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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 18, 2019

2019-02-18

Q: On February 16, in his speech at the Munich Security Conference, US Vice President Mike Pence said that the US has been very clear with its security partners on the threat posed by Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies, as Chinese law requires them to provide Beijing's vast security apparatus with access to any data that touches their network or equipment. Some other people of the US side have also accused China's National Intelligence Law recently, especially Article 7, claiming that it requires Chinese companies to coordinate with the government to steal secrets. What is China's comment?

A: I have taken note of Vice President Pence's remarks and similar remarks from the US side. In response, I'd like to emphasize a few points here.

First, relevant remarks made by the US side are just wrong and biased interpretation of relevant Chinese laws. China's National Intelligence Law stipulates not only the obligations of organizations and individuals to lawfully support, assist and coordinate with the country's intelligence service, but also the obligations of the national intelligence service to carry out its work according to law, respect and protect human rights, and uphold the legal rights and interests of individuals and organizations. Meanwhile, there are many provisions in other laws to protect the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals, including data security and right to privacy. Those stipulations also apply to intelligence-related work. The US should understand the relevant laws in a comprehensive and objective manner instead of making one-sided and wrong interpretation that is out of context.

Second, it is an internationally accepted practice to protect national security through legislation and require organizations and individuals to coordinate with a country's intelligence service. There are similar laws in the Five Eyes countries, namely the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and other western countries including France and Germany.

Third, the Chinese government has been asking Chinese companies to strictly abide by local laws and regulations when doing business overseas; this position will not change. China is committed to mutual respect of sovereignty, equality, mutual benefit and other basic principles of international law, as reflected in our Constitution and relevant laws. Therefore, China unequivocally opposes other countries' attempts to bypass normal channels of cooperation and unilaterally apply domestic laws to force companies and individuals to provide data, information and intelligence stored within China's territory. China has not asked and will not ask companies or individuals to collect or provide data, information and intelligence stored within other countries' territories for the Chinese government by installing "backdoors" or by violating local laws.

Fourth, as the US and certain of its allies practice double-standards on this matter and try to muddy the waters, their aim is to justify their attempts to curtail Chinese companies' legitimate rights and interests of development and interfere economic behaviors with political involvement. It is a bullying act that is hypocritical, immoral and unfair.

We hope all countries can truly follow the market principle of fair competition, jointly uphold a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment, and facilitate sound cooperation for relevant sectors.

Q: The Australian government said today that the servers of the two major political parties were subject to a hacking attack. The government says this was the work of a state actor, but did not name which state actor. Some Australian media have suggested China. Does the foreign ministry have any view on such commentary?

A: Cyber security should be upheld by all members of the international community as it is a global issue that concerns the common interests of all countries. China firmly upholds cyber security and opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyber attack and cyber theft. China calls on the international community to deal with threats to cyber security through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

With the cyberspace being a highly virtual one filled with multiple actors whose behaviors are difficult to trace, one should present abundant evidence when investigating and determining the nature of a cyberspace activity, instead of making baseless speculations and firing indiscriminate shots at others. Irresponsible reports, accusations, pressurizing and sanctions will only heighten tensions and confrontation in cyberspace and poison the atmosphere for cooperation.

China is firmly opposed to the reports made by certain media using cyber security issues to make unwarranted charges against China and mar China's image to serve their ulterior motives. We urge relevant media to stop tarnishing China's reputation by hyping up the so-called "cyber theft" and hacking attacks, and refrain from making remarks that undermine China's interests and its relations with the relevant countries.

Q: I want to ask about protests in Spain by Chinese citizens who say they are being unfairly targeted by anti-money laundering laws. Is China aware of this and in contact with Spanish authorities?

A: The information that I have is that the Embassy of China in Spain has received complaints from Chinese citizens including students there that their bank accounts have been arbitrarily frozen. The Chinese Embassy has expressed its concern to the Spanish side and offered assistance to the relevant Chinese citizens within its scope of duties. A senior official from the Department of Consular Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry has also met with Minister of the Spanish Embassy in Beijing to make representations over this matter.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens overseas and hopes that the Spanish side will take effective measures to earnestly guarantee the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens in Spain.

Q: According to reports, on February 17, a source said that the UK's National Cyber Security Center reached the conclusion in its study that potential risks from the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks can be effectively managed. What's your comment on that?

A: I saw relevant reports, too. This concerns professional technical issues, and I would like to refer you to relevant Chinese authorities or Huawei.

What I can tell you here is that, the Chinese government as always encourages overseas Chinese businesses to  comply with market principles, international rules and local laws. We hope the governments of relevant countries will provide a fair, open and transparent environment for competition and do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

Not long ago, during State Councilor Wang Yi's visit to France and Italy, the leaders of both countries made it very clear that Chinese businesses are welcome to operate and invest in their countries. They will neither take restrictive measures on a specific business nor discriminate against any business, and are ready to provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for all foreign enterprises, including Chinese ones. China highly appreciates their statements and hopes it can be a common understanding among European countries.

In the era of globalization, China will continue to embrace the world through openness and cooperation. Meanwhile, we hope the UK will remain true to its defining feature of openness, make the right choices that serve its own interests, and work with China to bring more benefits to the two peoples.

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