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Procedure : 2015/2003(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0350/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0350/2015

Debates :

PV 15/12/2015 - 12
CRE 15/12/2015 - 12

Votes :

PV 16/12/2015 - 11.9
CRE 16/12/2015 - 11.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0458

Texts adopted
PDF 239kWORD 124k
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 - Strasbourg Final edition
EU-China Relations
P8_TA(2015)0458A8-0350/2015

European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on EU-China relations (2015/2003(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and China as of 6 May 1975,

–  having regard to the EU-China Strategic Partnership launched in 2003,

–  having regard to the main legal framework for relations with China, namely the EC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement(1), signed in May 1985, which covers economic and trade relations and the EU-China cooperation programme,

–  having regard to the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation agreed on 21 November 2013,

–  having regard to the structured EU-China political dialogue formally established in 1994 and the High‑Level Strategic Dialogue on strategic and foreign policy issues established in 2010, in particular the 5th EU-China High Level Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing on 6 May 2015,

–  having regard to the negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which have been ongoing since 2007,

–  having regard to the negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Agreement that were started in January 2014,

–  having regard to the 17th EU-China Summit, which took place in Brussels on 29 June 2015, and to the joint statement issued at its conclusion,

–  having regard to the remarks made by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, on 29 June 2015 at the joint press conference with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang following the 17th EU-China Summit, in which he expressed the EU’s ‘concerns on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs’ and ‘encouraged China to resume a meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 October 2006 entitled ‘EU – China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities’ (COM(2006)0631),

–  having regard to the Council’s East Asia Policy Guidelines,

–  having regard to the General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions of 11‑12 December 2006, entitled ‘EU-China Strategic Partnership’,

–  having regard to the Commission Strategy Paper for China 2007-2013, the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2011-2013, and the 2010 mid-term review of the Strategy Paper and review of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2011-2013,

–  having regard to the first-ever policy paper by China on the EU, issued on 13 October 2003,

–  having regard to the adoption of the new national security law by the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress of 1 July 2015, and the publication of the second draft of a new Foreign NGO Management law on 5 May 2015,

–  having regard to the White Paper of 26 May 2015 on China’s military strategy,

–  having regard to the EU-China dialogue on human rights launched in 1995 and the 32nd round held in Beijing on 8-9 December 2014,

–  having regard to the 60 sectoral dialogues in progress between China and the EU, concerning, inter alia, the environment, regional policy, employment and social affairs and civil society,

–  having regard to the establishment in February 2012 of the EU-China High-Level People‑to-People Dialogue, which accommodates all EU-China joint initiatives in this field,

–  having regard to the scientific and technological cooperation agreement between the EC and China, which entered into force in 2000(2) and the Science and Technology Partnership Agreement signed on 20 May 2009,

–  having regard to the EU-China joint statement on Climate Change issued at the 17th EU-China Summit in June 2015, and to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by China to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 30 June 2015,

–  having regard to the EU-China Joint Declaration on Energy Security issued in Brussels on 3 May 2012, and to the Energy Dialogue between the EC and China,

–  having regard to the China-EU Round Tables,

–  having regard to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which took place from 8 to 14 November 2012, and to the leadership changes in the Politburo Standing Committee as decided at that congress,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966,

–  having regard to the outcomes of the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Central Committee (the Fourth Plenum) held on 20-23 October 2014,

–  having regard to the chair’s statement at the 26th ASEAN Summit of 27 April 2015,

–  having regard to the statement of the Vice President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security of 6 May 2015 following her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang,

–  having regard to the most recent EP-China interparliamentary meeting, which took place on 26 November 2013,

–  having regard to its recent resolutions on China, in particular those of 23 May 2012 on EU and China: Unbalanced Trade?(3), of 2 February 2012 on the EU foreign policy towards the BRICS and other emerging powers: objectives and strategies(4), of 14 March 2013 on nuclear threats and human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(5), of 17 April 2014 on the situation in North Korea(6), of 5 February 2014 on 2030 framework for climate and energy policies(7), and of 12 March 2015 on the Annual Report from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament(8),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 7 September 2006 on EU-China relations(9), of 5 February 2009 on trade and economic relations with China(10), of 14 March 2013 on EU-China relations(11), of 9 October 2013 on the EU-China negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement(12), and of 9 October 2013 on EU-Taiwan trade relations(13),

–  having regard to its human rights resolutions of 26 November 2009 on China: minority rights and application of the death penalty(14), of 10 March 2011 on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China)(15), of 5 July 2012 on the forced abortion scandal in China(16), of 12 December 2013 on organ harvesting in China(17), and of 13 March 2014 on EU priorities for the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council(18),

–  having regard to the EU arms embargo introduced after the Tiananmen crackdown of June 1989, as supported by Parliament in its resolution of 2 February 2006 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2005 on relations between the EU, China and Taiwan and security in the Far East(20),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Tibet, in particular those of 25 November 2010 on Tibet: plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction(21), of 27 October 2011 on Tibet, in particular self-immolation by nuns and monks(22) and of 14 June 2012 on the human rights situation in Tibet(23),

