EU urges China on human rights - Pakistan Today

EU urges China on human rights

The European Union queried China on a wide range of alleged human rights violations on Thursday, including the treatment of Tibetans, religious freedom and extra-legal detentions, the bloc said.
The one-day talks were the first in a year after China – furious over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize last year to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo – cancelled a human rights dialogue planned for December 2010. “The two sides reviewed recent developments in human rights and had an in-depth discussion on the rights of minorities… in particular the situation of ethnic Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongols,” a statement issued by the EU said.
“There were extensive discussions on the rule of law, freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, the situation of human rights lawyers and defenders. “The EU side sought further information about reports of torture of people in detention.” The EU also raised a number of individual cases, but the statement did not reveal which cases were raised. The dialogue, which normally takes place twice a year, is an opportunity for EU officials to convey to Beijing their thoughts on the rights situation in China, and to raise individual cases.
The Chinese government, wary of the possibility of protests similar to those that have swept the Arab world since the start of the year, is in the midst of a serious clampdown on dissent, with scores of lawyers and activists detained or disappeared without benefit of legal procedure.
“The EU and China also discussed a number of specific items related to the rule of law,” the statement said.
“The EU side expressed its concerns about the use of forced disappearances and extra-legal detentions.”
Among the high-profile cases is the fate of prominent artist-activist Ai Weiwei, whose whereabouts remain unknown since he was taken away in April on suspicion of economic crimes. Other high profile cases are those of the wife of Nobel Prize winner Liu, Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for months, and veteran activists Ran Yunfei, Ding Mao and Chen Wei, who have been charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”
The EU delegation was led by Jim Moran, director for Asia at the European External Action Service of the EU, the statement said. Foreign ministry director general Chen Xu headed the Chinese delegation. Before the talks, US-based Human Rights Watch urged the EU “to take immediate steps to transform the dialogue into an instrument for progress,” calling the current crackdown the “most intense” in a generation.
If the EU did not press for specific results, “it will effectively mean that it has surrendered to Chinese government efforts to limit international public scrutiny and discussions about its human rights record.”



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