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Il-Ħamis, 7 ta' April 2011 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

10.1. Il-każ ta' Ai WeiWei fiċ-Ċina
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  President. − The next item is the debate on six motions for resolution on the case of Ai WeiWei in China(1).


  Guy Verhofstadt, author. − Mr President, this is the first time that I have participated in a Thursday afternoon debate, so there are some lessons I think I can pick up for the Conference of Presidents with regard to making the plenary session more attractive.

I am pleased that this point has been put on the agenda, because the case of Mr Ai Wei Wei is quite a dramatic, as the latest information we have is that there is certainly no intention on the part of the Chinese authorities to release him. The best thing we can do is to approve the urgent resolution we have agreed together with all the groups so that we can increase pressure on the Chinese authorities.

I have to tell you that I have my doubts that this resolution will change anything in the attitude of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese authorities. What we are in fact doing on human rights with the Chinese is a game. We are talking about human rights, they are saying they will open a dialogue and we think that things have changed. Nothing shall changes. That is the reality. We have the Nobel prize-winner who could not attend the meeting in Oslo. We now have Mr Ai Wei Wei, who is a well-known artist and was one of the last dissidents who had the possibility to say something.

The only thing we can say is in an urgent resolution in which we deplore what is happening. In any case, I had hoped that we could ask why we should continue to participate in fora that the Chinese Communist Party organises with our political parties. I deplore that there was not enough support from the other groups to come to an agreement on that. We could at least have agreed on a principle of not continuing to participate in fora with the Chinese Communist Party, if Mr Wei Wei and other dissidents were not released. For that reason at least I hoped for the support of all the groups here – with the other amendment the Greens tabled, even if the best part of it was eliminated. Yes, it is true, they tabled a fantastic amendment and then eliminated the best part! OK it was not their fault, but apparently the fault of others.

(Interruption by the President)

I may be taking a minute more than I usually do, but for Mr Ai Wei Wei it will take ten years longer, apparently. If we can speak in favour of somebody who may be in jail for years, one minute longer is not too much, Mr President!


  Bernd Posselt (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Ich weiß nicht, wie häufig Herr Verhofstadt da ist. Ich wollte ihn fragen, ob er nicht lieber öfter kommen will, dann würde er nämlich sehen, dass die Sitzungen hier immer sehr attraktiv sind. Es gibt nur leider verschiedene Leute, die nicht kommen, aber das kann man ja ändern. Die Sitzungen sind durchaus attraktiv.


  Rui Tavares, Autor. − Senhor Presidente, caros Colegas, lembro-me muito bem da primeira vez que vi uma obra do artista chinês, Ai Weiwei. Eu era, na altura, professor de História de Arte em Lisboa e, numa antologia de artistas contemporâneos, por volta do ano 2000, ali estava o seu enorme candelabro do tamanho de uma sala, tombado e quebrado. Uma obra que é ao mesmo tempo muito bela e de certa forma pungente e triste. É uma imagem que, de certa forma, reflecte uma imagem da China também: capaz de se apresentar como sumptuosa, como rica, como desenvolvida, e capaz de se apresentar ao mundo, como na cerimónia de abertura dos Jogos Olímpicos. Uma China sofisticada, mas que tem também qualquer coisa de seriamente quebrado dentro dela. Essa coisa é a vontade, a livre opinião e o espírito do próprio povo chinês.

Hoje, reunimos aqui para debater o caso do artista Ai Weiwei, pedimos às autoridades chinesas que o libertem, que o deixem comunicar com o seu advogado e com a sua mulher, e que formulem acusações, se as tiverem, que sejam fidedignas, e não acusações inventadas de última hora. Reunimos acima de tudo para dizer que o espírito da criatividade, da imaginação e do humor deste artista certamente sobreviverá durante muito mais tempo do que o dos seus carcereiros.


  Charles Tannock, author. − Mr President, once again we are debating China, and its government’s intolerance of dissent. As we know from our debate last month on the Communist regime’s vandalism of the ancient city of Kashgar, China vigorously tries to suppress cultural expression that does not conform to what its Communist rulers deem appropriate.

Ai Wei Wei is an heir to China’s magnificent and ancient artistic traditions. He has also used his artistic talents to raise awareness of China’s dismal human rights record and dearth of political freedom. Clearly, there is also a lack of freedom of expression in China. How else can the regime explain Mr Ai’s arrest on economic crimes and because he failed to complete the correct departure procedures for travelling to Taiwan. This is plainly a smokescreen. In fact, the real reason was later elucidated by the state-run Global Times newspaper in a menacing editorial, which said that Mr Ai would pay a price for his resistance.

