoy working on the Chinese fishing vessels, adding that the Chinese government always requires Chinese fishing companies to strictly abide by the laws of the countries where they conduct their operations. All the Chinese fishing vessels authorized by the Chinese government under bilateral agreement on cooperation are installed with position monitoring devices, any IUU fishing activities will be heavily dealt with not just by the host country, but also by the Chinese government.
Coming back to the media, Amb. Hu reiterated :The value of the media lies in their integrity. I believe that our media friends here will continue to report on China and China-Sierra Leone cooperation in an objective, fair, friendly and professional manner, so that the exchanges and mutual understanding between our two sides will be further enhanced.