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Statement of the Chinese Embassy on the report of "debris dumping" by the Ottawa Citizen
2008/07/07

On July 5th, the Ottawa Citizen front-paged an illustrated report, claiming that the Chinese Embassy "has been dumping old cinder blocks into the Rideau River". As un-corroborated and misleading as it is sensational and eye-catching, the report has unjustifiably impaired the reputation and image of the Chinese Embassy, for which we wish to express our regret

The Embassy wishes herewith to make the following clarifications :

1. The alleged site of "debris dumping" completely lies within the boundaries of the Chinese Embassy, and therefore, within the dimensions of its exclusive jurisdiction. Instead of "dumping into the river", it is, in fact, a protective project "on the ground" to "fix damaged shoreline". The low-lying northwest corner of the Embassy premises, which "backs onto the water", has been exposed to serious erosion, with shoreline trees uprooted, ground vegetations destroyed, and Embassy perimeter walls severely undermined, to the point of near-collapse. It is out of a strong sense of responsibility that the Embassy decided to start the protective project of the shoreline grounds, to consolidate the river bank, to protect Embassy premises and in doing so, minimizing the risks of continued tidal erosion to both our Embassy premises.

2. The material used for the project are not "cinder blocks" as reported, but concrete blocks from dismantled perimeter walls, which according to pre-project due-diligence consultations, would basically pose no risk of pollution to the river. It is exactly out of the consideration for ecological protection that the Embassy had planned to cover the restored grounds with a thick layer of top soil on which grass turfs will be planted to fend off further soil erosion. Unlike the fact and reason-depleted allegation to "reduce the stability of the shoreline", the Embassy project underway is, as a matter of fact, a pro-active measure to strengthen the shoreline.

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, other international laws and Canadian domestic laws, as long as it does not impair the rights and interests of others, the Chinese Embassy is entitled to conducting projects within its own perimeters. Without solid confirmation of even the basic facts, the publication of such an unfounded, sensational and misleading illustrated "report" by the Ottawa Citizen is against all what journalism is about. It has, without any justification, undermined the reputation and image of the Chinese Embassy, for which the Embassy solemnly demands: 

- An apology from the Ottawa Citizen;

- Immediate measures by the Ottawa Citizen to undo all negative impacts arising therefrom, based on the principles of fairness, objectiveness, truthfulness and responsibility.

The Chinese Embassy hereby reiterates that it will continue to unswervingly abide by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other international laws, respect local laws, regulations and public interest.

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