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RC-B9-0246/2019

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PV 18/12/2019 - 19
CRE 18/12/2019 - 19

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PV 19/12/2019 - 6.5
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P9_TA(2019)0110

Debatten
Woensdag 18 december 2019 - Straatsburg Herziene uitgave

19. Situatie van de Oeigoeren in China ("China Cables") (debat)
Video van de redevoeringen
PV
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  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärung des Vizepräsidenten der Kommission und Hohen Vertreters der Union für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik zur Lage der Uiguren in China (China Cables) (2019/2945(RSP)).

 
  
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  Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, the European Union has repeatedly spoken about the situation in Xinjiang. We have done this in multilateral fora, such as the last Human Rights Council in Geneva in September and the United Nations General Assembly in New York in October, and I did recently at my meeting with the Foreign Affairs Minister of China in Madrid. We continue to be gravely concerned about the existence of the so-called ‘political education camps’. Reliable and multiple sources of research indicates that it has almost certainly affected over one million people.

Another major source of concern is the use of widespread intrusive surveillance. We understand that advance technologies rely on biometrics, and artificial intelligence is used to monitor and keep files on residents in Xinjiang. This includes the registration of very sensitive biometric data and the widespread use of facial recognition.

Credible reports refer to severe limitations to the freedom of conscience and religion, with closure of, or controls imposed on, places of worship, as well as limitations on religious education and education in minority languages. Nobody disputes the right of any country to take legitimate measures to combat terrorism and ensure security, but to our understanding, the policies applied in Xinjiang appear disproportionate to the stated aim of fighting against terrorism and extremism. This was also the conclusion of 12 United Nations special procedure mandate holders who analysed the application of the counterterrorism law in China and came to the conclusion that it raises serious concerns regarding arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and absence of judicial oversight.

I would also like to recall our request to allow meaningful access to the region for independent observers: United Nations special procedure mandate holders and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. So far, these appeals have not been heard. Granting them would be an important step. I’ve been talking with the Chinese authorities in order for our ambassadors to make such a meaningful visit to the region.

The award ceremony today will also highlight the importance of respecting the rights of people belonging to minorities to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to education. The European Union will continue to express its principal position and to raise its concerns regarding Xinjiang in the framework of its political dialogue with China and internationally, including for sure on the United Nations stage. On behalf of the EU, I will continue to call on China to uphold its national and international obligations and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. Thank you for your attention; I am looking forward to our discussion.

 
  
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  Isabel Wiseler-Lima, au nom du groupe PPE. – Madame la Présidente, cela fait vingt ans que la Chine a signé le pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques. Depuis, la communauté internationale attend toujours que la Chine ratifie ce pacte. Si la Chine a fait des progrès dans le domaine des droits sociaux, la situation des droits civils et politiques a, elle, empiré.

Nous affirmons inacceptables les arrestations et internements de personnes ayant défendu les droits d’une communauté, comme c’est le cas pour les Ouïgours dans la province du Xinjiang. Le Parlement européen ne peut rester sans réaction après les révélations des China Cables, qui montrent à quel point l’oppression des Ouïgours est vaste et systématique.

L’Union européenne ne peut rester sans réaction et cette réaction ne peut se limiter à des paroles en aparté, même si celles-ci sont importantes et indispensables. Avoir remis, aujourd’hui, le prix Sakharov à Ilham Tohti est un acte fort qui récompense et donne une visibilité indispensable à un engagement pacifique pour les droits d’une communauté opprimée simplement pour son identité ethnique et ses convictions religieuses. Le nombre de Ouïgours détenus dépasse le million.

Les informations qui nous parviennent de ces camps au Xinjiang sont indignes d’une grande nation du XXIe siècle. Les autorités chinoises affirment que la réalité est toute autre. La présence de ces personnes dans les camps serait volontaire, certains étant même allés jusqu’à comparer ces lieux à des internats. Si tel était le cas, qu’est ce qui empêche alors la Chine de permettre à des observateurs de la communauté internationale et à des journalistes de visiter ces camps?

Nous demandons à la Chine de donner accès à ces camps et de libérer les personnes détenues pour avoir simplement exprimé le besoin d’une communauté ethnique ou parce qu’ils vivent leur conviction religieuse. Il est aussi indispensable, à mes yeux, que nous veillions à ce que des produits qui seraient fabriqués dans ces camps ne soient pas accessibles au marché de l’Union européenne. Aucune compagnie, aucune société, aucun de nous ne peut accepter de profiter du travail forcé. À chacun de prendre ses responsabilités.

 
  
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  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, I’d like to extend to High Representative Mr Borrell a very warm welcome from this House and on behalf of the S&D for your first session in your new capacity. We look forward to working with you on a strong European Union foreign policy.

China has so far been one of the most important partners of our Union and a central member of the international community, but this does not mean that we can turn a blind eye to grave human rights violations. About one million Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs are being detained without trial and without charges, often for no other reason than being a Muslim.

