|Consul General Zhang Zhen Refuted Tarnishing Remarks on China|
On August 2 2023, The Freeman published an article by Zhen Zhang Consul General of P.R.China in Cebu, entitled “China is not the problem”. The full text is as follows:
Some reports and opinions printed or reprinted in some of Cebu’s news media outlets are misleading the readers. I wish the following questions could help the readers think objectively and rationally.
First, what is truly beneficial and conducive to peace and development? Is it military bases or the Belt and Road Initiative? Although many Chinese have just been lifted out of poverty, China is helping many countries build infrastructures like roads, bridges, water conservancy and irrigation facilities, etc. China is committed to fostering an open world economy, working toward a more open, inclusive, balanced economic globalization that benefits all, and building a community with a shared future for mankind. Some country has 750 military bases outside of its own country across 80 nations, Ironically, it has been at war for most its existence. No one should ignore the long list of places of turmoil, division and devastation. What is the true cause behind? Who profits directly from conflicts and wars? Who is suffering? Will increased military deployment in other countries truly help protect one’s security as well as regional peace and stability, or would it rather cause grave irreparable consequences?
Second, who is fueling tensions across the Taiwan Strait? What is their true purpose? As a result of the civil war in China in the late 1940s and the interference of external forces, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have fallen into a state of protracted political confrontation. But the sovereignty and territory of China have never been divided and will never be divided. This is a historical and legal fact, acknowledged by the UN and the international society as well as most countries in the world. Although the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have not yet achieved complete reunification, Taiwan’s status as part of China’s territory has never been changed and will never be allowed to change. Any attempt of playing the Taiwan card and using Taiwan to contain China will not succeed. To achieve peaceful reunification, we must resolutely oppose "Taiwan independence." The more rampant the "Taiwan independence" forces are, the less likely it is to resolve the Taiwan issue peacefully. "Taiwan independence" separatism and peaceful settlement are incompatible.
Third, why is the South China Sea issue hyped up repeatedly? With the joint efforts of all parties concerned, the South China Sea situation has maintained overall stability. Separated by only a strip of water, China and the Philippines belong to the Asian family of shared future, and our two peoples have enjoyed kinship and friendship for thousands of years. It is only natural for close neighbors to have differences. We share the Asian wisdom of settling differences through dialogue and consultation. Under the strategic guidance of our two heads of state, China and the Philippines have agreed to place South China Sea dispute at a proper place in the bilateral relations and manage them properly through dialogue and consultation. But obviously some people keep using this issue to sow discord and to stoke confrontation.
Fourth, who has the monetary superpower and has been the real source of "debt traps" for some developing countries? Who is truly helping those nations get out of poverty traps? The so-called China's "debt trap" in Africa is a narrative trap imposed on China and Africa by some western politicians and media hacks. China has made the biggest contributions to the Group of 20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. A report released by Johns Hopkins University said, China had fulfilled its role "fairly well" as a responsible G20 stakeholder. According to available data, Chinese creditors accounted for 30% of all claims and contributed 63% of debt service suspensions in the countries that participated in the initiative, the report said. In contrast, the largest creditors in Africa --international private creditors and multilateral financial institutions-- are absent from the current debt relief actions. Relevant reports from the World Bank have shown that multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors hold nearly three-quarters of Africa's total external debt. While 35% are owed to Western private lenders, nearly three times of the total obligations to China. We should ask, who indeed should take responsibility and play a more prominent role?
To conclude, as the Chinese proverb goes, “the sea desires calmness but the waves keep rolling”. Some people keep meddling in other countries’ affairs and trying to drive wedges between countries in the region, creating tensions and harming regional peace and stability. What they have done is not to help anyone but to serve their own interests and selfish pursuits.