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Debates
Wednesday, 18 December 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Situation of the Uyghur in China (China-cables) (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, I want to thank Mr Borrell for some clear words on behalf of the EU. The policy of the Chinese Communist Party towards the Uyghurs has never been liberal, but in 2014 a totalitarian turn was taken in Xinjiang that has created the worst police state that we have on the globe today. This extreme policy is even encountering some internal opposition, as we learn from the China cables, and I think that for a nation of such great cultural tradition as China, it is shameful to implement such policies.

Fighting terrorism is necessary, but it’s not an excuse for fighting people who want to think as they want, who want to speak as they want, who want to worship as they want. We strongly believe that it’s time to end the lies, to end the excuses and to end the distractions, and to close the camps. We, as Europeans, must also be active beyond just voicing critical words. That’s why this Parliament calls for the halt of exports and the tech transfer of products and services that are used to enhance cyber surveillance. This is why this Parliament asks that forced labour from internment camps must not be allowed to enter into EU-based companies’ value chains, and as has been said before, the products of forced labour must be banned from the European markets. We call on all EU-based companies to draw clear red lines. They are running a high reputational risks if they don’t implement a robust human rights due diligence system that makes sure that they’re not implicated in acts of repression.

We also need a human rights sanctions mechanism, as you have discussed with the foreign ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council, and we need that expeditiously.

Let me make a last sentence that alludes to Ilham Tohti, our Sakharov laureate. He is not allowed to see his family. He hasn’t seen his family for two years, even though Chinese law guarantees that. I think we should all insist that his family should be allowed to know where he lives and to see him.

 
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