Earlier today, the European Parliament awarded to Ilham Tohti the 2019 Sakharov Prize. Mr Tohti is a leading Uyghur intellectual, economist and scholar whose only offence was to advocate for peace and the rights of the Uyghurs. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment and could not come to Strasbourg to receive the prize. Today he was represented here by his brave daughter, Jewher, and we call – let it be clear – for the immediate and unconditional release of Ilham Tohti.

Xinjiang Province has turned into a major centre of mass surveillance for ethnical, cultural, religious and social control. Every single aspect of daily life is being monitored. Once detained, Uyghurs are forced to give up their religious and cultural identity. This is standard practice in the so—called re—education camps.

China has committed itself to the international human rights framework. We have the duty to call on the Chinese government to release all those currently detained, and without any charges. All mass detention camps must be shut and perpetrators of the massive human rights abuses must be brought to justice. We also expect the EU to be ready to adopt targeted sanctions against those responsible.

 
  
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  Phil Bennion, on behalf of the Renew Group. – For over two decades, Ilham Tohti has worked tirelessly to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. As a result of his efforts, he was sentenced in September 2014 to life in prison following a two-day show trial. I’m very happy now that he has received the Sakharov Prize this year and that he’s the new Sakharov laureate.

But he’s not the only one suffering under the Chinese Government. The Uyghur people have been subjected to unparalleled repression by the Chinese Government in the past two years due to their unique ethnic identity and religious beliefs. Since April 2017 over one million innocent Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained in a network of internment camps, where they are forced to renounce their ethnic identity and religious beliefs and swear loyalty to the Chinese Government. I am deeply concerned about their situation. The European Union needs to demand that the Chinese authorities respect their fundamental rights and freedoms. We should impose sanctions for human rights violations. The Chinese Government has to immediately end the practice of arbitrary detentions, close all the camps and detention centres, and release the detained persons.

Furthermore, we want the Chinese authorities to allow free access to Xinjiang Province Autonomous Region for journalists and international observers. We cannot stand by and have normal business with China while these appalling human rights violations are taking place. In my view, this is probably the most serious human rights violation that is taking place in the world at the moment. We hope the award of the prize will lead to the release of Ilham Tohti and, thereafter, lead to a change in approach by the authorities of China in upholding human rights.

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

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

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

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

 
  
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  Anna Bonfrisco, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signora Presidente, egregio Alto rappresentante, onorevoli colleghi, lungo la nuova via della seta, volta a connettere il 63 % della popolazione mondiale in futuro, la Cina sta scrivendo e applicando cinicamente le sue regole. Al riguardo poi della terra degli uiguri, che è uno dei principali snodi infrastrutturali dell'ambizioso progetto cinese da mille miliardi di dollari, essa è divenuta l'alibi perfetto per reprimere ogni desiderio di autodeterminazione della popolazione. La nuova via della seta, quindi, può essere percorribile dalle merci ma è interdetta ai diritti, alla libertà, alla democrazia.

Ritengo, inoltre, signor Alto rappresentante, che la politica del vicinato debba essere concepita secondo parametri geopolitici globali e non semplicemente geografici. La storia di repressione degli uiguri racconta la voracità di un paese che ha creato un sistema basato sul controllo globale e capillare della popolazione, che si nutre come un mostro delle esperienze degli uomini, in nome dell'espansione e della rincorsa forsennata al predominio globale nel settore dell'intelligenza artificiale. Meccanismi di credito sociale, riconoscimento facciale e persino controllo delle emozioni consentono la sorveglianza di massa di un miliardo e mezzo di persone.

Con la Big Data Analytics, il governo di Pechino, da un lato, controlla il territorio a discapito dei diritti umani, dall'altro, alimenta gigantesche banche dati, in cui confluiscono i dati personali dei cittadini, secondo un sistema centralizzato in cui non si distingue tra la dimensione pubblica e quella privata.

Ci troviamo quindi di fronte a una situazione inaccettabile, di cui l'Europa, in virtù dei valori fondativi, non può più semplicemente limitarsi a prendere atto, prima che gli uiguri diventiamo tutti noi.

 
  
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  Anna Fotyga, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, I welcome Mr Borrell, High Representative / Vice-President, to Parliament. Despite experiments in the domain of the economy, China is still a Communist state massively intimidating large groups of its own society. Since the November 2019 leakage of the so-called China cables, the level of intimidation in the Xinjiang autonomous region is more than clear to all of us. Of course detention camps are not places of voluntary work. Of course there is massive surveillance with all technical means. We require decisive action on the part of the EU. Mr High Representative, this requires real resolve from our side. I call for a shutdown of camps, as well as targeted sanctions against those responsible for the perpetration of intimidation.

