From September 6 to 8, 2011, Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying stayed in Montenegro attending the political consultation between the foreign ministries of the two countries. During the stay, she received the interview of the Montenegro newspaper The Day. The following is the text of the interview.
I. We are very glad that Ms. Fu Ying has the opportunity of coming to Montenegro. Please introduce the main purpose of your visit. In terms of population, land area, political system and economic development level, Montenegro and China have major differences. What do you think of the bilateral relations? What is the priority to develop the bilateral relations?
I feel very delighted to visit your country on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Montenegro. This is my first visit to Montenegro and I've done careful "homework" before I come. The Montenegro people are brave, persevering and unflinching and hence are called the "hard walnut". Montenegro is a very beautiful country. It has the most unique seashore in Europe. The country is mountainous and "teems with" tall people. Its population on average is one of the tallest in Europe. That information will be validated during my visit. Of course, the main purpose of this visit is to hold the consultation between the two foreign ministries. I expect to fully exchange opinions with my peers in the foreign ministry of Montenegro on how to deepen the cooperation between our two ministries and to promote the bilateral cooperation in various fields.
China always holds the position that countries, being big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are all equal members of the international community. Just as you said, China and Montenegro have major differences which however have never become obstacles to the development of the bilateral friendly relations. Immediately after Montenegro announced independence in June 2006, our two countries established diplomatic ties. The bilateral political relations over the past five years have grown closer. China respects Montenegro's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the development road chosen by the Montenegro people. We also appreciate Montenegro's valuable support on the issues concerning China's major core interest. The bilateral cooperation is underway, our government agencies maintain close contacts and a number of cooperation documents on health, science and technology, tourism and infrastructure have been signed. Although the bilateral cooperation is still small in size, it lays down a solid foundation for the future growth. The priority of both sides at present is to continue to increase mutual understanding, push forward pragmatic cooperation effectively and translate the sound political relations into tangible cooperation results to benefit the two peoples.
II. Montenegro-China economic and trade cooperation has achieved certain progress in recent years but is unsatisfactory in general. How to effectively change that situation? What do the Chinese businesses and government view China's participation in Montenegro's transportation and other infrastructure construction?
China attaches importance to the economic and trade cooperation with Montenegro. The bilateral cooperation enjoys a sound momentum. China provides Montenegro with loans to build cargo ships and restore ocean fleet. Chinese businesses keep in close touch with the Montenegro side on the south-north expressway project. It is undeniable that the bilateral cooperation is still small and simple. Chinese businesses lack experience of overseas investment and cooperation and expect more incentives and support.
During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Hungary not long ago, he put forward the guiding opinions on developing the economic and trade cooperation between China and Eastern Europe, including expanding bilateral trade, promoting mutual investment, strengthening infrastructure construction cooperation and deepening financial and fiscal cooperation. I think those opinions also point out the direction of future economic and trade cooperation between China and Montenegro.
Montenegro is accelerating the construction of expressways, ports and power stations. China has experience of infrastructure construction and a number of competitive businesses. There are strong complementarities between the two sides. I think infrastructure construction can become the priority of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The Chinese government will actively support the business cooperation between the two countries. In addition, Montenegro has abundant tourism resources. There are 57 million of outbound Chinese tourists every year, making it a very big market. Montenegro can promote its tourism resources in China by participating in and holding exhibitions.
III. What do you think of the situation in Western Balkans? What is your view on the Kosovo issue? Montenegro and most countries in the region have established diplomatic ties with Kosovo. Why does China still not recognize Kosovo?
China enjoys profound friendship with the Western Balkan states. We have been paying close attention to the development of the regional situation. The Chinese people in history have suffered the pain of war and unrest and know deeply peace and stability are so important for a country's development. The situation in Western Balkans has eased clearly in recent years. Countries in the region are dedicated to strengthening good-neighborly friendship and promoting regional cooperation. Seeking stability and development has become the basic national policy of countries there. As a friend, we feel very glad to see that. China hopes countries in the region continue to properly solve the issues left over from history through dialogue, maintain the sound momentum of regional situation and join hands to build lasting stability and prosperity in Western Balkans.
The issue of Kosovo is complicated and sensitive and has a direct bearing on peace and stability in Western Balkans. China's position on the Kosovo issue is consistent. We believe that parties concerned seek a proper solution through dialogue within the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We hope the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo continues.
