On Sunday morning, Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, sat down for an interview with CBS. Facing the nation Anchor Margaret Brennan and it doesn’t go well for her. Brennan has grilled the gang for everything from China’s complacency about Russia’s aggression in China to its alleged imprisonment of more than a million Uyghurs.
The first controversial moment came when Brennan asked the gang about China being on Russia’s side when “four days ago the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend its military action. China abstained. The vote was 13-2.”
“China was the only country that stood by Russia. You seem to be regretting and not condemning,” he told her.
The gang claimed to have defended its country by conducting an observation “on the merits of the matter” and then claimed that “China supports the objectives and policies of the United Nations, which respects the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.”
Later, Brennan asked him if he would be concerned if Russia kept 150,000 troops on the Chinese border. The gang’s only response was to apologize for Russia’s actions, saying “so we want good, friendly, neighborly relations with Russia.”
Brennan quipped, “Did you know that it’s good to have friendly, not neighborly relations, to put 150,000 troops on the border of a neighboring country and then send those troops to that country?” He then asked her “why can’t you condemn it as an attack?”
He claims that condemnation does not solve anything. He explained that he would be surprised if Russia backed down because China had condemned them.
Things came true when Brennan hit the gang after claiming “we need good diplomacy”:
Well, Vladimir Zelensky says he wants to meet with Vladimir Putin. Volodymyr Zelensky is in a bunker. Vladimir Putin is currently in a political war rally. You cannot have diplomacy when it is a country – the only country that is actually willing to negotiate.
The last question Brennan asked clearly put the gang out of guard. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was important for the United States.
He then asked if China would grant unlimited access to human rights activists’ detention camps. The gang responded strongly, “I reject it outright.” Under further pressure, he claimed, “there are no such so-called human rights violations.”
Click “Extend” to read the relevant transcript:
CBS’s Facing the nation
Margaret Brennan: Let’s talk about that international law because four days ago the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to stop its military action. China refrained from doing so. The vote was 13-2. China was the only country next to Russia. Looks like you’re regretting and not condemning.
Qin Gang (Chinese Ambassador to the US): China makes its observations and conclusions independently, based on its merits. In one hand.
Brennan: UN Secretary General says Russia has attacked.
Gang: We support China, on the one hand, and the UN objectives and policies, on the other, including Ukraine, with respect to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Brennan: Would you be concerned if Russia had more than 150,000 troops on the Chinese border?
Gang: That’s why we want …
BRENNAN: Okay just clear because China.
Gang: Good, friendly, neighborly relations with Russia.
BRENNAN: But you can recognize that it’s not a friendly, neighborly relationship, to put 150,000 troops on the border of a neighboring country and then send those troops to that country. In this situation, why can’t you condemn it as an attack?
Gang: Come on, don’t be naive. Condemnation.
BRENNAN: It sounds innocent to say it’s not an attack.
Gang: It doesn’t solve the problem. I would be surprised if Russia backs down condemning.
Brennan: If you tell President Vladimir Putin to back down, will they back down? Will your president tell Vladimir Putin to step down? They depend on you.
Gang: We did that, and they continue to promote peace talks and call for immediate fire. Just condemnation doesn’t help. We need reason. We need intelligence. We need courage. And we need good diplomacy.
Brennan: Well, Volodymyr Zelensky says he wants to meet Vladimir Putin. Volodymyr Zelensky is in a bunker. Vladimir Putin is currently in a political war rally. You cannot have diplomacy when it is a country – the only country that is actually willing to negotiate.
Brennan: I want to talk to you about a quick thing before we run out of time. You talked about how important the UN is and how much you respect it. So a UN human rights panel says there are credible reports that one million Uighurs are being held in a huge concentration camp. The High Commissioner for Refugees and Human Rights will visit China soon. Will you give them unlimited access?
Gang: I totally reject it.
Brennan: Yes you will give access or not you will not give access?
Gang: There are no so-called human rights violations.
BRENNAN: Then you give access?
Gang: Okay, we’re negotiating with the Special Commissioner for Human Rights, and as far as I understand there is an agreement.