In an interview published by Iran’s Tasnim News agency on October 19, 2020, Chang Hua, China's Ambassador to Iran, declared that China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners. He went on to attack U.S. policy, stating that China is consistently opposed to unilateral sanctions and to the U.S.'s "long-arm jurisdiction."
Stating that "no country in the world has a perfect human rights record," Chang Hua defended China's, particularly its measures in Xinjiang that, he said, have "guaranteed the fundamental rights of people of all ethnic groups" there. With regard to China's September 2020 naval exercises near the Taiwan Strait, he urged the U.S. to abide by the One-China policy, stating that "the U.S. should stop any form of official exchange and contact with Taiwan."
It is worth noting that on November 25, 2020, the U.S. sanctioned four entities located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia for supporting Iran’s missile program, under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). The State Department announcement stated: "We imposed sanctions against Chengdu Best New Materials Co., Ltd. and Zibo Elim Trade Co., Ltd. in the PRC and against Nilco Group, which is also known as Nil Fam Khazar Company and Santers Holding, and Joint Stock Company Elecon in Russia for transferring sensitive technology and items to Iran’s missile program. These measures are part of our response to Iran’s malign activities."
The following day, November 26, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to the sanctions: "China has lodged stern representations with the U.S. side over this. We firmly oppose unilateral sanctions and 'long-arm jurisdiction' imposed by the U.S. on other countries. We urge the U.S. side to correct its mistake at once and withdraw the illegal sanctions. China remains committed to safeguarding the international non-proliferation regime and strictly fulfilling its international obligation on non-proliferation. At the same time, we will firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests."
Following are excerpts from Chang Hua's interview with Iran's Tasnim News agency:
China's Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua (Source: Mehr news agency)
China Is Willing To Work With Iran To Promote Development Of China-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
Q: "Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif recently visited China and held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Following their meeting, Zarif tweeted that the two countries had reached a consensus on deepening bilateral relations, including regional cooperation, safeguarding the Iranian nuclear deal [JCPOA], and joint vaccine research and development. During his daily press conference, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman discussed Zarif's visit to China, saying that China is willing to work with Iran to continually deepen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between China and Iran. What do you do think about the continued emphasis on strengthening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries?"
Chang: "China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners. Both sides have always understood each other and supported each other. In recent years the two countries have consistently deepened and expanded pragmatic cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit – cooperation in various fields such as politics, economics, culture and people-to-people exchanges – [and these ties]have shown great vitality. In the fight against the pandemic, China and Iran were in the same boat and helped each other, reflecting the deep friendship between China and Iran and their people. China has always viewed relations between China and Iran from a strategic and long-term perspective. No matter how the international and regional situation changes, China is willing to work with Iran to promote the steady development of the China-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
"Foreign Minister Zarif visited China a few days ago and had in-depth and friendly discussions with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Today, the world is undergoing profound changes [the likes of which] have not been for a century, and is facing a series of new threats and challenges. More than ever, the international community needs to uphold multilateralism, uphold fairness and justice, and encourage open cooperation. China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners. China is willing to strengthen communication with Iran, to step up cooperation in various fields such as the fight against the pandemic, and to work with other countries to defend multilateralism, oppose unilateral bullying, and safeguard international fairness and justice and the common interests of developing countries."
Q: "Iran and China will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2021. In the last few years, despite the enormous pressure exerted by the U.S., Tehran and Beijing have engaged in fruitful cooperation. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, are diplomatic relations between the two countries expected to see any leaps or changes?"
Chang: "Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iran. As two ancient civilizations and emerging market economies, the development and growth of China and Iran is an inevitable trend in history. The long history of friendly exchanges between China and Iran, deep cultural experience, close cooperation in the fight against the epidemic and similar positions on international affairs have given a continuous impetus to the new development of bilateral relations."
"The U.S. Has Resorted To Unilateral Coercive Measures"
Q: "As everyone knows, the U.S. recently tried to trigger the 'snapback mechanism for re-imposing sanctions' in the [U.N.] Security Council, but failed to do so. It also forced its allies to impose new sanctions on Iranian banks and obstructed Iran's food and medicine imports. If the U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, how will China react?"
Chang: "In contrast to the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law, the U.S. has resorted to unilateral coercive measures such as economic blockades and financial sanctions against other countries; it has had a strong impact on the international political and economic order and the global governance system and has seriously damaged the economic development of the sanctioned countries and their ability to improve the livelihoods of their people; their impact on the fundamental human rights of many innocent people, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled, must not be ignored. In the current situation, where the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the globe, the U.S. has unilaterally implemented measures to restrict the transport and supply of protective equipment. It has made it difficult for sanctioned countries to ensure timely prevention and control of the outbreak and post-epidemic recovery, thus directly endangering the lives and health of people in affected countries and in particular, undermining the rights of marginalized communities. China is consistently opposed to unilateral sanctions and the so-called 'long-arm jurisdiction' imposed by the U.S. Normal cooperation between the international community, including China and Iran within the framework of international law, is reasonable and legal and must be respected and protected."
"The U.S. Is Used To Playing The Role Of Human Rights Teacher"
Q: "Recently, the U.S. media and officials have frequently attacked China on the Xinjiang question. The human rights situation in Iran has always been one of the excuses for anti-Iran propaganda in the U.S. But the U.S. itself has not properly dealt with [protecting civil] rights and the killing of black people. What do you think about the behavior of the U.S.?"
