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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 29, 2022

2022-12-29 19:26

At the invitation of the Brazilian government, President Xi Jinping’s special representative Vice President Wang Qishan will lead a delegation to Brazil for the presidential inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to be held on January 1, 2023 in Brasilia.

Xinhua News Agency: Could you share the arrangements of Vice President Wang Qishan’s visit to Brazil and China’s expectation for the visit?

Wang Wenbin: China and Brazil are both major developing countries and important emerging markets. We are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners. Since diplomatic ties were established 48 years ago, bilateral relations have enjoyed sound and steady development with fruitful practical cooperation in various sectors. The comprehensive and strategic nature of our partnership has become more and more pronounced and its global influence is continually on the rise.

Vice President Wang Qishan’s upcoming trip to Brazil as President Xi Jinping’s special representative for the presidential inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaks to the high importance China attaches to Brazil and our bilateral relations. We believe this visit will give a strong boost to our comprehensive strategic partnership and bring it to new heights, delivering more benefits for both countries and peoples and contributing to regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.

Reuters: Several places around the world have imposed curbs on travelers from China such as requiring them to take COVID tests after Beijing relaxed strict COVID measures. Do you have any comments on this? 

Wang Wenbin: We’ve always believed that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate and apply equally to people of all countries without affecting normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. We hope that all parties will follow a science-based response approach and work together to ensure safe cross-border travel, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, and contribute to global solidarity against COVID and the world economic recovery.

AFP: Just a follow-up question on COVID. You said that COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate without affecting normal people-to-people exchange. Do you mean by that that certain countries’ actions are not science-based and proportionate? Can you elaborate a little bit? 

Wang Wenbin: Over the past few days, we have shared China’s position on this issue on a number of occasions. We have also noticed that many countries have said at the moment they do not plan to adjust their entry measures for travelers from China. We hope all parties will follow a science-based principle, make joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border travel, and contribute to global solidarity against the pandemic and world economic recovery.

AFP: At least ten people died today in a fire at a Cambodian hotel casino on the border with Thailand. Do you have any information on potential Chinese casualties?

Wang Wenbin: We offer our condolences for those who lost their lives in the fire and extend our sympathies to those who were injured and the families of the victims. No Chinese deaths or injuries have been reported so far. Our embassy in Cambodia is closely following the latest updates on the ongoing rescue and investigation in Cambodia. 

Global Times: A small numberof Western media alleged that China’s COVID policy adjustment shows that China has changed its COVID response philosophy and no longer values peoples lives. What is your response? 

Wang Wenbin: This type of rhetoric completely misses the facts and scientific truth. Such rhetoric is ill-intentioned and aimed at discrediting China.

Since COVID began, China has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have made the best effort to protect people’s life and health and poured all resources into treating every patient. Over the past three years, we have effectively responded to five global COVID waves and avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, which are relatively more pathogenic than the other variants. We have greatly reduced the number of severe cases and deaths, and bought precious time for the research, development and application of vaccines and therapeutics, and for getting medical supplies and other resources ready. Globally speaking, China has had the lowest rates of infection and mortality. Despite the pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years.

During this fight against COVID-19, China has effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development, and refined the response policy in light of the evolving situation. With Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly and China’s treatment, testing and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, China issued steps to treat COVID-19 as a Class-B instead of Class-A infectious disease, shifting the focus of our response from stemming infection to caring for health and preventing severe cases. This shift is science-based, timely and necessary. This is also important from a strategic and long-term perspective for effectively coordinating COVID response with economic and social development and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the greatest majority of the people. As response measures are being refined, relevant Chinese departments have worked actively to beef up medical resources, set up a multi-tiered and category-based diagnosis and treatment mechanism, and increased the production capacity and supply of medicines. We have mobilized as many resources as possible to protect the elderly with underlying health conditions, pregnant and lying-in women, children and other key groups, and made every effort to reduce severe cases and deaths. Over the past few days, the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism has explained in detail what has been done and achieved at its press conferences.

Over the past three years, while we adapt the COVID response to the evolving circumstances, one thing has remained unchanged, which is our commitment to putting the people and their lives first. We believe that with this commitment and with the concerted efforts of the Chinese people, victory over COVID will arrive at an early date and a brighter future is ahead of us.

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