–  having regard to the nine rounds of talks from 2002 to 2010 between high-ranking representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama; having regard to China’s White Paper on Tibet, entitled ‘Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide’ and published by China’s State Council Information Office on 15 April 2015; having regard to the 2008 Memorandum and the 2009 Note on Genuine Autonomy, both presented by the Representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0350/2015),

A.  whereas 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China; whereas the EU-China Strategic Partnership is of key importance to relations between the EU and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and to finding mutual answers to a range of global concerns and identifying common interests, such as global and regional security, counter-terrorism, the fight against organised crime, cybersecurity, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear non-proliferation, energy security, global financial and market regulation, climate change and sustainable development, as well as in creating a framework to address bilateral concerns between the EU and China;

B.  whereas China and the EU launched negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in 2013;

C.  whereas China is a major trading partner of the EU, with a huge and expanding market; whereas the ongoing investment agreement negotiations represent one of the most important issues in EU-China bilateral economic and trade relations;

D.  whereas, under the current leadership of Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese President, China has launched a series of initiatives, including a ‘New Silk Road’ project to integrate China economically with Central Asia and, ultimately, with Europe and Africa, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and a strategically important energy deal with Russia for the supply of 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, the construction of an oil pipeline and other joint oil exploration and exploitation projects in China; whereas in the last few years China has been pursuing increasingly active investment policies, in the EU as well as in its eastern neighbourhood;

E.  whereas President Xi Jinping has launched the ‘Chinese Dream’ initiative, which was put forward as a concept and vision aimed at realising national rejuvenation and building a moderately prosperous society across a broad spectrum of economic, social, cultural and political dimensions, and at China becoming a fully developed nation by 2049;

F.  whereas China has experienced very high levels of economic growth in the last 20 years, and 600 million Chinese citizens have been lifted out of poverty;

G.  whereas the 2015 Chinese stock market crash has impacted negatively on global financial stability, including in the EU;

H.  whereas China’s family planning policy has caused a rapid ageing process among the population since the 1980s, with over 200 million citizens now over 60 years old;

I.  whereas environmental degradation in China has taken on dramatic proportions and ever more urgent, strong and targeted government action is necessary; whereas the question of sustainable development and climate change was discussed at the recent EU-China summit and a joint statement on climate change was issued;

J.  whereas China has acknowledged the need for the threat of climate change to be addressed, and has undertaken to adopt a protocol or other legal instrument that will enable a comprehensive agreement on the issue to be reached at the Paris Climate Change Conference;

K.  whereas President Xi’s popular anti-corruption campaign, launched in 2012 and aimed at addressing governance issues by targeting Party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption, has claimed one high-profile victim after another, exposing not only graft but also vast fortunes amassed by Chinese leaders and also revealing the infiltration of the political system by powerful criminal networks;

L.  whereas foreign NGOs have been flourishing and playing a vital role for the development of local NGOs and the opening-up of China since the reform;

M.  whereas, in the interests of national security, China has published three new draft laws this year which include provisions on cybersecurity and NGOs;

N.  whereas in 2013 and 2014 Beijing, Kunming and Urumqi were the targets of major and violent terrorist attacks, leaving 72 people dead and 356 injured; whereas China is preparing a counter-terror law, which underlines the fact that the government gives the fight against terrorism the highest priority;

O.  whereas in June 2015 the Hong Kong Legislative Council voted against a controversial proposal that would have let Hong Kong voters elect their Chief Executive, but only from a pool of candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee; whereas precisely this proposal sparked the 79-day pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of massive protests, from late September till mid-December 2014;

P.  whereas the new Chinese leadership considers the rise of the PRC as an irreversible fact resulting in a shift from ‘responsive diplomacy’ to ‘proactive diplomacy’;

Q.  whereas the new White Paper on China’s military strategy postulates that the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned and that greater importance should be attached to managing the seas and protecting maritime rights and interests; whereas China is refusing to recognise the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in connection with the South and East China Sea disputes;

R.  whereas, in a 2002 Declaration of Conduct, China and the ASEAN countries promised to create the conditions for ‘a peaceful and durable solution’ in the South China Sea; whereas, despite this, tension is continuing to grow with neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei;

S.  whereas China is North Korea’s main political supporter and largest investor, aid donor, food and energy supplier and trade partner; whereas Chinese experts recently revealed that North Korea may already have 20 nuclear warheads;

T.  whereas in the wake of the Ukraine crisis Russia and China have stepped up their mutual relations in an unprecedented fashion;

U.  whereas on 8 May 2015 Russia and China signed a bilateral agreement on ‘information security’, which defines cyberthreats as the transmission of information that could endanger the ‘societal-political and social-economic systems, and spiritual, moral and cultural environment of states’;

V.  whereas since 2005 China has extended credit to Latin American countries to a total value of approximately USD 100 billion; whereas at present China is Brazil’s principal trading partner and the second largest for – by way of example – Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba;

W.  whereas the Chinese Government acknowledges the importance and the universality of human rights, but is lacking in tangible results as regards improving its human rights record;

X.  whereas China has officially and nominally accepted the universality of human rights and in the past three decades has opted into the international human rights framework by signing a wide range of human rights treaties, and has thus become part of the international legal and institutional human rights framework;