IV. The West criticizes that there is no democracy or human rights in China. What is your response? How do you explain the limited Internet access of the Chinese citizens? Does China allow the existence of dissidents?
Your question actually is about how to view China's political development.
Democracy is originated from the western civilization, but it is not the patent of western countries. China always adheres to the road of democratic development with its own characteristics. China's grassroots democratic elections at the township level are going on deeply. China's reform is successful exactly because the Chinese government is capable of listening to the criticisms and suggestions from all sides and making adjustments and improvement constantly. The democratic decision-making framework which has been developed in China ensures that the Chinese government is supervised by the people all the time and turns the will of the people into the driving force of reform and development.
The process of formulating the outline of China's 12th Five-Year Plan is a case in point of the Chinese-style democratic decision-making.
Based on the opinions from all sides, the government outlined 41 major issues of economic and social development faced by China. 70 research institutions were involved in the drafting of a basic research report containing 5 million Chinese characters. All the Chinese people were asked to offer advices through the Internet, texts and emails. A bind person even wrote 6 pages of Braille suggestions. The outline was studied and validated again and again at various levels after it came out. It can be said that the outline is the result of the wisdom of the entire Chinese people.
The preamble of the United Nations Charter and the preamble of the World Declaration of Human Rights have clear provisions on human rights, for example "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women …have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom". China is trying to improve human rights within those frameworks. We understand that the most important and principal human rights should be people's basic rights of survival and development. Talking about China's human rights, the West actually steals the concept. What they care about is the right of certain individuals to subvert the Chinese government and change China's political system, which is not allowed by the Chinese law.
The Chinese people themselves have the final say to evaluate China's human rights. Last year, a Pew poll covering 22 countries showed that 87% of residents in China were satisfied about the country. Yet the Chinese government is aware that we still have a lot to do. We never dare to take the issue lightly.
Concerning the Internet, I'm one of the more than 450 million of Chinese Internet users. My daughter spends several hours on the Internet every day, and now I'm most worried about her eyesight. The Internet has become an important part of the Chinese people's life and a quick channel of the Chinese government to learn about the situation of the people. However, everything has two sides and the Internet cannot be used without any constraints.
Internet freedom and constraints are a new problem faced by modern governments. Since the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre of the Internet Society of China was established 4 years ago, it has received more than 600,000 reports of Internet users on pornography, violence, fraud, spam, hackers and viruses. It is obvious that to strengthen management of the Internet is the task of all governments in the world, but how to balance the relationship between freedom and prevention of possible harm is also a challenge. We are glad that the Chinese government's measures to strengthen the Internet management are widely recognized by the Chinese people. 82% of Chinese Internet users agree that the government strengthen legal management of the Internet and clean the online environment.
Citizens enjoy full freedom of expression in China. But just like in any other country which has the legal system, the precondition of freedom of expression is to abide by law.
V. The credit rating adjustment of the United States lately has triggered a new round of world economic fluctuations. How does China view the current world economic situation? Some experts say that China and the United States share weal and woe in the world today. Do you agree?
At present, the rising debt risks of developed countries have become global issues influencing the world economic recovery. The US sovereign credit rating was downgraded for the first time within 70 years. Together with the lingering shadow of the European debt crisis, they have become serious risks impacting the global recovery. Since the beginning of this year, the imbalance and instability of world economic recovery have got more serious and the recovery process is more complex and difficult than what we have expected. The room of fiscal and monetary stimulus policies of countries is very limited and new growth points have not yet been formed. The world economic situation gets more severe and riskier.
In the world today where economic globalization develops rapidly and countries' interests are interwoven, we are closely linked with each other. In particular, faced with the current world economic situation, no country can stay aloof and safe. Not just China and the United States, the fate of all the countries around the world are interlocked.
During President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States in January this year, the two heads of state confirmed to build and develop the China-US cooperative partnership with mutual respect and mutual benefit, which not only reflects that the interests of the two countries are increasingly converged but also shows once again that cooperation is the best way to maintain the interest of their own and their common interests. A healthy and stable China-US relationship will benefit both countries and the world at large.
China-US relations are very important, but they are only part of China's foreign relations. China is willing to maintain friendly exchanges and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries in the world to make contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity.