EU Should Demand Concrete Progress on Human Rights in Dialogue With China
Posted by Author on June 28, 2010
Human Rights Watch, June 28, 2010 –
(New York) – The European Union should set benchmarks for human rights improvements with the Chinese government during this week’s EU-China human rights dialogue, Human Rights Watch said today.
The EU should use the June 29 round of talks in Madrid as an occasion to press the Chinese government to repeal dangerously ambiguous “state secrets” and “subversion” laws, release dissidents, and set a timetable for China’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in order to address serious and ongoing violations of human rights in China.
“For too long, the EU-China human rights dialogue has been a toothless talk shop which has failed to meaningfully address the Chinese government’s poor record on human rights,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU should use the upcoming Madrid meeting to express serious concern about the Chinese government’s violations of human rights, and to establish verifiable steps which will put an end to those abuses and provide redress for the victims.”
The EU-China human rights dialogues are usually held twice a year, with one session in Europe and one in Beijing. The dialogues began in 1995, but in part because they are not linked at the political or policy level to other key issues in the EU-China bilateral relationship such as trade, investment, and the environment, they have consistently failed to deliver any substantive improvements on specific human rights abuses in China.
The Madrid meeting will occur in the wake of a series of unusually blunt and high-profile official European criticisms of China’s human rights environment, which has worsened since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
* On June 11, 2010, the Office of the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton criticized a Chengdu court’s decision to uphold a five-year prison sentence for civil society activist Tan Zuoren on charges of “subversion of state power.” Tan was arrested while attempting to compile a list of names of child victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Ashton’s statement described the court’s move as “entirely incompatible with [Tan’s] right to freedom of expression and does not meet international standards of fairness.” …… (more details from Human Rights Watch)
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