Y.  whereas at the beginning of 2015 President Xi publicly announced his intention of extending the rule of law throughout the country, out of a conviction that effective justice is essential for a modern economy and society in China;

Z.  whereas the CPC recognises five religions, which are ultimately controlled by the party’s own United Front Work Department; whereas this list is exclusive and other religions and cults are therefore being discriminated against;

AA.  whereas the EU and China have engaged in human rights dialogues since 1995;

AB.  whereas the EU Ombudsman in her draft recommendation adopted on 26 March 2015 criticised the absence of a human rights impact assessment in relation to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism in the negotiations for a trade and investment agreement with Vietnam; whereas this sets an important precedent for the negotiations for the EU-China Bilateral Investment Agreement;

AC.  whereas Tibetans express their cultural identity through the Lhakar (‘white Wednesday’) movement by wearing only Tibetan clothes, speaking only Tibetan and eating only Tibetan food each Wednesday; whereas, to date, more than 140 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest against Chinese government policy in the Tibet autonomous region; whereas the death in prison of the lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche recently gave rise to fresh tension; whereas a policy of Han settlement is being pursued in Tibet; whereas 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet autonomous region; whereas no progress has been made in the resolution of the Tibetan crisis in the last few years, as the last round of peace talks took place in 2010;

AD.  whereas the EU adheres to its ‘one China’ policy in the cross-strait relations between the PRC and Taiwan;

EU-China Strategic Partnership and Cooperation

1.  Welcomes the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China as a source of inspiration to strengthen the Strategic Partnership, which is so necessary in a multipolar and globalised world, and to speed up the ongoing negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement based on trust, transparency and respect for human rights; underlines that both parties, in the recent EU-China Summit of 29 June 2015, reaffirmed their commitment to deepen this partnership; highlights that China is a key international power and one of the EU´s most important partners; stresses that the two sides are committed to promoting over the next decade the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which will be mutually beneficial to both the EU and China; expresses its support for the (bi)annual High Level Strategic Dialogue, the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, the High Level People-to-People Dialogue, and the more than 60 sectoral dialogues between the EU and China on a diverse array of issues; urges that these sectoral dialogues lead to confidence-building and tangible results;

2.  Welcomes the outcome of the 17th EU-China Summit of 29 June 2015 lifting bilateral relations to a new level and sending out a signal for closer political cooperation going beyond mere trade relations and towards a coordinated strategic approach to tackling common global challenges and threats; notes that both sides fully recognised the progress achieved in the implementation of the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, and that a bilateral review mechanism at the level of officials will be established to monitor follow-up; welcomes the fact that both sides agreed at the Summit on a set of priorities to reinforce their bilateral cooperation and enhance the global dimension of their strategic partnership;

3.  Stresses the need for EU Member States to speak with one voice to the Chinese Government, particularly in view of Beijing’s present diplomatic dynamism and reshaping of the global governance architecture; underlines the conclusion of the negotiations on the Articles of Agreement for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and looks forward to a close cooperation of the EU with the AIIB in the future; regrets the lack of profound debate and close coordination at EU level regarding Member States’ membership of the AIIB; stresses the importance of trade and investment policy, as the most obvious area to exert maximum leverage in the strategic relationship with China; takes note of the recently developed cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, also known as the 16+1 group, which includes several EU Member States, but considers that this should not divide the EU or weaken its position vis-à-vis China and should also address human rights issues; calls on the European External Action Service and the Commission to submit an annual report to Parliament on the development of EU-China relations; calls for the strengthening of enforceable, rules-based trade and investment with China;

4.  Recognises that China should play a stronger role in multilateral financial institutions that better reflects the size of its economy; considers the recently founded AIIB to be an opportunity for China to engage as a responsible actor in the multilateral order; encourages the new institution to depart from the past mistakes of privileging the financing of grandiose infrastructure projects and to prioritise instead technical assistance and access to global knowledge, while balancing environmental, social, and development priorities;

5.  Considers it of vital importance that the European contribution to the participation in the AIIB should include: transparent procedures for the assessment of loans; clear standards relating to good governance, social responsibility and the environment; and concern to ensure that the debt burden remains controllable for borrowing countries;

6.  Welcomes the participation of several Member States in the AIIB; deplores nonetheless the lack of profound debate, close coordination and coordinated response and approach at EU level in reaction to the initiatives launched by the Chinese Government to build up new multilateral institutions; urges the EU institutions and Member States to see this as a wake-up call in order to avoid a similar lack of coordination in the future;

7.  Welcomes the political agreement to improve strategic infrastructure links between the EU and China; welcomes, therefore, the decision to establish a new Connectivity Platform with the aim of creating a favourable environment for sustainable and interoperable cross-border infrastructure networks in countries and regions between the EU and China; particularly commends the EU’s readiness to start this project on the European level; urges both parties to seize the opportunities given by closely interconnecting both partners, including cooperation on infrastructure investment in countries along the route of the New Silk Road and the New Maritime Silk Road;

