Daily Notebook : 11-04-2002
China - Call for greater social and political rights Vasco GRACA MOURA (EPP-ED, P)
Report on the Commission communication on an EU Strategy towards
China: Implementation of the 1998 Communication and Future Steps for a more Effective EU Policy
(COM(2001) 265 - C5-0098/2001 - 2001/2045(COS))
Procedure : Consultation paper
Debate : 10.04.2002
Vote : 10.04.02
MEPs approved a resolution supporting increased cooperation between the EU and China, based on close political and cultural dialogue, and taking account of both economic interests and human rights. It focuses on three main issues: trade, Taiwan and human rights, especially in Tibet. While welcoming Beijing's support for the
international fight against terrorism, Parliament emphasises that this cannot justify abuses of human rights and the rule of law.
On trade, the resolution congratulates China on its recent accession to the WTO and expresses support for its current economic and social reforms. However, MEPs believe further progress is needed on the rule of law and to separate business from government. They also argue that economic progress requires political and social
progress, including independent trade unions and a more even geographical spread of economic development. Lastly, China is urged not to neglect environmental and sustainable development issues.
On Taiwan, the resolution highlights the EU's support for the one-China policy, while stressing Parliament's commitment to a peaceful resolution of the dispute through dialogue and mutual confidence-building between Beijing and Taipei. MEPs recognize the democratic process under way in Taiwan, notably the elections held there in December 2001, and urge the two parties to engage in talks as soon as possible. They believe that participation by Taiwan in ASEM could represent a step forward. They also ask the Commission to open without delay an EU information office in Taipei.
While acknowledging the progress made on human rights, Parliament expresses concern at the overall human rights situation and urges China to implement without delay the UN Conventions that it has ratified. It also calls for the abolition of the death penalty and speedier reform of the justice system. Moreover, the Commission
and Member States are asked to ensure that the EU imports no products from forced labour camps. MEPs believe that the 2008 Olympic Games provide an opportunity for China to move forward
on human rights.
On the Tibet question, the resolution voices concern about imprisoned monks and stresses that the rights of religious and ethnic minorities should be fully respected. In conclusion, it reiterates
Parliament's demand for Tibet to be granted autonomy within the Republic of China and calls on the Chinese Government to resume
direct negotiations with the Dalai Lama.
With regard to Hong Kong, the House expressed concern about report that the Chinese government appears be intent on forcing
11,000 children of Hong Kong residence to be removed to the mainland and there is a call on the Chinese government to facilitate the family reunion of children born on the mainland with Hong Kong resident parents.
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