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Procedure : 2010/2513(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

RC-B7-0040/2010

Debates :

PV 21/01/2010 - 3.2
CRE 21/01/2010 - 3.2

Votes :

PV 21/01/2010 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0006

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 21 January 2010 - Strasbourg Final edition
Human Rights violations in China, notably the case of Liu Xiaobo
P7_TA(2010)0006B7-0040, 0041, 0051, 0053, 0054 and 0055/2010

European Parliament resolution of 21 January 2010 on human rights violations in China, notably the case of Liu Xiaobo

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on China, in particular its resolutions of, respectively, 13 December 2007 on the EU-China Summit and the EU/China human rights dialogue, and 26 November 2009 on "China: minority rights and the application of the death penalty",

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 September 2007 on the functioning of the human rights dialogues and consultations on human rights with third countries,

–   having regard to the declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 19 December 2008 concerning Charter 2008 and the arrest of human rights campaigners,

–   having regard to the EU-China Summit held in Prague in May 2009,

–   having regard to the declarations by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 26 June 2009 and 14 December 2009 on prosecution of Liu Xiaobo,

–   having regard to the EU-China seminar of 18-19 November 2009 and the EU-China human rights dialogue of 20 November 2009,

–   having regard to the declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 29 December 2009 on the execution of Akmal Shaikh,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas on 8 December 2008 Liu Xiaobo, a prominent human rights activist and scholar and co-author of Charter 2008, was placed under "residential surveillance", a form of pre-trial detention that can be used for up to six months without any charges being laid, at an undisclosed location in Beijing,

B.   whereas Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 23 June 2009 and charged the following day with "inciting subversion of state power", pursuant to Article 105 of the Criminal Code,

C.   whereas Liu Xiaobo is one of the 303 signatories of Charter 2008, a petition calling for constitutional reform, democratisation and protection of human rights, which was subsequently signed by more than 10 000 Chinese citizens,

D.   whereas on 25 December 2009 the Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People's Court found Liu Xiaobo guilty of "inciting subversion of state power" and sentenced him to 11 years in prison, and whereas the government based this conviction on Mr Liu's role in drafting and organising the signing of Charter 2008 and on six essays criticising the Chinese Government, published between 2005 and 2007,

E.   whereas Liu Xiaobo's wife and staff from about a dozen foreign embassies in Beijing requested permission to observe the trial but were denied access to the courtroom,

F.   whereas this ruling has generated widespread criticism from domestic internet bloggers, international civil society groups and foreign governments, and whereas Liu Xiaobo has appealed against the ruling of the court,

G.   whereas former Czech president Vaclav Havel, who wanted to deliver an appeal for Liu Xiaobo's release, was denied access to the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Prague,

H.   whereas the Chinese authorities did not listen to the repeated calls by the EU and one of its Member States for the death sentence passed against Akmal Shaikh to be commuted,

I.   whereas, a few days ago, a Chinese official acknowledged for the first time that Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, has disappeared,

J.   whereas other human rights violations took place in China in December 2009, including harassment of members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum in order to prevent them from carrying out planned activities to celebrate Human Rights Day, and the beating and ill-treatment while in detention of Qi Choghuai, a reporter and former Shandong Bureau Chief for the Fazhi Morning Post,

K.   whereas, ahead of the country's 60th anniversary on 1 October, the Chinese authorities increased their surveillance, harassment and imprisonment of activists in order to prevent them from raising human rights concerns, and whereas, according to Amnesty International, several hundred activists and dissidents were placed under various kinds of surveillance or house arrest on that occasion,

L.   whereas in April 2009 the People's Republic of China submitted a document to the United Nations in support of its candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council, in which it affirmed that the People's Republic of China was "committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people",

M.   whereas on 13 January 2010 Google announced its intention to stop cooperating with Chinese internet censorship, linking this to sophisticated cyber-attacks on its computer systems (which it suspected originated in China), aimed in part at the Gmail user accounts of human rights activists,

N.   whereas the EU is China's biggest trading partner and investor, while China is the EU's second biggest trading partner, and whereas trade and economic relations have overshadowed the questions of democratic reforms, respect for human rights and the rule of law,

O.   whereas the EU-China human rights dialogue established in 2000 has achieved negligible results so far, and whereas this lack of results is also the consequence of an uncoordinated and ineffective EU common foreign policy on China,

1.  Calls for Liu Xiaobo's immediate and unconditional release and expresses its solidarity with his peaceful actions and initiatives in favour of democratic reforms and the protection of human rights; strongly condemns the judicial harassment of which he was a victim;

2.  Expresses at the same time its sympathy with those Chinese who have openly voiced their dissatisfaction with the sentencing of Liu Xiaobo;

3.  Calls on the authorities of the People's Republic of China to honour the commitments they made before the Human Rights Council and comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1998;

4.  Urges the People's Republic of China to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and calls for ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

5.  Deplores the fact that China, in the context of its Universal Periodic Review process of 2009, has rejected all the recommendations made by UN Member States in relation to freedom of expression, freedom of association, the independence of the judiciary, guarantees for the legal profession, protection of human rights defenders, the rights of ethnic minorities, abolition of the death penalty, abolition of re-education through labour, prohibition of torture, media freedom and effective remedies for discrimination;

6.  Condemns in the strongest terms the execution of Akmal Shaikh and reaffirms its absolute and longstanding opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances; is convinced that abolition of the death penalty is an integral part of respect for human rights and protection of human dignity, in all countries;

7.  Welcomes Google's intention to stop cooperating with the Chinese authorities in relation to internet filtering and censorship, and urges all other companies to do the same; calls on the People's Republic of China fully to respect freedom of speech on the internet; expresses solidarity with China's internet users, who will be those most affected by Google's proposed departure;

8.  Stresses that the Chinese Government published its first National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010) in April 2009, which is designed to improve the protection of citizens" rights, guard against arbitrary detention, prohibit extracting confessions by torture and ensure fair and open trials;

9.  Stresses that China's human rights record remains a matter of serious concern and calls on the Council and the Commission to raise Liu Xiaobo's case at the next EU-China Summit; takes note of the previous human rights dialogues with China and the EU-China human rights dialogue of 20 November 2009; insists on the need for strict follow-up between all such dialogues in order to ensure that the recommendations are implemented;

10.  Emphasises the need to initiate comprehensive assessment and strengthening of the EU-China human rights dialogues; calls for cases involving human rights defenders to be systematically raised during these dialogues and highlights the imprisonment of the 2008 Sakharov Prize winner Hu Jia and the harassment of his wife Zeng Jinyan;

11.  Takes the view that the development of economic relations with China must be accompanied by effective political dialogue and demands that respect for human rights be an integral part of the new framework agreement currently being negotiated with China;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy, the President of the Council of the European Union, the Commission and the President, Prime Minister and People's National Assembly of the People's Republic of China.

Last updated: 30 September 2010Legal notice