8.  Highlights the vigorous growth of the Chinese economy in the last twenty years and underlines that EU Member States should take greater advantage of the opportunities offered by this economic development; notes the Chinese interest in strategic infrastructure investments in Europe, and underlines the need to cooperate with China and other countries in the region in this respect on projects such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the EU’s Juncker Investment Plan, including rail links, seaports and airports; urges the VP/HR and the Commission to reflect on the impact of China’s global investment policy, as well as its investment activities in the EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood; emphasises, in accordance with the previously adopted positions of Parliament and in full respect of INTA competences, the importance of the Bilateral Investment Agreement between the EU and China currently under negotiation; calls for a fully-fledged sustainable development chapter to be included in the BIT which provides for binding commitments with respect to ILO core labour standards and key Multilateral Environmental Agreements; underlines the increasing tendency of European companies to complain that they are victims of capricious regulation and discrimination; stresses the importance of a successful outcome of the ongoing investment agreement negotiations in order to further facilitate investment and implement investment protection, market access, including public procurement, and fair treatment of companies both in Europe and in China; calls for further measures and active follow-up to guarantee more balanced trade relations following the elimination of trade and investment barriers to European companies; calls on China and the EU to further enhance cooperation in order to improve access for SMEs in both market blocs; underlines the EU-China commitment to an open global economy and a fair, transparent and rules-based trade and investment environment, guaranteeing a level playing field and opposing protectionism;

9.  Takes note, in this regard, of the launch of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative aimed at constructing major energy and communication links across Central, West and South Asia as far as Europe; believes that given the geostrategic relevance of this initiative it should be pursued in a multilateral way; believes that it is of the utmost importance to develop synergies and projects in full transparency and with the involvement of all stakeholders;

10.  Calls for enhanced coordination between the EU and China in areas of strategic significance such as the G20, security and defence, counter-terrorism, illegal migration, transnational crime, nuclear non-proliferation, global and regional security, cybersecurity, weapons of mass destruction, energy security, global financial and market governance and regulation, climate change, as well as for urbanisation, development and aid programmes and sustainable development; emphasises the importance of cooperation in the field of regional development and of dialogue and exchanges with regard to the Europe 2020 strategy and China’s forthcoming thirteenth Five-Year Plan;

11.  Calls on the EEAS to ensure that human rights are high on the agenda in relations and dialogues with China;

12.  Calls for the commitments made during the March 2014 visit of President Xi to Brussels to deepen exchanges between the EU and China on human rights issues to be matched by tangible improvements in the situation on the ground;

13.  Urges the Council and the Commission to engage China further through constructive dialogue aimed at encouraging China’s transition to the rule of law and respect for human rights and supporting its integration in the world economy;

14.  Welcomes the deepening of the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership; calls for further cooperation in urban planning and design, public services, green buildings and smart transportation; encourages the launch of new joint programmes involving European and Chinese cities and companies;

15.  Welcomes the Joint Statement of the third meeting of the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue held on 15 September 2015; underlines the importance of people-to-people exchanges and facilitating exchanges for EU and Chinese citizens; supports the development of the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue to focus on joint projects and shared best practices and to promote people-to-people exchanges; stresses that exchange of experts and students between both sides should be especially promoted;

16.  Is concerned about practices of dumping and the lack of transparency with regard to Chinese government policies and subsidies through tax credits, land grants, cheap credit, subsidised raw materials and other measures;

17.  Is worried about the obstacles European businesses experience on the Chinese market, such as forced technology transfers, weak IPR enforcement and discriminatory treatment; underlines the importance of market reform in China and of the implementation of market economy principles and the elimination of discrimination and unjustified restrictions;

18.  Recognises the opportunities arising from Chinese investment in Europe in the framework of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); underlines that, while the Fund is open to investment by a number of actors, it should nonetheless remain under EU governance;

19.  Acknowledges the challenge of putting China’s economy on a truly sustainable path in the framework of the ‘New Normal’; believes that a more prominent participation of China in international economic organisations such as the IMF could positively contribute to more sustainable and balanced Chinese and global economies, as well as to the reform of those organisations; urges the Chinese authorities to provide reliable statistics and improve transparency on the state of the economy;

20.  Notes with concern that in recent months the value of Chinese share indexes has dropped by a third and there have been hundreds of suspensions of trading owing to excessive falls in share prices; expresses its concern in regard to the current financial crisis that is striking China and especially its stock markets, and recognises that this poses a threat to the global economy given the country’s prominent role in global trade and the global financial system; urges the Chinese authorities to tackle the challenge of transitioning the current economic model to a sustainable economy; notes that the recent plunges on the stock markets in China have brought the government’s control culture face to face with the inherent volatility of the financial markets;

21.  Welcomes the fact that over the last decades a considerable number of Chinese citizens have been lifted out of extreme poverty thanks to substantial economic growth and a gradual opening of the Chinese economy; voices, nonetheless, its concern that these economic improvements often cause environmental problems and great inequalities;

22.  Welcomes the fact that in the recent EU-China Joint Statement on Climate Change, adopted at the 29 June 2015 summit, both sides expressed their commitment to work together to reach an ambitious and legally binding agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015; urges all parties to the conference to build on the momentum created by the EU-China and US-China climate change statements; stresses the need to cooperate in the field of energy in order to tackle jointly the multiple challenges related to energy security and global energy architecture;

