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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

HRIC, in Joint Appeal, Urges EU to Push for Rights Progress in China

October 13, 2010

Human Rights in China (HRIC)
October 5, 2010

On the eve of the EU-China Summit in Brussels on October 6, 2010,
Human Rights in China (HRIC), together with the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and International Campaign for
Tibet (ICT), calls upon the European Union to reassess its strategy
on human rights in China in view of deteriorating conditions.

In an open letter to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, HRIC, FIDH, and ICT
recommend that the EU:

* integrate human rights work into the overall strategic partnership
with China;

* increase the transparency of its human rights engagement with China;

* send clear signals of support for calls inside China for political
and democratic reforms; and

* make the participation of independent Chinese NGOs a condition to
continuation of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue Seminars.

Below is the full text of the letter (also available on FIDH's website).

Open Letter to the Attention of Catherine Ashton, High Representative
of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of
the European Commission

5 October 2010

Dear Ms Ashton,

FIDH and its member organisations Human Rights in China (HRIC) and
the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) wish to call upon you to
publicly regret the lack of human rights progress in China on the
occasion of the EU-China Summit, to be held on October 6, 2010, and
initiate, on this occasion, a thorough review of the EU's strategy on
human rights in China.

For the past 15 years, the EU has developed a "structured" and
focused dialogue on human rights with China, held bi-annually, which
has only led to limited improvements. While some steps have been
taken in the right direction (labour reform, Supreme People's Court
review of death sentences), there remains an urgent need to undertake
systemic reforms in response to serious social unrest and to assure a
fair and independent judicial system.

At the same time, the deterioration of the human rights situation,
marked by widening social unrest and tightening of the control and
repression of human rights defenders, lawyers, bloggers, and social
activists, the targeted policies aimed at marginalizing Tibetans,
raise questions about the commitment and political will of the
Chinese authorities to promote greater protections for human rights
and peaceful social change.

More recently, however, there have been renewed public references to
the need to undertake political reforms, including by Premier Wen
Jiabao. At this critical juncture, the EU must take the opportunity
to send clear signals of support for these calls for political and
democratic reforms. At the same time, the EU's strategy on human
rights should be reviewed and strengthened with the following objectives:

The EU's human rights engagement with China on cases and thematic
issues of concern needs to be coherent and integrated into the
overall Comprehensive Strategic Partnership being discussed with the
Chinese authorities.

The EU should regularly publicize its assessment of the evolution of
the human rights situation in China and increase the transparency of
its engagement with China. Human rights evolution in China is a
matter of primary and public interest, beyond the EU's own interest
on the matter. A public assessment would also provide support to the
courageous individuals and domestic groups raising human rights
issues, including corruption and lack of accountability of the
government. In particular, the lack of results of the bilateral
dialogue on human rights should be publicly shared. In addition, the
EU should publicise the list of all the political prisoners that it
has asked to be released.

The pursuit of the EU-China human rights legal experts meetings
should be conditioned on the participation of independent Chinese
NGOs. Our organisations have consistently been saying that a truly
constructive dialogue must involve Chinese human rights advocates and
independent social groups, promoting their contribution and
"constructive criticism". Legal seminars on human rights should
include independent experts, scholars, and civil society groups,
aimed at bringing together diverse expertise and experiences instead
of excluding actors working for genuine change in China.

Dialogue should only be one tool among others in the field of human
rights. Beyond a regular public assessment of its investment in the
human rights dialogue, reviewing the EU's overall relations with
China could produce more results on the situation of human rights. In

* The EU's existing regulatory framework banning imports or exports
of products should be expanded to include any goods produced in any
detention centers with forced labor.

* Modern technology in the field of information and communication
developed by European companies should not be exported without a
thorough human rights impact assessment that includes an
identification of the risks and challenges under domestic and
international law, with particular attention to the impact of the
technology on freedom of expression and privacy. This assessment
should also identify the planned steps that the company will take to
address or minimize these risks.

* Trade agreements concluded with the Chinese authorities should be
revisited and assessed to determine the ways they have impacted on
human rights, and ways in which these agreements can include
provisions that proactively anticipate and address potential human
rights impacts.

Trusting your consideration of these recommendations and thanking you
for your deep reflection on these, we remain,

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr Belhassen
FIDH President

Sharon Hom
Executive Director of HRIC

Vincent Metten
EU Policy Director, ICT

For more information on FIDH and ICT, see:

* International Federation for Human Rights

* International Campaign for Tibet

For more information on the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue Seminars, see:

* "HRIC/FIDH Joint Assessment of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue
and Legal Expert Seminars," December 8, 2008

* "Preliminary Assessment of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue,"
February 24, 2004 (PDF)

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