(TibetanReview.net, Dec12’23) – China on Dec 11 reacted with bitter anger at a statement issued the day before by the EU delegation in China on the occasion of the international Human Rights Day which marked the 75th anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The statement was particularly strong on the situation in Xinjiang and also Tibet and listed a number of individual victims from across the PRC whose cases the EU continues to closely monitor.
President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, had taken part in the 24th EU-China Summit over Dec 7-8 in Beijing, during which they raised the situation in Tibet as well.
While acknowledging China’s notable efforts in poverty alleviation, improved access to health, education and implementation of other social improvements for its citizens, the EU delegation statement said that “at the same time, civil and political rights are not guaranteed and are in some cases deliberately and systematically violated.”
It urged China to “abide by its obligations under national law, including its own Constitution, and international law, to respect, protect and fulfil human rights for all, including Uyghurs, Tibetans and persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities across China.”
The statement said the EU was “particularly concerned about the systemic and severe restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of religion or belief, and systemic restrictions on the right of minorities to enjoy their own culture, and to use their own language, in private and public, including in the field of education. These restrictions risk leading to cultural erasure.”
With regard to Tibet specifically, the statement said: the “obligatory boarding schooling and DNA sampling are further indications of the dire human rights situation.”
It further said, “The EU continues to call for meaningful, unrestricted and unsupervised access by independent international experts, foreign journalists and diplomats to Tibet, Xinjiang and elsewhere in China.”
The statement said the EU was continuing to closely monitor the situation in China while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of, among others, Pastor Cao Sanqiang, Chang Weiping, Chen Yunfei, Cheng Yuan, Ding Jiaxi, Gao Zhisheng, Go Sherab Gyatso, Guo Quan, He Fangmei, Huang Qi, Huang Xueqin, Sakharov Prize winner Ilham Tohti, Kamile Wayit, Li Qiaochu, Li Yanhe, Li Yuhan, Peng Lifa, Qin Yongmin, Qin Yongpei, Rinchen Tsultrim, Ruan Xiaohuan, Tashi Dorje, Tashpolat Tiyip, Wang Aizhong, Wang Bingzhang, Wang Jianbing, Pastor Wang Yi, Wang Zang, Xu Na, Xu Qin, Xu Yan, Xu Zhiyong, Yang Maodong, Yu Wensheng, Pastor Zhang Chunlei and Zhang Zhan, as well as EU citizen Gui Minhai whose right to consular access must be respected.
China’s Foreign Ministry “strongly rejected the European Union’s groundless accusation of China’s human rights situation and urged the EU to stop politicizing and weaponizing human rights issues.” Spokeswoman Mao Ning accused the EU of spreading “a tremendous amount of disinformation about China, slanders China’s image and severely interferes in China’s domestic affairs.”
“China deplores and strongly opposes this and has made solemn demarches to the EU side,” China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Dec 12 quoted Mao as saying at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
China’s official globaltimes.cn Dec 11 cited Mo as saying the US and EU should mind their own business on human rights issues.
The US was targeted apparently because its ambassador in Beijing, Nicholas Burns, had also issued a statement on Dec 10, which, among other things, condemned “the PRC’s human rights abuses against Tibetans and its brutal campaign to eliminate Tibet’s unique cultural, linguistic, and ethnic identity.”
“We call on the PRC to examine its human rights practices and uphold its international human rights obligations and the commitments it has made to its own people,” the statement said.