We abhor the Chinese Government’s disgraceful treatment of this distinguished artist. We in this House call for his immediate release, and we express regret, once again, that China goes to such extreme lengths against those who dare speak out for their basic human rights.


  Cristian Dan Preda, Autor. − Acum mai bine de un an, vorbeam în această aulă despre condamnarea la închisoare a lui Liu Xiabo şi iată, acum discutăm despre un al doilea semnatar al Cartei 08 care a fost deţinut de către autorităţile chineze.

Cum s-a spus deja, Ai WeiWei este nu doar un foarte cunoscut artist, ci şi unul dintre cei mai importanţi critici ai regimului comunist. El a fost arestat duminică şi nu există o perspectivă asupra eliberării lui ba, mai mult, am văzut că, astăzi, autorităţile chineze susţineau că ar fi vorba de chestiuni economice şi nu politice, ceea ce este în mod vădit o minciună neruşinată.

Cum se ştie, Ai WeiWei a fost împiedicat să asiste la decernarea Premiului Nobel şi arestarea lui face parte dintr-o tendinţă mai amplă de reprimare a apărătorilor drepturilor omului. Noi am trecut în rezoluţia noastră o serie întreagă de persoane despre care cred că trebuie să vorbească doamna Ashton de câte ori are ocazia şi cred că, la modul mai general, avem nevoie de o reevaluare a dialogului despre drepturile omului.


  Heidi Hautala, author. − Mr President, it is no coincidence that the increasingly repressive measures against Chinese journalists, dissidents, human rights activists and lawyers is taking place in the aftermath, or during the turmoil, of the North African revolutions. The word ‘jasmine’ has been banned from the Chinese internet recently.

Today’s news, which Mr Preda highlighted, is very significant because now we see how dictators copy from each other and compare notes. We can see that the methods that Russia used against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev have been used by Venezuela and Kazakhstan against businessmen who come too close to political influence, who want to establish opposition parties: they are all punished in the name of economic crimes. Punishment of economic crime is the name they give to political repression. We have to be aware that this has not happened much before in China: this is a turning point that does not bode well.

It is important that Members of the European Parliament raise the persecuted activists’ names when they travel to China and when meeting their Chinese counterparts, and that they insist on a prison visit. We know that many of those who are persecuted suffer terrible torture in Chinese prisons, sometimes in what we call ‘black jails’ which are completely unidentified places.

This is a reminder to all European Parliament delegations that all of them are entitled and obliged to exercise their duty in respect of human rights when they visit countries. We call for the immediate release of Ai Wei Wei.


  Ana Gomes, Autora. − O desaparecimento de Ai Weiwei tem de ser entendido no contexto do aumento desesperado da repressão política por parte das autoridades chinesas. Tudo por medo de que o espírito revolucionário no mundo árabe infecte a sociedade chinesa. Mas a União Europeia pode fazer a diferença. Violações de direitos humanos por parte das autoridades chinesas têm de ser tema constante no diálogo político com a China, que deve ser repensado no sentido de garantir a produção de resultados concretos, nomeadamente a reconsideração das sentenças judiciais que têm mantido activistas de direitos humanos na prisão.

As negociações do novo acordo-quadro não podem deixar de lado a questão dos direitos humanos, tudo subordinando a interesses comerciais. A União Europeia mesmo na prossecução dos seus interesses económicos tem a responsabilidade de apoiar activistas como Ai Weiwei, como Liu Xiaobo, como Hu Jun, que se têm batido corajosamente pela urgente reforma política na China, contra a opressão, pelos direitos humanos e pelas liberdades básicas. A China, como membro permanente do Conselho de Segurança da ONU, tem obrigações em matéria de direitos humanos, que constam da Carta das Nações Unidas, e tem de prestar contas por elas, não apenas aos seus cidadãos, mas a todo o mundo.


  Sari Essayah, PPE-ryhmän puolesta. – Arvoisa puhemies, olen todella tyytyväinen siihen, että Euroopan parlamenttina pystyimme hyvin nopeasti nostamaan meneillään olevan ihmisoikeusrikkomuksen kiireellisten vetoomusten listalle.

Kuten tiedämme, AiWeiwein tapaus ei todellakaan ole ainoa vakava ihmisoikeusrikkomus, joihin Kiinan kommunistinen puolue jatkuvasti syyllistyy, mutta aivan kuten täällä edustaja Hautala jo aikaisemmin mainitsi, demokratialiikehdintä Kiinassa on saanut aivan uutta pontta Pohjois-Afrikan kansannousuista.

