|Interview of Ambassador Huang Xinyuan (V)|
Q: Recently, many U.S. politicians have labeled the COVID-19 "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus." What would you say to that?
A: The origin of coronavirus is a matter of science and we should follow scientific and professional advice. The World Health Organization and the international community are clearly opposed to linking the virus to a specific country, area or race. So any attempt to stigmatize the virus should be rejected. Even if the origin is found to come from the US, I believe China will not call it the "American virus". It's like we did not call the pandemic a hundred years ago "American flu" or AIDS as "American AIDS", although they were first found in the United States. We believe that constant stigmatization, disrespect for science, and disregard for WHO rules is a naked propaganda of racism and xenophobia, which is both ignorant and shameful. With the accelerating spread of the global epidemic, countries in the world should work together to overcome difficulties. Finding a scapegoat and engaging in political manipulation will not help the US to overcome the epidemic, nor will it contribute to the international cooperation in fighting the epidemic.
Q: In combating the epidemic, China has achieved remarkable results and is now fully engaging in international cooperation. How can China help Cyprus?
A: Cyprus has given firm support when China went all-out fighting the epidemic, and China has taken it to heart and is ready to provide assistance to Cyprus with all efforts. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a letter of condolences to Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, expressing his willingness to share information and experience with Cyprus for prevention and control of the virus, and provide Cyprus with any assistance that China can offer. The Chinese Embassy has been sharing protocols for diagnosis and treatment with the Cypriot government. My Twitter account and the Embassy's Facebook account have been sharing know-how linked to China's anti-epidemic information platform. On March 19, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Health Commission shared China's experience through a video conference in terms of epidemiological characteristics, prevention and control strategies, and clinical diagnosis and treatment with government officials and medical and epidemic prevention experts from 18 European countries including Cyprus, and also took more than 80 questions. President Anastasiades retweeted my comments on the conference and thanked China for extending a helping hand to Cyprus.
More importantly, China has been working around the clock to overcome the difficulties such as insufficient domestic production capacity and insufficient international transport capacity, to collect special protective masks, medical masks, protective uniforms, goggles and other medical supplies that are in short supply in Cyprus. All these are coming to Cyprus in one batch after another through multiple channels. Not only does the Chinese government care about Cyprus, but the local governments and enterprises of China as well as the Chinese community in Cyprus try to donate medical supplies to Cyprus. I believe that under the strong leadership of the Cypriot government, with the active cooperation of the Cypriot people, and with the full support of the Chinese government, the island will eventually win the battle against the epidemic.
Q: Against the backdrop of a global fight against COVID-19, there are still hypes around Xinjiang's vocational education and training centers and so-called human rights issues by a few countries and forces. Do you have any comments?
A: Xinjiang is one of the few provinces and regions which have seen small number of confirmed cases. It indicates that the situation there may be better than many other provinces and regions. Every country and region has law breakers or those affected by terrorism, who are subject to law enforcement. This has nothing to do with nationality or religious belief given that everybody is equal before the law. China had its own way to prevent people affected by terrorism from becoming victims of terrorism. These training centers were targeted at those who had been or might be affected by terrorism, so the Chinese government provided them with training to acquire law awareness and professional skills. At present, all trainees have graduated and are having good jobs and better lives. Such measures of addressing both symptoms and root causes are the key reason for Xinjiang to achieve "zero terrorist violence" in the past three years. Against the global context of combating COVID-19, some countries and forces are still reluctant to abandon ideological prejudice about Xinjiang-related issue, and even playing the old tricks of finding criminal offenders to tell "human rights stories" on TV shows, which is really an insult to people's IQ.
Q: Recently, there have been reports in the international media that China and the United States have expelled resident journalists from each other. Can you tell us what is happening?
A: The Chinese side has made necessary countermeasures against the US' groundless and non-stop suppression of Chinese media agencies in the US. It is a reasonable and justifiable defense. For a long time, the US has adopted discriminatory restrictions on visa application, administrative review and daily interviews of Chinese journalists. For example, the visa applications from 30 Chinese journalists have been shelved or even refused by the US since 2018. Not long ago, the US expelled 60 Chinese journalists unjustifiably. The Chinese people believe that one should return as good as one receives. The measures China has taken are to save China-US relations in the midst of fire and water, and remind the US what is the principle of reciprocity, what is fair and just, and what is freedom of the press.