Sunday, October 08, 2006

EU-China Resolution on Human Rights

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on September 7, 2006 sounding the alarm over a range of Chinese economic, foreign policy, environmental, and human rights issues, including the forced removal of organs from political prisoners. The EU-China resolution passed just before the recent EU-Asia summit proposes major law reform. In the run-up to the Olympics, China’s list of human rights violations is getting longer and longer. Here are a few examples:

European Parliament resolution on EU-China Relations (2005/2161(INI)

61. Deplores the recent crackdown by Chinese officials on defence lawyers aimed at stamping out legal challenges to their authority; calls upon the Chinese authorities to reveal the whereabouts of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, one of China's most outspoken lawyers and dissidents who is held on suspicion of criminal activity, and to release him unless he is to be charged with a recognised criminal offence; similarly calls for the release of Chen Guangcheng, a peasants' rights advocate who has helped citizens in their attempts to sue their local authorities for carrying out forced abortions and sterilisations and who was sentenced to more than four years in prison, and of Bu Dongwei, who has been assigned to two and a half years of 'Re-education through Labour' (RTL) and who is detained at an undisclosed location; therefore urges the authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders can carry out peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of arbitrary arrest, torture or ill-treatment and that they be given access to proper legal representation in the event of arrest;

64. Condemns in particular the existence of the Laogai labour camps across the country, in which the PRC detains pro-democracy activists, labour activists and members of minorities without a fair trial, forcing them to work in appalling conditions and without medical treatment; urges China to ratify ILO Conventions 29 and 105 on the Elimination of forced and compulsory labour; calls on China to give a written undertaking in relation to any given exported product that it has not been produced by forced labour in a Laogai camp and, if no such assurance can be given, insists that the Commission prohibit its importation into the EU;

66. Strongly condemns the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners in prisons, "Re-education through Labour" camps, psychiatric hospitals and "legal education schools"; is concerned about reports that organs of detained Falun Gong practitioners have been removed and sold to hospitals; urges the Chinese Government to end the detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners and to release them immediately;

70. Expresses deep disquiet at the current clamp-down in the PRC on freedom of expression and free access to the Internet; repeats its requests to Beijing to refrain from intimidating, cracking down on or imprisoning those who advocate freedom of expression, whether the repression is directed at journalists or human rights activists or whether it makes information impossible to use by blacking out websites that do not conform to state censorship; condemns, therefore, the Internet censorship law passed by the National People's Congress and the existence of systems of Internet censorship collectively known as the 'Great Firewall of China'; calls in particular for the site to be allowed back onto the Web without delay – or in any event no longer be blacked out – bearing in mind that, in addition to being an excellent source of information about Asia and human rights advocacy, it also helps to foster dialogue between the Vatican and the PRC and hence the unity of the Chinese Church;

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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