Internal situation

23.  Notes that under the leadership of President Xi, the Chinese government is showing a growing assertiveness both internally and externally; points out that the country’s civil rights activists, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, academics and other representatives of civil society are now finding their freedom curbed in a way that has not been seen for years; observes that China’s human rights record remains a matter of serious concern;

24.  Expresses its deep concern at the imminent adoption of the draft Foreign NGO Management Law, as it would mean a further shrinking of space for Chinese civil society and would severely restrict freedom of association and expression in the country, including by banning ‘overseas NGOs’ that are not registered with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and provincial public security departments from funding any Chinese individual or organisation, and prohibiting Chinese groups from conducting ‘activities’ on behalf of or with the authorisation of non-registered overseas NGOs, including those based in Hong Kong and Macao; calls on the Chinese authorities to substantially revise this law in order to bring it in line with international human rights standards;

25.  Expresses its concern at the new draft law on cybersecurity, which would bolster and institutionalise the practices of cyberspace censorship and monitoring and may force European companies to include mandatory backdoors in their IT infrastructure; notes the fears of Chinese reforming lawyers and civil rights defenders that this law will further restrict freedom of expression and that self-censorship will grow; stresses the severe adverse impact of both the cybersecurity and NGO laws on the activities of European businesses and institutions in the PRC, and therefore calls on the European Council, the EEAS and the Commission to continue to complain forcefully to the Chinese authorities against these highly controversial measures; is concerned by China´s broad definition of ´national security´ and ´major threats´ in its new national security law, which includes ´harmful cultural influences´ as a threat; concludes that this law formulates China’s national security interests in so broad and vague a manner as to give the Chinese authorities virtually unrestricted powers to move against actions, persons or publications they disapprove of;

26.  Expresses its concern that, although the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Chinese leadership is a commendable effort to foster citizens’ trust in the government, it is characterised by a lack of transparency and in most cases does not follow the rule of law; observes that in some cases the campaign is being misused for internal fights and to foster the role and power of the CPC; regrets, however, that this campaign has been conducted in ways that further undermine the rule of law, with accused officials allegedly held in an unlawful detention system, deprived of basic legal protections, and often coerced to confess;

27.  Expresses its sympathy with the families and friends of the more than 173 victims of the devastating explosions in the port city of Tianjin on 12 August 2015, which displaced thousands of residents; notes the increasing number of peaceful mass environmental protests in different parts of the country; points to the illegal storage of thousands of tonnes of highly toxic chemicals at the illegal distance of less than 600 m from residential areas; regards the slow and secretive official information policy concerning the Tianjin disaster as highly counterproductive, particularly in combination with the censorship of social media reports of this major tragedy; underlines the importance of the implementation of all industrial safety standards in accordance with Chinese and international legislation, and calls on the Chinese government to raise safety and environmental standards of hazardous productions, bringing them in line with China’s own laws in the first place;

28.  Notes that the explosions on 12 August 2015 in Tianjin and on 31 August 2015 in Dongying make it urgent for China to seriously address the issue of industrial safety, in particular in relation to corruption and impunity;

29.  Underlines the urgency of further environmental protection measures, bearing in mind, for example, that in 2014 only eight out of 74 major cities reached the national standard of PM 2,5 air pollution concentration and given the fact that in China 190 million people fall ill due to contaminated water yearly; warns that the double water crisis (massive pollution combined with increased water usage) could cause major political and social instability; recalls that the cost of China’s environmental degradation is also felt in the neighbouring countries; highlights the costs of environmental degradation and hopes that the next Five-Year Plan will make the environment a priority; also stresses that a lack of environmental protection not only fails to prevent ecological damage, but is also a source of unfair competition practices; welcomes the EU-China agreement to enhance cooperation to address key environmental challenges such as air, water and soil pollution; welcomes the fact that under the new environmental protection law local cadres are accountable, also retroactively, for environmental damage caused during their tenure and that commitment to environmental protection will count stronger in the process of promotion of those local cadres; urges both national and local authorities to constructively and actively involve environmental organisations and grassroots movements as regards the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of China’s environmental policies and initiatives; points out that the June 2015 EU-China Summit also established environmental policy and climate change measures under which China is to comply with CO2 emissions limits with a view to the Paris Summit in December 2015 and in line with the objectives of the 2020 Strategic Agenda adopted in Beijing in 2013;

30.  Welcomes increased EU-China cooperation and exchange of experiences in the field of consumer rights and protection, as well as the strengthening of the Chinese government’s responsive measures in this respect, as reflected in the stricter rules on retailers’ responsibilities under the professional code of conduct in matters including return and repair obligations, potential frauds, misleading and fraudulent publicity, prepayment arrangements, and protection of consumers’ personal data, particularly in view of China’s rapidly expanding internet-based shopping sector;

31.  Observes that in recent years China’s anti-terrorism policy has evolved rapidly from a reactive ‘defence against terror’ approach to a proactive ‘war on terror’, along with permanent ‘crisis management’ entailing action to an unprecedented extent in affected regions and in society; is concerned at the draft law on counter-terrorism, which may lead to further violations of the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and religion, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang as regions with minority populations;

32.  Stands in solidarity with the people of China in their efforts to combat terrorism and extremism; expresses its concern, however, that the definition of ‘terrorist’ included in China’s draft law on counter-terrorism may, if not substantially revised, give scope for the penalisation of almost any peaceful expression of Tibetan culture, religion or identity that may differ from those of the state;