Viime viikkojen aikana viranomaiset ovat kiihdyttäneet hallituksen arvostelijoiden valvontaa ja useat hallitusta vastustavat toisinajattelijat, aktivistit ja ihmisoikeusjuristit ovat päätyneet joko kotiarestiin tai poliisin huostaan. Kuten Amnesty International on sanonut, AiWeiwein pidätys on hälyttävä käänne Kiinan viranomaisten laajenevassa vastaiskussa toisinajattelijoita kohtaan. Taloudelliset edut eivät saa nyt tässä hetkessä sumentaa puhumista ihmisoikeuksista ja estää vaatimasta mielipidevankien välitöntä vapauttamista.


  Rosario Crocetta, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, non convince la giustificazione di Pechino che l'artista Ai WeiWei sia stato arrestato per reati economici, non convince che tale accanimento sia esercitato nei confronti di un artista libero e dissidente. Non convince poiché tale arresto si inserisce all'interno di centinaia di arresti di oppositori e della sistematica repressione nei confronti di ogni dissenso.

Nei giorni in cui esplodono le rivolte arabe, il nostro pensiero va all'immagine di crudele violenza nella piazza Tienanmen nei confronti dei giovani cinesi che domandavano, come fanno oggi con la rivoluzione del gelsomino, libertà e democrazia.

La Cina si è aperta all'Occidente sul piano economico senza però coniugare la produzione con il rispetto dell'ambiente e la sicurezza del lavoro, e non riesce ad avere alcuna apertura nei confronti della democrazia e del pluralismo. La nostra non è un'interferenza negli affari interni cinesi, come sostiene Pechino, ma l'appello di uomini e donne, di movimenti e di partiti che intendono costruire un mondo libero dall'intolleranza in ogni continente.

Il governo di Pechino guardi a ciò che avviene nel mondo per capire che, se non cambia, saranno gli accadimenti della storia e i cittadini cinesi a cambiare la Cina.


  Kristiina Ojuland, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, reports on the worrying human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China have become more and more frequent. In Parliament, we have this issue on our agenda for almost every session. Like the usual cycles of repression, the recent crackdown has already lasted for a while, which might be signalling a power struggle between reformers and hardliners in the Communist Party.

The Chinese Government has made it harder to access foreign websites, blocked encryption software used to jump what is colloquially known as ‘the great firewall of China’, obstructed access to Googlemail and intensified arrests, including that of the internationally renowned artist and critic of the regime, Ai Wei Wei. Resolute action is needed. I therefore call on the High Representative, Baroness Ashton, to make a démarche with Beijing. Ai Wei Wei must be released now.


  Eva Lichtenberger, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Ai WeiWei war – und das ist eine sehr traurige Wahrheit – einer der letzten noch verbliebenen mutigen Kritiker der chinesischen Führung. Seine Verhaftung war zweifellos nicht nur der Gipfel einer ganzen Welle von Verhaftungen von Kritikern, sondern auch eine Botschaft an alle anderen, dass nicht einmal internationale Prominenz davor schützen kann, von den Chinesen wiederum ins Gefängnis gebracht zu werden oder schlicht zu verschwinden. Gleichzeitig wird im Menschenrechtsdialog, den die Europäische Union mit den chinesischen Repräsentanten auf allen Ebenen führt, unsere Demarche regelmäßig ignoriert – zwar mit einem freundlichen Lächeln, aber sie wird ignoriert und abgewiesen.

Für uns stellt sich die Frage: Mit welcher Strategie können wir darauf antworten? Ich glaube, wir müssen in unserer eigenen China-Delegation antworten und bei unserer nächsten China-Reise sehr klar machen, dass wir diese Kritiker auch besuchen wollen, dass wir sie sehen wollen, denn sonst hat eine Fortsetzung dieses Menschenrechtsdialogs keinen Sinn mehr. Man hat keine Lust mehr, gegen eine Gummiwand zu reden!


  Paul Murphy, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, I condemn the arrest of Ai Wei Wei and call for his immediate release. His detention is part of the most severe police crackdown in China in decades. Since 2008, China’s internal security budget has, incredibly, grown larger than its military budget. It now stands at an incredible USD 95 billion. This pays for a massive apparatus of State repression, including over 40 000 policemen whose sole job is to police the internet for dissent.

