China to set up overseas vaccination stations
China said on Sunday it has plans to set up COVID-19 vaccination stations to vaccinate Chinese citizens abroad and is also ready to work with the International Olympic Committee to help provide vaccines to Olympic athletes for upcoming events.
China has developed several vaccines domestically and has begun its own vaccination drive, with plans to vaccinate 40 percent of its population by June.
“We are preparing to set up regional vaccination sites for domestically produced vaccines in countries where conditions permit, to provide services to compatriots in need in neighboring countries,” said Wang Yi, Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, during his annual news conference on Sunday.
He said more than 50 countries are including Chinese nationals in their vaccination schemes and some Chinese citizens were already receiving Chinese-made vaccines abroad according to local law. China’s foreign ministry and its missions all over the world launched a special operation of consular protection, distributing COVID-19 “health kits” and “Spring Festival packages” to over 5 million overseas Chinese in more than 100 countries.
He said China would also make vaccines available to Olympians, and is open to discussions on mutually recognizing vaccines with other countries. China is set to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics next year, while the Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place in Japan later this year.
Wang said China will roll out health certificates for international travelers to facilitate safe and orderly flow of personnel.
China has said it plans to provide 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX. Wang said China has provided and is providing COVID-19 vaccine aid free of charge to 69 developing countries in urgent need, while exporting vaccines to 43 countries.
Wang also spoke out against “vaccine nationalism,” and said China would resist any attempt to politicize vaccine cooperation. President Xi Jinping has pledged to make China’s vaccines a “global public good.”
Questioned about recent US-China frictions over Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, Wang said China “will never accept baseless accusations and smears.”
The United States had used democracy and human rights as a basis for arbitrarily interfering with other countries’ affairs, he said. “The US should realize this as soon as possible, otherwise the world will continue to experience instability.”
He added that differences between China and the United States must be managed carefully, the two sides must advocate healthy competition not zero-sum finger-pointing, and that areas like climate change and fighting the pandemic were where they could cooperate.
“It is hoped that the United States and China will meet each other halfway and lift the various unreasonable restrictions placed on Sino-US cooperation to date as soon as possible, and not create new obstacles artificially.”
Wang warned that on China’s Taiwan there was no room for compromise, urging the new US government to change the previous administration’s “dangerous acts of playing with fire.”
He also stressed that improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and implementing the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” is constitutional, legitimate, just and reasonable.
Addressed accusations over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Wang said, “When it comes to ‘genocide,’ most people think of North American Indians in the 16th century, African slaves in the 19th century, Jews in the 20th century, and the Australian aborigines who are still fighting today. The so-called ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is ridiculously absurd. It is a rumor with ulterior motives and a complete lie.”