33.  Calls on China to increase internet freedom and to respect the cybersecurity of all countries;

34.  Is concerned at the fact that Xinjiang is caught in a vicious circle, given that, on the one hand, there are violent separatist and extremist groups among the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs, who do not, however, represent the vast majority, and that, on the other hand, Beijing, for the sake of stability, is increasingly responding to social unrest with repression, heightening the presence of its security apparatus in the region, alienating many Uighurs from Beijing and nourishing anti-Han-Chinese sentiments among the Uighur population; deplores the marginalisation of Uighur culture in Xinjiang, including forbidding Uighur civil servants to visit mosques and in some places to observe Ramadan; calls on the Chinese authorities to make every effort to develop a genuine dialogue with the Uighur community, and to protect the cultural identity of the Uighur population; notes with concern the travel restrictions, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang, that can be imposed upon EU citizens, particularly in the case of diplomats and journalists; notes that no such restrictions apply to Chinese citizens (including diplomats and journalists) across EU Member States; strongly urges therefore that steps be taken to enforce the principle of reciprocity;

35.  Expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in support of democratic reforms; highlights that Hong Kong’s autonomy is guaranteed by the Basic Law; holds that the introduction of fully-fledged universal suffrage in the Special Administrative Region is fully compatible with the ‘One country, two systems’ principle; deplores the fact that the reform of the electoral law for the appointment of the Chief Executive in Hong Kong could not be completed; expresses its hope that a new reform process can be started in the near future with the aim of giving the people of Hong Kong the right to direct universal suffrage in 2017, with a genuine choice amongst diverse candidates; welcomes the Joint Report of 24 April 2015 of the European External Action Service and the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: ‘Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Annual Report 2014’, and supports the EU’s commitment to strengthening democracy, including the rule of law, independence of the judicial system, fundamental freedoms and rights, transparency and freedom of information and expression in Hong Kong;

36.  Strongly supports ‘One country, two systems’ as a basis for good relations between the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao and mainland China;

37.  Expresses its concern at the recent political and civil unrest in Hong Kong, and calls on China to abide by its obligations to the people of Hong Kong to preserve their rights and freedoms, under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984;

External situation

38.  Notes that since its launch President Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’ of national rejuvenation foresees a stronger and more proactive role for China in the world; encourages the VP/HR to explore the possibilities of developing a common approach to China with the US wherever this would contribute to advancing EU interests; stresses that China’s persistent rise as a global power requires a continuous and rapid reconsideration of Europe’s strategic priorities in its relations with China, as a matter of urgency; underlines the need for a world power like China to contribute, in a globalised and interdependent context and in a more active and constructive manner, to confronting global challenges and regional conflicts and to attaining a multilateral world order that respects international law, universal values and peace; considers that China should increasingly take its place among the world’s leading countries, acting according to the rules set for all;

39.  Notes the priority given by President Xi’s presidency to the relationship with the US, given his proposal for a ‘new type of major power relationship’ between China, the US and other regional actors; favours a more constructive approach to a new world order which China should help construe and integrate, one founded on the universal values of human rights, democracy and human security; calls on the EU to be more active in Asia, and to cooperate with China, the US and other regional actors for more stability in the region;

40.  Emphasises that the recent White Paper on China’s military strategy states Beijing’s intentions to further expand the Chinese navy and extend the range of its operations, shifting from ‘offshore waters defence’ to ‘open seas protection’; deplores the unilateral establishment of an air-defence identification zone and the consequent claim over navigational air control within Japanese and South Korean territory; calls for a balanced attitude, to avoid worries on the part of China’s neighbours and more tension in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and guarantee Europe’s crucial interest in freedom of navigation on the seas;

41.  Considers it regrettable that, contrary to the 2002 Declaration of Conduct, several parties are reclaiming land in the Spratly Islands, and is especially concerned about the massive scale of China’s present efforts, which include building military facilities, ports and at least one airstrip; specifically warns against the looming danger of an increased presence of and confrontation between rival naval vessels and air patrols in the area and of the possible establishment of an air defence identification zone (IDAZ) over the South China Sea;

42.  Remains alarmed at the escalating tension between parties in the South China Sea and calls, therefore, on all parties involved to avoid unilateral provocative actions in the South China Sea and stresses the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes, based on international law and with the help of impartial international mediation such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); considers it regrettable that China refuses to acknowledge the jurisdiction of both UNCLOS and the Court of Arbitration; urges China to reconsider its stance and calls on all the parties including China to respect the eventual decision of UNCLOS ; considers that a way forward for a possible peaceful resolution of the tension in the areas of the South and East China Seas is the negotiation and joint implementation of codes of conduct for the peaceful exploitation of the maritime areas in question, including the establishment of safe trade routes and quotas for fishing or attribution of areas for resource exploration; endorses the urgent call by the 26th ASEAN Summit for the speedy adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea; welcomes the agreement reached recently between China and ASEAN to speed up consultations on a Code of Conduct for the disputes in the South China Sea; takes note of Taiwan’s ‘South China Sea Peace Initiative’ aimed at reaching a consensus on a code of conduct and the establishment of a mechanism allowing all sides to cooperate in the joint exploitation of natural and marine resources in the region; supports all actions enabling the South China Sea to become a ‘Sea of Peace and Cooperation’;