This repression is being stepped up because the regime fears the spread of revolution from the Middle East and North Africa. The regime is right to be afraid. The revolutions there demonstrate that a risen working class and the risen poor are more powerful than even the most brutal repressive methods, the most repressive regimes.

Mass struggle is needed, in particular the creation of independent, democratic mass organisations of the working class. The struggle against dictatorship must be linked to the struggle for genuine socialist change in China, whereby the vast wealth and resources in China are taken into democratic public ownership and the economy is democratically planned to raise the living standards of ordinary people.


  Bernd Posselt (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Herr Ai WeiWei hat als Künstler den Kindern des Erdbebens, den Opfern von Sichuan Gesichter gegeben. Er hat als Bürgerrechtler der Charta 08 ein Gesicht gegeben. Und jetzt gibt er jenen Menschen ein Gesicht, die in den Kerkern und Gefängnissen Chinas verschwunden sind – Tausende von ihnen anonym. Hunderte von ihnen sind uns bekannt, und wir müssen diesen Menschen, die ihr Gesicht zeigen für die Menschenrechte, die aber vorübergehend verstummen mussten, hier im Haus eine Stimme geben.

Deshalb sage ich ganz klar, dass diese Menschenrechtsdebatten und der Dialog natürlich notwendig sind. Ich verstehe jeden, der sagt, er hat keine Lust, gegen eine Gummiwand zu reden. Aber wenn wir aufhören würden, gegen diese Gummiwand zu reden, dann hätten die Diktatoren das erreicht, was sie wollten.

Es gab einen großen Reformer, Zou Enlai. Zou Enlai war kein Demokrat, aber er war ein chinesischer Patriot, und er hat sein Land geöffnet. Was wir brauchen, ist ein demokratischer Zou Enlai, der seinem Land auch eine demokratische Öffnung verordnet. Denn wenn das Land keine demokratischen Reformen bekommt, wird es in Krisen schlittern, wie es sie in den 30er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts erlebt hat.

Es ist im chinesischen Interesse, den Menschenrechten zum Durchbruch zu verhelfen, und deshalb müssen wir diese Initiativen auch unterstützen.


  Mitro Repo (S&D). - Arvoisa puhemies, kansainvälisesti tunnustusta saanut taiteilija AiWeiwei on kiinalaiselle kulttuurille ja taiteelle rikkaus. Palkitsemisen ja arvostuksen sijaan Kiina on sulkenut taiteilijan vankilaan.

Ihmisoikeudet eivät ole vain eurooppalainen käsite, vaan ne ovat universaaleja ihmisarvon periaatteita. Euroopan unionin ulkosuhdehallinnon edustajien sekä EU:n Kiinan edustuston tulee ottaa AiWeiwein tapaus esiin korkeimmalla diplomaattisella tasolla Kiinan viranomaisten kanssa.

Ihmisoikeusvuoropuhelu Kiinan kanssa ei kuitenkaan saa jäädä vain diplomaattisten puheiden tasolle. Toistuvien ihmisoikeusloukkausten ja heikentyneen ihmisoikeustilanteen perusteella Euroopan unionin tulee vetää johtopäätöksensä ja harkita uudestaan suhteitaan Kiinaan. Ihmisoikeusvuoropuhelun ei tule olla vain tyhjiä sanoja vaan positiivisia askeleita, seurantaa ja aitoa vastavuoroista keskustelua.

Sitä paitsi kulttuuri ja taide ovat yhteiskuntaa rikastuttava ja eteenpäin vievä voimavara niin täällä lännessä kuin idässä, etelässä ja pohjolassakin.


  Seán Kelly (PPE). - A Uachtaráin, China is an enigma. On the one hand it has modernised and taken on many Western practices, as we saw at the Olympics, which I had the privilege of attending and indeed they were a great success. But while it has westernised in some ways, it is archaic in others, in particular in relation to fundamental rights, especially freedom of opinion. The case of Ai Wei Wei is a perfect example. Here is a world-renowned artist, arrested on 3 April for no apparent reason. Nobody has heard much about him since and this, of course, is totally and utterly unacceptable. We call here today for his return to his wife, his friends and assistants. Because one thing is for sure – and the Chinese should take note of this – Ai Wei Wei will be remembered and renowned long after those who were responsible for his arrest are forgotten.


