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Minister Chen Wen Gave Live Interview on BBC

On 5 June, Minister Chen Wen of the Chinese Embassy in the UK gave a live interview on World at One of BBC Radio 4 hosted by Mark Mardell. She shared her views on China’s foreign policy and its position on the national security legislation for Hong Kong, and refuted disinformation.

On whether China’s foreign policy is becoming more arbitrary and aggressive, Chen said, “That’s a misinterpretation of China's foreign policy and a misreading of the current world. China is different from the West in terms of social system, political system and development stage, but China is still a force for peace and development and a force for good in the world, playing a positive role in international affairs. By growing stronger China can make a bigger contribution to world peace and development.”

On how China can develop world peace, Chen pointed out that China is a peace-loving nation. “We believe that you don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you. This kind of historical thinking is deeply rooted in our genes. Peace and development are the trend of the times,” she said. “China will continue to contribute to safeguarding world peace. China is the biggest contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council of peacekeeping forces. And China has always been committed to a peaceful foreign policy of independence and autonomy.”

“We are committed to no first use of nuclear weapons and no use of nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon countries. Among all the countries in the world that have nuclear weapons, has anyone else made the same commitment? I think all these facts have proved that we are a country for the peace and development of the world,” Chen argued.

In response to the questioning of whether China will continue implementing “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong, Chen said, “Over the 23 years since the handover of Hong Kong back to China, ‘One Country, Two Systems’ has been a great success. Hong Kong has withstood the test of Asian financial crisis, SARS, and the global financial crisis. It has maintained its status of international financial, trading and shipping center. Hong Kong has also achieved a lot in terms of political democratic development.”

“We have held 5 elections for Chief Executive. If you look back at history in the 156 years of colonial rule under the British Empire, there were 28 governors, but none of them was elected. So Hong Kong is a great success. It's also a great success of ‘One Country, Two systems’,” said the Minister.

As to the national security legislation for Hong Kong, Chen refuted the allegation that the legislation is imposed on Hong Kong. “First of all, the legislation on the national security falls within the state legislative power in any country. This is true for the UK, the US and China. Secondly, what happened in Hong Kong last year proved that such law is highly important and necessary. With the 40 plus years of China’s reform and opening-up, one experience that can be drawn is that stability and security are the prerequisite for development and prosperity. Without that, there will be no development to talk about.”

“What has been happening in Hong Kong since last year has proved that we do need to plug the legal loopholes. That will be the national security legislation enactment. It targets criminal activities of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces that are interfering in Hong Kong affairs. The law only makes Hong Kong stronger, safer and more prosperous. This is a good legislation. Don't jump into any hasty conclusions,” Chen added.

Regarding the UK government’s remarks on offering UK citizenship to some people in Hong Kong, Chen pointed out, “Foreign Secretary Raab said on September 26 last year in the House of Commons that the status of BNO passport is part of package agreed in Joint Declaration. There is no right of permanent residence under BNO passport, and the UK was not seeking to change the status quo. China and the UK have already reached agreement before the return of Hong Kong.”

“To change BNO passport status is turning back not only on British promises under the Joint Declaration, but also on British commitment to international law about no interference in other countries’ internal affairs. It is not right and will be damaging to the bilateral relationship,” said Chen.

About Chris Pattern’s remarks that HSBC has given in to China’s mafia style bullying tactics to back the national security law, Chen opposed such accusation. She said, “HSBC and many other companies have recognized if such chaos continue, it will be damaging to their business and to Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. We welcome the decision of HSBC.” “When the decision on national security legislation was passed by the NPC, there was long time applause from the audience. Within 8 days, almost 3 million Hong Kong residents signed a petition supporting the legislation, because they have had enough of the violence and want peaceful, stable and prosperous life. That’s the real wishes of Hong Kong people. British politicians should listen to the real wishes of the people and the businesses in Hong Kong.”

When asked why dropping the phrase “peaceful reunification” in this year’s Government Work Report, Chen said, “We are aiming for peaceful reunification. There is no change of that.” “There is only one China in the world, and the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government presenting the whole of China. This is the One China principle and the fundamental principle underpinning China's foreign relationship with all other countries, including 180 countries having diplomatic relations with China. This is also an international norm and the political basis for China’s bilateral relations with other countries.”

“In the joint communiqué between China and the UK on establishing diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level, the UK government recognizes Taiwan as a province of China. Any word running counter to this constitutes interference in China’s internal affairs,” said Chen.

In response to the comment that Taiwan enjoys democracy while China’s mainland doesn’t, Chen said there should be an adjective before the so-called “democracy”, i.e. the “western-style democracy”. She said, “Every country in the world has the right to choose its own path of development and own model of democracy.” “In China’s mainland, we have our own democracy: the socialist democracy. That’s why we just had the annual sessions of NPC and CPPCC.”

“Chinese national leader was voted by the deputies to the NPC and enjoyed massive support from the public. The Chinese leadership enjoys the highest domestic support, 85% and 82% according to the opinion polls carried out respectively by Blackbox, an independent research-centered agency in Singapore, and Edelman, world’s largest public relations firm based in America.”

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