43.  Calls on the VP/HR to identify the risks to peace and security in the region as well as globally should armed conflict arise in the East and South China Seas, in line with the priorities set forth in the European Maritime Security Strategy, what risks this would entail for the freedom and safety of navigation in the region, and what risks exist there to specific European interests; considers that since other actors (notably Australia) are already significantly active politically in the Pacific, the EU should rely on bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to effectively contribute to security in the region;

44.  Urges the Chinese Government to use all its levers of influence to ensure stability in the Korean peninsula and to induce North Korea to return to credible denuclearisation talks and take concrete steps to denuclearise; reminds that China remains North Korea’s most important ally, and therefore encourages the Chinese government, together with the international community, to play a constructive role in urgently addressing the dire human rights situation in North Korea, including dealing with the thousands of North Korea refugees who cross the border into China fleeing appalling conditions at home; urges the Chinese government, in accordance with its obligations as a state party to the UN Refugee Convention, not to deny these refugees their right to seek asylum or forcibly return them to North Korea, but to protect their fundamental human rights; calls on the EU to exert diplomatic pressure on the Chinese Government to that effect, in line with its global objectives of non-proliferation;

45.  Urges the Chinese government to exert influence on Pakistan to persuade that country to refrain from fuelling instability in the region;

46.  Welcomes the cooperation between the EU and China on security and defence, including the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and calls for further combined efforts to tackle global security and defence issues such as terrorism;

47.  Draws Beijing’s attention to the indispensable role of the US and the EU with regard to China’s modernisation goals; moreover, reminds Beijing of its international obligations and responsibilities in terms of contributing to peace and global security, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council; regrets, in this regard, the fact that China, in partnership with Russia, has continuously blocked UN action on Syria, where a deadly war is being waged by Bashar al Assad on the Syrian people, for over four years now;

48.  Underlines the importance of mutual trust and cooperation between China and the EU and the other key international actors to tackle global security issues; hopes that China will offer its support to the EU- and US-led initiatives aiming at ending the breaches of international law causing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and at restoring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine after Russia’s aggression;

Human rights situation

49.  Notes that a strong contradiction exists between the official Chinese aspiration to the universality of human rights and the worsening human rights situation; notes that the recent worsening of the situation of human rights and freedoms in China started in 2013 and has intensified an already existing crackdown over the population, limiting the space for expression and peaceful advocacy for civil society even further; is deeply worried at the arrest, trial and sentencing of numerous civil rights activists, human rights defenders and government critics and at the fact that more than 100 human rights lawyers and activists have been detained or questioned by Chinese police; calls on the Chinese authorities to release those in custody and to ensure that they can exercise their profession without hindrance;

50.  Believes that strong ongoing EU-China relations must provide an effective platform for a mature, meaningful and open human rights dialogue based on mutual respect; further believes that the 40th anniversary of EU-China relations in 2015 provides a real opportunity for progress in this area;

51.  Urges the EU to continue pressing for an improvement of the human rights situation in China whenever dialogues are held at any level and to include human rights clauses in any bilateral treaty agreed with China;

52.  Welcomes the 33rd EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights of 8 and 9 December 2014; notes that the dialogue, together with pressure from other international partners, has contributed to some concrete actions; stresses that the EU has made it clear on several occasions that it wanted the dialogue to achieve more tangible improvements in the human rights situation on the ground;

53.  Recalls that the universality of human rights has always been at the heart of EU-China human rights dialogues; notes with concern that in the official Chinese view universality is questioned on grounds of cultural differences, and that this has been an important source of conceptual differences leading to lack of understanding and distrust in EU-China relations and limiting progress in the EU-China human rights dialogues; calls, therefore, on the Chinese leadership to reconsider how it approaches the question and to respect the universality of human rights consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; urges further that the EU institutions work together with the Chinese authorities in their dialogues in order to advance respect for universality;

54.  Remains highly concerned that China is currently the world’s largest executioner and continues to impose the death penalty in secret on thousands of people annually, without regard to international minimum standards on the use of the death penalty; emphasises once again that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights;

55.  Remains concerned at the persisting severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion, as well on the activities of human rights organisations;

56.  Deplores the often discriminatory treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in China;

57.  Criticises the fact that while in China freedom of religion is not a right nominally guaranteed by the constitution, in practice the government restricts religious practices to officially approved and recognised religious organisations; supports the resistance of Chinese churches to the government’s renewed strategy of ‘sinicisation’ of Christianity; condemns, in particular, the ongoing anti-Christian campaign in the province of Zhejiang, during which dozens of churches were demolished and more than 400 crosses removed in 2014; shares the concerns of churches about other provinces where there is a strong Christian presence; condemns, moreover, the anti-Buddhism campaigns carried out via the ‘patriotic education’ approach, including measures to state-manage Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries; condemns ‘legal education’ programmes for Buddhist monks and nuns; cannot understand or accept the ban on images of the Dalai Lama in China; is concerned that China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists, whose religious activities are equated with ‘separatism’, and sees its concerns confirmed as monks and nuns now account for approximately 44 % of political prisoners in Tibet; deplores the fact that the environment for practising Buddhism in Tibet has worsened significantly after the Tibetan protests of March 2008, with the Chinese government adopting a more pervasive approach to ‘patriotic education’, including measures to micromanage Tibetan Buddhist monastic affairs, for instance through unelected management committees installed in every monastery, ‘legal education’ programmes for monks and nuns to ensure that they ‘do not take part in activities of splitting up the motherland and disturbing social order’, and a ban on images of the Dalai Lama;