  Peter Jahr (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Ich denke, was die Chinesen hier machen, ist eine gezielte politische Provokation, oder besser gesagt, es ist ein politischer Test. Getestet werden sollen die Festigkeit, die Standhaftigkeit und die Glaubwürdigkeit der demokratischen Staaten. Es ist ein Angriff auf die Menschenrechte. Richtig ist auch, dass Dialog sein muss, aber gerade deshalb müssen wir der Republik China klar machen, dass eine weitere wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit einhergehen muss mit einer weiteren Demokratisierung des Landes. Deshalb fordern wir die Freilassung von Herrn WeiWei.

Im Übrigen: Wenn sich Diktaturen nicht dem Vorwurf von politischen Prozessen aussetzen wollen, dann ziehen sie immer die Karte der Steuerhinterziehung bzw. der Wirtschaftsdelikte. Das war so in der ehemaligen DDR, das ist so in Russland, und das ist auch leider in der Republik China so. Deshalb unterstütze ich die vorliegende Entschließung nachdrücklich.


  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). - Herr Präsident! Ich möchte zunächst auch Guy Verhofstadt Recht geben. Es ist tatsächlich beschämend, dass diese Menschenrechtsdebatten, die eigentlich für uns Europäer, die wir an Werte glauben, sehr wichtig sind, immer am Donnerstagnachmittag stattfinden, wenn die meisten schon abgereist sind. Das muss einfach noch einmal zu Protokoll gegeben werden, das müssen wir ändern.

Jetzt geht es aber um China, und da sind wir mehr oder weniger machtlos, das ist schon gesagt worden. Frau Lichtenberger sprach von einer Gummiwand. Herr Posselt, ich glaube übrigens nicht, dass es – wie Sie gesagt haben – wirklich im chinesischen Interesse ist, den Menschenrechten zum Durchbruch zu verhelfen. Anscheinend ist dies nicht im Interesse der chinesischen Regierung, mit Sicherheit aber im Interesse der Menschen in China.

Es geht um viele Menschen heute: Ai WeiWei, Liu Xiaobo wurde auch schon angesprochen. Wir haben schon sehr oft hier diskutiert, um den Menschenrechten zum Durchbruch zu verhelfen. Wir müssen nicht nur Baroness Ashton mit auf den Weg geben, dass sie an jeder Stelle in China gegen die Menschenrechtsverletzungen sprechen soll. Das müssen alle unsere Außenminister und Repräsentanten tun, und wir müssen zusammenhalten. Ich glaube, das ist die einzige Möglichkeit, wie man tatsächlich China ein bisschen beeindrucken kann. Sonst spielt uns China als starke Wirtschaftsmacht gegeneinander aus, und wir erreichen überhaupt nichts. Und das wäre ganz schlimm, vor allem für die betroffenen Menschen.


  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, the detention of the distinguished Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei at Beijing Airport on 3 April as he was attempting to travel to Hong Kong, has rightly drawn international concern. The delegation of the European Union to China and a public statement immediately condemned the increasing use of arbitrary detention against human rights defenders, lawyers and activists in China, and underline the EU’s concerns regarding Ai Wei Wei.

At the moment, we have no information concerning Mr Ai’s whereabouts, and I wish to emphasise today that the EU’s view on arbitrary detention and disappearance is that it constitutes a grave violation of human rights and is unacceptable in all circumstances. We call for the immediate release of Ai Wei Wei.

Moreover, as the resolution before this House makes clear, the detention of Ai Wei Wei is only one among many recent incidents of arbitrary detention and disappearance in China. Several prominent Chinese lawyers who frequently act for defendants in human rights cases are reported to have been arrested by police officials since February and have not been seen since.

Concerns about their treatment are only intensified by the ongoing disappearance of the lawyer Gao Zhisheng who, with the exception of a brief reappearance in April 2010, has now been missing for over two years. The High Representative is worried about reports based on interviews with Mr Gao in April 2010, that during his initial period of disappearance he was detained incommunicado in a variety of unauthorised places of detention and subjected to improper treatment.

There are, moreover, reports that in recent weeks a significant number of bloggers and political activists have either been charged with criminal offences, such as subverting state power, or have been detained without charge.

I can assure this House that the Vice-President/High Representative, Catherine Ashton, is following developments very closely and will raise these issues with the Chinese authorities at the earliest opportunity, and that the EU will also make known its concern to the Chinese authorities at the next round of the EU-China human rights dialogue, for which we have proposed dates in May. Allow me to support the statement by Mrs Meissner that what is really needed is one voice, a unified message, which comes not only from the EU institutions but from all EU Member States.


  President. − The debate is closed.

The vote will take place shortly.


(1)See Minutes.

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