EU-China Summit: EU Must Exert Real Pressure – Human Rights Situation in China Deteriorating

On the eve of the summit in Copenhagen between European Union leaders and the Chinese prime minister Zhu Rongji, Amnesty International calls on the EU to put an end to the situation where the so-called dialogue on human rights is in effect a monologue which China ignores. Amnesty International urges the Danish EU Presidency to convey to the Chinese leadership that it will no longer accept a dialogue that produces no results whatsoever.

Before last year’s EU-China summit, Amnesty International highlighted its concerns about the “significant deterioration” in the human rights situation in China. Its new report released today: “People’s Republic of China: serious human rights violations and the crackdown on dissent continue” (available here see link a end of page) shows that the situation is getting worse in exactly the same areas:

  • Escalation of death sentences and executions as part of the ‘strike hard’ campaign against crime (China has by far the highest rate of executions in the world);
  • Widespread reports of arbitrary detention and torture or ill-treatment of members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement;
  • Intensified crackdown on North Korean asylum seekers in China.

With the “war on terrorism” being used as a pretext for repression, there is now also a marked intensification of the crackdown on the mainly Muslim Uighur community in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Other concerns are the arrest and imprisonment of large numbers of political activists, human rights defenders, reform advocates and internet users, and the ongoing restrictions on workers’ rights showing that China’s ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is so far an empty, pro forma gesture.

Amnesty International recalls that after last year’s EU-China summit, both sides “agreed to continue their dialogue on human rights and reaffirmed their commitment to work towards meaningful and positive results”.

“With the situation going from bad to worse in China, the reality is that the EU has achieved no results at all from this ongoing dialogue,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “Judging from events in China, this is effectively a monologue, a self-serving exercise in which the EU is being taken for a ride.”

“Voicing concern at summits is just not good enough when your partner refuses to listen. It is time for the EU to strike a different balance and complement its ‘constructive engagement’ with real pressure, through public scrutiny of China’s human rights record at the United Nations, ” said Dick Oosting.

Click here for full text of document “China: serious human rights violations and the crackdown on dissent continue” (AI index ASA 17/047/2002)

Click here for cover page of document

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
[email protected]