58.  Notes that certain commitments have been put forward by President Xi to ‘comprehensively advance ruling the country according to the law’, along with combating corruption; is, however, deeply concerned at the recent round-up of over 200 lawyers, particularly lawyers focusing on human rights cases, with many of them accused of ‘disrupting public order’ and of seeking to undermine the Party, when the authorities have claimed that such drastic measures are in fact a defence of China’s legal system; stresses that these measures contradict the authorities’ claim to advance the rule of law and undermine any effort undertaken for political reform;

59.  Recalls that in the official Chinese view socio-economic rights continue to be prioritised over individual civil and political rights, whereas in the European understanding these rights are considered fundamental and equally important and economic development and human rights go together, reflecting differences in European and Chinese perceptions of human rights that are visible in official positions; further stresses that the comprehensive protection of human rights is essential for continued economic growth in China, and therefore urges the Chinese authorities to ensure the respect of both socio-economic and civil and political rights;

60.  Criticises China’s highly restrictive media environment and tightly controlled digital domain, where foreign, including European, web content is blocked and domestic content deemed politically threatening is routinely deleted and censored; strongly protests against the high number of Chinese citizens jailed for offences involving freedom of expression, especially on the internet;

61.  Is deeply concerned that the Chinese government is continuing its hardline policies against the Tibetan people, especially by rejecting the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way Approach’ which seeks neither independence nor separation but a genuine autonomy within the framework of the Constitution of the PRC; calls for the Chinese government to re-enter into a dialogue with Tibetan representatives; protests against the marginalisation of Tibetan culture by the CPC, and urges the Chinese authorities to respect the freedoms of expression, association and religion of the Tibetan people; deplores the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Tibet, which has led to an increase in self-immolation cases; notes with concern the recently passed criminalisation measures relating to self-immolation aimed at punishing those allegedly associated with self-immolators; deplores the forceful resettlement of over 2 million Tibetan nomads and herders since 2006 in the so-called ‘New Socialist Village’, as they are cut off from medical care, education and prosperity; is equally concerned at the ongoing transfer of Han Chinese populations into Tibet; expresses its concern regarding the cases of torture, disappearance and arbitrary detention and the denial of access to medical care for prisoners, including monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and 10 other prominent Tibetan prisoners; demands a detailed investigation of all death in prison cases; is deeply concerned at the degradation of Tibet’s environment; underlines that the Tibetan plateau is warming up fast, and that this may cause the melting of Tibet’s glaciers, many of which feed the largest rivers in Asia;

62.  Urges European companies investing in China to respect international labour standards and to make commitments to go beyond Chinese labour rights, if these do not meet internationally agreed standards;

Cross-strait relations

63.  Considers that both China and Taiwan are important economic partners of the EU in Asia and the Pacific; welcomes any significant improvement of cross-strait relations; advocates negotiating a bilateral investment agreement between the EU and Taiwan, given that Taiwan is, at regional level, the best gateway and springboard to China for EU businesses and that numerous states – including the People’s Republic of China – have concluded such (de facto) agreements with Taiwan;

64.  Takes note of the Chinese government’s non-objection to Taiwan’s participation in some UN organisations (WHO, ICAO); expresses its concern at the Chinese government’s reaffirmation of the 2005 Anti-Secession Law that allows for the use of military means in the case of a declaration of independence by Taiwan; deplores the fact that there are still 1 500 long-range missiles aimed at Taiwan from southern China; takes the view that a gradual demilitarisation of the region would further facilitate the rapprochement of the parties; emphasises that all cross-Strait disputes should be settled by peaceful means on the basis of international law; stresses that the meeting on 23 May 2015 on Kinmen Island between top officials from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait was an encouraging step; notes that this meeting was the third formal meeting between the chiefs of cross-Strait affairs from China and Taiwan; supports initiatives that develop Cross-Strait relations in a peaceful way;

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65.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the EEAS, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the accession and candidate countries, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese National People’s Congress, the Taiwanese Government and the Taiwanese Legislative Yuan.

(1) OJ L 250, 19.9.1985, p. 2.
(2) OJ L 6, 11.1.2000, p. 40.
(3) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 33.
(4) OJ C 239 E, 20.8.2013, p. 1.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0096.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0462.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0094.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0075.
(9) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 219.
(10) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 132.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0097.
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0411.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0412.
(14) OJ C 285 E, 21.10.2010, p. 80.
(15) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 185.
(16) OJ C 349 E, 29.11.2013, p. 98.
(17) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0603.
(18) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0252.
(19) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 59.
(20) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 471.
(21) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 118.
(22) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 121.
(23) OJ C 332 E, 15.11.2013, p. 185.

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