|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 21, 2020|
Q: The WHO said they are holding an emergency meeting about the coronavirus outbreak. We want to know if China's sending representatives, and if so, who?
After the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, the Chinese government has attached high importance and made comprehensive deployment on prevention and control.
Acting with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility towards global health security, Chinese authorities shared information of the epidemic with the WHO, relevant nations and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions in a timely manner, including the genome sequence of the new coronavirus.
As far as I know, upon invitation from the WHO, China will join other affected countries at an International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee meeting on the night of January 22 Beijing time. Relevant countries, the WHO and experts will share information and come up with a science-based evaluation at the meeting.
China will continue to deepen international cooperation and work in concert with the international community to deal with the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.
Q: Given that now there there's confirmed human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, is China stepping up prevention or control in outbound Chinese travelers from Wuhan?
A: Like I said yesterday, the Wuhan government has taken measures to control the flow of people leaving the city. The latest news is that they have stepped up control over the flow of people leaving or entering Wuhan. I'd refer you to the competent and local authorities for more details.
I'd like to stress again that Chinese authorities, acting with a high sense of responsibility, shared information of the epidemic with the WHO, relevant nations and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions in a timely manner. After receiving notification of cases from relevant countries, China has taken it seriously and stayed in close communication with all parties through bilateral and multilateral channels, while strengthening cooperation with all-out efforts to deal with them. We will work with all parties to jointly tackle the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.
Q: Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its latest World Economic Outlook report, citing greater economic downward risks due to rising geopolitical tensions, intensifying social unrest and trade frictions. The report trimmed its 2020 and 2021 global growth forecasts to 3.3 percent and 3.4 percent respectively, but upgraded China's 2020 growth forecast to 6.0 percent. I wonder if you could comment on that?
A: We noted that report. The international landscape is complicated with a marked increase of instability and uncertainty. Since 2019, the IMF downgraded global economic forecasts several times. Doing so again at the beginning of a new year demonstrates persisting downward pressure.
Against such a backdrop, the Chinese economy has registered steady growth on the whole. According to the latest statistics, in 2019, China's year-on-year GDP growth stood at 6.1 percent, leading major world economies. Its GDP per capita crossed the threshold of 10,000 US dollars. China's GDP is expected to account for more than 16 percent of the world's total and its economic growth is estimated to contribute around 30 percent to world growth. IMF upgrading China's growth forecast indicates again international recognition of China's economic performance and confidence in China's economic prospects.
Despite mounting risks and challenges at home and abroad, China's good economic fundamentals for long-term growth remain. It still boasts solid internal growth momentum, great resilience and enormous economic potential. In 2020, we will continue to focus on supply-side structural reform and implement set policies and measures to sustain medium-high growth and move to a medium-high level of development.
I'd like to point out that as a powerful engine of world economic growth, the stable growth of China's economy also contributes to the world economy. Amid rising unilateralism and protectionism, China will continue to deepen reform, expand opening-up, uphold multilateralism and free trade, and work with other parties to foster an open world economy and improve global economic governance for strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive development of the world economy.
Q: In light of the recent developments over the past 24 hours, will China be enforcing any more checks at airports or any other places where people would be leaving China for destinations in foreign countries in order to reduce risk of spreading this virus? You talked about restrictions on people entering and leaving Wuhan, what kind of advice is China giving to people thinking about going to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year?
A: I'll leave these questions to the competent authorities.
What I can tell you is that we have formulated comprehensive, strict prevention and control schemes in response to the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. We are determined to curb any momentum of spreading.
Like I said earlier, Chinese authorities, acting with a high sense of responsibility, shared information of the epidemic with the WHO, relevant nations and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions in a timely manner. We will work with all parties to jointly tackle the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.
Q: Just a clarification of what you said about Wuhan. Is it that the entire population of the city are banned from leaving the city?
A: What I said is that the Wuhan government has enhanced control over the flow of people leaving or entering the city. My understanding is that the travelers will need to be examined instead of being banned from leaving or entering the city.
I'd refer you to the local government for more details.
With the Chinese New Year just days away, I believe many people have already had their overseas travels planned out. As we have seen cases where the safety of Chinese tourists has come under threat, here are some travel advisories for those who plan to travel overseas. Know the border entry and exit regulations. Make informed choices on your travel itinerary and activities. Be aware of potential risks and take due precautions.
In particular, we advocate traveling with good etiquette. While you are abroad, please comply with local laws and regulations, respect local culture, traditions, customs and religions, and be environmental-friendly. Seek redress rationally if your rights are violated. Remember, when you are traveling overseas, you are the image of China.
If you find yourself in an emergency, call the local police immediately. You may also dial the MFA 12308 hotline or contact us via the "Foreign Ministry 12308" smartphone app for consular protection and assistance.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry and our diplomatic missions overseas will do our utmost to facilitate Chinese citizens' travels overseas and offer support and assistance when necessary. "Wherever you go, we've got your back."