Chang: "The United States is used to playing the role of 'human rights teacher' while criticizing the human rights situation in other countries. But in fact the human rights record of the U.S. itself is in dire straits. 'I can't breathe!', 'Black Lives Matter' – the whole world has seen the sights and heard the sounds. The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution not long ago strongly condemning the serious issues of racial discrimination in the U.S. The U.S. should be self-aware and [must] first face and correct its own problems.
"No country in the world has a perfect human rights record. China is willing to engage in exchanges with other countries around the world on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and to jointly promote progress in the global cause of human rights. But we are not willing to accept 'human rights grandmasters'; we oppose the use of 'double standards' on human rights issues; we oppose the distortion of facts, the spread of rumors and interference in internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of human rights.
"Facts speak louder than words, and U.S. schemes will not shake China's overall performance. The various operations that have been carried out in Xinjiang have effectively prevented the frequent occurrence of violent and terrorist activities. They have ensured the unity and security of the country to the greatest extent possible, and have guaranteed the fundamental rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, such as the right to life, health and development. There has been no terrorist attack in Xinjiang for more than three years, and the safety and property of the 25 million people of all ethnic groups living in Xinjiang have been guaranteed to the fullest extent possible. The people of Xinjiang know best whether China's Xinjiang policy is good or not, and they have the most say in it. In the past, violent and terrorist incidents frequently occurred in Xinjiang.
"Nowadays the life of the Xinjiang communities is propitious and peaceful, and people enjoy a happy life. During the recent Chinese National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival, people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang celebrated National Day with tourists flocking from all over the country. Figures indicate that Xinjiang is one of the main travel destinations for domestic tourism during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival, with over 15.35 million domestic tourists, a year-by-year increase of over 10%. I've seen a lot of videos on the Internet showing people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang celebrating the national day with singing and dancing. Their smiling faces are brimming with joy – a testimony to the harmonious, happy, blissful and fulfilling lives of the people of all ethnic group in Xinjiang. Effortless joy and heartfelt smiles on the faces of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are the best illustration of the human rights situation in Xinjiang."
"China's Policy Towards The U.S. Is Consistent"
Q: "The U.S. presidential elections have recently attracted widespread attention. It seems that the Democratic candidate, Joseph Biden, is taking a more rational stance towards China than Trump. How will a Biden victory affect China-U.S. relations?"
Chang: "The U.S. elections are an internal U.S. affair, on which we do not comment. China's policy towards the U.S. is consistent. We are committed to non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the U.S. At the same time, we will firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. This policy has not changed. We urge the U.S. to view China and our bilateral relations in an objective and rational manner. They should aim to meet China halfway, to manage differences, to foster cooperation, and to put China-U.S. relations back on the right track, based on coordination, cooperation and stability."
"Taiwan Is The Most Important And Sensitive Issue In China-U.S. Relations, And The One-China Policy Is The Political Foundation On Which It Is Based"
Q: "Are there any particular reasons for the Chinese military exercises off the coast of eastern China? Is there a possibility of a military conflict over Taiwan between China and the U.S.?"
Chang: "Recently, some major powers have continued to be involved in negative trends in Taiwan-related affairs. They are sending out severely wrong signals to the proponents of 'Taiwan independence,' thus seriously threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of China territory. Patrols and training activities organized by the Chinese People's Liberation Army are needed to address the current security situation across the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty. The Chinese People's Liberation Army will always exercise high vigilance, take all necessary measures, resolutely retaliate for all provocative acts that push for 'Taiwan's independence' and dividing the country, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations, and the one-China policy is the political foundation on which it is based. What the U.S. has been doing in Taiwan seriously violates its commitments. We urge the U.S. to abide by the One-China policy and the provisions of the three joint Sino-U.S. communiqués. The U.S. should stop any form of official exchange and contact with Taiwan, stop strengthening their substantive relations and handle them prudently and properly. This should be done to avoid severely damaging China-U.S. cooperation in key areas and to ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
"The Chinese Civilization And The Persian Civilization Are Complementary And Have Made Great Contributions To The Development Of World Civilization"
Q: "We have noticed that you are very active on social media and that you are also very interested in the news and people of the arts of Iran. For example, you recently tweeted about Hafez Day [celebrating the 14th-century Iranian poet]. How do you assess the current cultural relations between the two countries and the mutual understanding between the two peoples?"
Chang: "Thank you for paying attention to my social media activities. Since ancient times, the peoples of China and Iran have forged deep friendship through cordial exchanges on the Silk Road. The Chinese civilization and the Persian civilization are complementary and have made great contributions to the development of world civilization. Chinese President Xi Jinping once said that friendship between two nations lies in the closeness of the people, and that the closeness of the people lies in the union of the hearts. As the Persian proverb says: 'Between two hearts there's a road.' Culture is a bridge and a link between countries and a conduit for enhancing mutual understanding between peoples. Different countries, different nations, and different civilizations should be committed to mutual learning and exchange and harmonious coexistence. China is willing to continue to strengthen cultural exchanges with Iran, so that the flaming spirit of the Silk Road can be passed on to the next generations. I am willing to continue my own efforts to this end."
 Chang Hua began his diplomatic career in China's Foreign Ministry at the age of 21 and held various positions in China's missions in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016-2019 he served as Director General of the Department of Foreign Affairs Management, Office of Foreign Affairs at the CPC Central Committee.
 Ru.usembassy.gov/new-sanctions-under-the-iran-north-korea-and-syria-nonproliferation-act-inksna, November 27, 2020.
 Ir.china-embassy.org, October 12, 2020.