EU Condemns China on Human and Religious Rights
Friday, 14 July 2006, 11:30 am
Bruxelles: The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has adopted a report on relations between the European Union and China which asks Beijing for greater respect of human rights, religious freedom and freedom of information. Among other things, it asks China to put an end to state-mandated episcopal ordinations and to refrain from censoring the press and Internet sites, according to AsiaNews.
The report, drafted at the initiative of Dutch MEP Bastiaan Belder, consists of a series of considerations and requests addressed to Beijing on economic, social and religious matters, to make more truthful ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“the partnershipÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â between the EU and China, which has existed for 30 years and which should be based on ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“credibility, stability and responsibility.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In recent years, following enlargement, the EU has become Beijing’s top trading partner, surpassing Japan;
on its part, China has become the EU’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States.
The report analyzes various sectors of interest to the European community: international trade, problems related to pollution and the environment; the (limited) freedom of Chinese markets; Beijing’s lack of respect for international copyright; international tensions with Taiwan and North Korea.
The report points out several issues related to human rights, on which the EU has been silent.
In a series of amendments adopted on Wednesday, China is asked to eliminate its laogai system (labour camps for re-education). The report also condemns the practice of torture and internment of dissidents and Tibetan monks in psychiatric hospitals. It asks that attention be given to social unrest and that the death penalty be abolished.
Thanks to pressure by various Catholic parliamentarians, among which Antonio Tajani and Mario Mauro, the report also adopted various amendments more closely related to religious freedom: that the difference between ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“officialÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â and ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“unofficialÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Church be eliminated; that the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“secularityÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â of the Chinese state be maintained, with the curbing of government interference on religious questions. In this regard ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ referring to the illicit episcopal ordinations
which took place some months ago, and which were forcefully criticized by the Holy See ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ the report points out to China that it has no right to make appointments to the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
On freedom of information, the EU speaks out against the increasing lack of press freedom and the systems of Internet censorship.
(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.)