Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador CHEN Xu at the Online Press Briefing
2021-10-15 16:10

Geneva, 13October 2021

Dear friends,

Good morning.

We didn’t see each other even in this format for a while because of COVID-19, which inflicted serious impact on our economic and social life. So it’s a great pleasure to meet you again at this season of autumn. As the moderator said that I was flanked by my colleagues today, and I feel much more assured that we could have a very substantive conversation with the media friends.

Autumn is the time for harvest, andwe are witnessing a wide range of international meetings taking place. Just to name a few, the United Nations General Assembly is still in session with the Leaders Week just wrapped up. Here in Geneva, the Human Right Council just finished its work of its 48th session, and we haveUNCTAD 15, UNHCR, WIPO,etc. In the meantime, the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is now being held in China and President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at its Leaders’ Summit. Yesterday, the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Meeting on Afghanistan was held and foreign minister Wang Yi participated on behalf of President Xi Jinping. We are living in such atime of opportunities and challenges. The reason why we have so many international gatherings at this moment is that we have to face so many challenges, traditional or non-traditional, such as development gap, COVID-19, and recovery from this virus, climate change, arms control and disarmament, regional issues, cyber, digital, artificial intelligence, water resources, etc. These development increasinglycalls for multilateral cooperation, as expressed by many leaders in their speeches during the UNGA general debate. The main signalis that we need join hands together to cope with the common challenges confronting us. This is how we look around what happened in this world. This world is undergoing profound changes, and the call for multilateral cooperation has been stronger more than ever before.

This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China. The starting point and the ultimate goal of the CPC is to seek a better life for our own people, while in the meantime to make more contributions to the world peace and development. You will see that the facts have been self explanatory over the past years. China has pursued the road which is commensurate with its specific conditions, with tremendous progress not only in the economic field, but also in the enjoyment of human rights. In September, we released the Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025), laying out a new blueprint for China’s human rights cause. I would like to share with you several figures as examples. Since 1949, the average life expectancy in China has increased from 35 to 77, and the per capita GDP has increased from 27 US dollars to more than 10,000 US dollars. China has established the world’s largest social security system. In 2021, China has realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and completed the historic transformation of lifting almost 1.4 billion people out from poverty to secured access to food and clothing, and finally to moderate prosperity. More than 850 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70% to the global poverty reduction endeavor.

This is not only China's own achievement, but also a major contribution to the world endeavor. Many people ask me, “what is the secret code of China's success?”Actually, there's no secret. The answer is simple: we have the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China; we stick to the road chosen by the Chinese people, which is suitable to our national conditions; we rely on ourselves, the hardworking and innovative Chinese people; last but not least, the international cooperation.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Over the past 50 years, China has firmly adhered to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and gradually participated in a wide range of issues of the UN affairs. When I joined the foreign service, our share to the UN regular budget was less than 1%. Now it's over 12%. When I joined the foreign service, there was no single Chinese soldier on the “blue helmet”. Now China has become the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China has actively engaged in South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, making efforts for the world sustainable development.China has joined almost all universal inter-governmental organizations and many international treaties. Most recently, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative in his statement at the General Debate of the 76thSession of the United Nations General Assembly to promote the harmonious coexistence of people and the nature of different backgrounds, and aim at the realization of a stronger, greener and healthier global development with a view to helping accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This initiative has been widely recognized by the international community, and we're ready to work together to move ahead in this direction.

Geneva is such an important multilateral platform, with dozens of international agencies. Many of my colleagues, especially the new ambassadors often ask me, “what's your priority? ” As far as our mission is concerned, different priorities sometimes fluctuate, because that depends on the development of different areas.

Human rights has been the priority over the years, with three sessions a year. During the recent closed 48th session of the Human Rights Council, we participated actively in all debates and deliberations of various issues. We promote constructive dialogue and cooperation to call for more attention to the right of development, and economic and social development. More attention should be paid to the needs of the developing countries. We strongly push back all groundless accusations against us on issues of Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Xizang and others. I will not go to details, because if you follow the meetings, you will find that we have been strongly opposing all these groundless attacks. The nature of these issues is not the human rights per se, it’s closely linked to our national sovereignty, security and development. You will find that with tremendous efforts made, there's no single terrorist attack over the last three years or so in Xinjiang. In Hong Kong, after the National Security Law, the people have enjoyed once again the peaceful life there. The facts speak louder than words. Another area is we have to look after the needs for developing countries. You will find that many specific resolutions are targeting at the developing countries, which is not helpful for promoting the human rights situation in relevant countries. We are ready to continue to open our mind for any meaningful dialogue. But in the meantime, we strongly oppose the human rights issue and Human Rights Council to be used as a political vehicle to name and shame, and to interfere in the internal affairs of others. We are ready for dialogue, but we do not accept any finger pointing without any basis. We delivered a number of joint statements on behalf of like-minded countries. China, for the first time, put forward the resolution entitled “the negative impact of legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human rights”. As observed by many colleagues in the Human Rights Council, it's an issue that needs to be paid high attention long ago.

COVID-19 has been very much preoccupying since January 2020. COVID-19 is the common challenge facing us all. China has been, as you observed, in the first countries to share relevant information, to provide developing countries with the largest scale vaccines assistance, and to send medical expert teams to foreign countries. President Xi Jinping put forward the major initiative of building a global community of health for all. We will continue to take good care of ourselves and make contributions to the global COVID-19 response.

Arms control and disarmament is another essential component of multilateral diplomacy in Geneva. Over the past 50 years, China has been an active part of multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation affairs. In Geneva, we actively participate in not only the Conference on Disarmament, but in many other occasions here.

Last but not least, we need to look after many international agencies, WIPO, ILO,IPU, etc. We are ready to work together with others to make full use of this multilateral platform to make more contributions for a better world.

My colleagues and I are ready and willing to answer questions. Thank you very much for your attention.