Has the Presidency considered the use of a troika demarche in the case of the arrest of Bishop Shi in Peking on 23 April 2001?
The restrictions on freedom of religion and belief in China are a recurrent item on the agenda of the EU - China human rights dialogue. Moreover, the EU raises individual cases of prisoners with the Chinese authorities, either during the sessions of the human rights dialogue or on other occasions. In order to preserve chances of success, the demarches on individual cases remain confidential.
In the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of January 2001 on the EU - China human rights dialogue, the EU has expressed its concern at "the continuing widespread restrictions on freedom of assembly, expression and association, the violations of freedom of religion and belief". The conclusions have also identified specific areas in which the EU will be seeking progress through the dialogue. These include i.a. "untrammelled exercise of freedom of religion and belief, both public and private", "respect for the fundamental rights of all prisoners, including those arrested for membership of (....) unofficial religious movements" and "constructive response to individual cases raised by the EU".