 
  
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  Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. – Señora presidenta, mostramos nuestra honda preocupación por los comunicados de las organizaciones de derechos humanos en Xinjiang y por las graves informaciones sobre los «Cables de China», y hacemos un llamamiento para investigarlos a fondo y depurar responsabilidades. Nuestro Grupo siempre está en contra de la violación de los derechos humanos en cualquier lugar del mundo, como también a favor de la defensa del derecho a la protesta en una deriva mundial cada vez más autoritaria.

La Unión Europea no puede tener un sistema orientado a imponer sus posiciones sin dialogar y sin acudir a instancias multilaterales y por eso denunciamos hoy también los proyectos de sanciones de los Estados Unidos, como los chantajes con aranceles a los que nos tienen sometidos. Los Estados Unidos no son los más indicados para hablar de recortes de libertades. En un momento de cambio geopolítico tan grande, en un momento de guerra comercial, no necesitamos más sanciones, sino diálogo, multilateralismo y garantías de respeto de los derechos humanos. En este Parlamento es demasiado recurrente el uso de los derechos fundamentales como herramienta de ataque geopolítico y hoy, Día Internacional del Migrante, me gustaría aprovechar, como europea, para pedir perdón por no haber estado a la altura y recordar algo que es evidente: ningún ser humano es ilegal.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signora Presidente, egregio Alto rappresentante, onorevoli colleghi, immaginatevi una società dove un'intelligenza artificiale utilizza algoritmi automatici e riconoscimento facciale per decidere chi debba essere arrestato e messo in un campo educativo.

Questi studenti, prigionieri in realtà, non possono avere contatti liberi con l'esterno, subiscono una sorveglianza costante, sono obbligati a studiare mandarino e a subire una rieducazione ideologica per essere meglio assimilati nel tessuto della Repubblica popolare cinese.

A seconda dei risultati, viene poi assegnato loro un punteggio sociale che determinerà per il resto della loro vita il loro status. Sembra la trama di un film distopico con una trama in cui qualcosa è andato male e l'umanità a un certo punto ha preso una direzione sbagliata. Invece è tutto vero e accade oggi nel 2019 nello Xinjiang, dove più di un milione di uiguri subisce un continuo indottrinamento pervasivo, che ha lo scopo di sradicare un'intera cultura giudicata pericolosa dal Partito comunista cinese.

Vogliamo sanzioni immediate e mirate verso coloro che sono responsabili di queste violazioni grottesche e una revisione forte della normativa dual use sull'export di tecnologie che permettono il profiling preventivo. Grazie ai China-cables una verità scomoda che conoscevamo già, ma che le autorità cinesi continuavano a negare è ora esposta nella sua drammaticità.

La nostra caratura com’è se domani sarà determinata, colleghi, dalla nostra capacità di opporci con tutte le nostre forze a questa violenza di Stato, così come ha fatto Ilham Tohti, che per il suo grande coraggio sta scontando in cella le conseguenze di questa opposizione.

Ho sostenuto con forza la sua candidatura e la sua vittoria del premio Sacharov 2019, di cui è stato insignito oggi, perché sono convinto che sia un dovere morale quello di lottare a fianco a questi campioni di libertà, affinché possa tornare presto anche ad abbracciare sua figlia.

 
  
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  Michael Gahler (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich möchte mich zunächst bedanken beim Vizepräsidenten und Hohen Vertreter, Herrn Borrell, für das, was er zu Beginn der Debatte hier gesagt hat, und auch dafür, dass er vorhin – bei der Verleihung des Sacharow-Preises – anwesend war. Das war auch bereits ein politisches Signal.

Ein politisches Signal Richtung Peking ist sicherlich auch, dass wir es ganz selten erleben, dass praktisch das ganze Haus die Kritik an der Situation in Xinjiang teilt, und zwar eigentlich von ganz rechts bis ganz links, und das sollte zu denken geben. Ich glaube, die Botschaften, die wir senden, sind eindeutig: Lasst Ilham Tohti frei! Haltet euch an eure eigene Verfassung und an euer eigenes Recht, wenn es darum geht, dass Gefangene auch Rechte haben, zum Beispiel den Besuch ihrer Familien. Haltet euch an das, was ihr international vereinbart habt und was ihr unterschrieben habt, und lasst Sonderberichterstatter der Vereinten Nationen zum Beispiel in das Land und in diese Einrichtungen, um zu sehen, was dort tatsächlich stattfindet.

Ich denke, ein großes Land wie China hat es nicht nötig, eine kleine Minderheit in dieser Form zu behandeln, denn die Uiguren verlangen nichts, was die Stabilität Chinas gefährdet. Sie verlangen nur das Recht, das einer jeden Bevölkerungsgruppe zusteht, und deswegen haben sie auch richtigerweise von uns volle Unterstützung.

 
  
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  Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Borrell, liebe Kollegen, liebe Kolleginnen! Die jüngst veröffentlichen China Cables haben uns erneut vor Augen geführt, mit welcher Skrupellosigkeit die chinesische Regierung die Menschen in der Region Xinjiang aufgrund ihres Glaubens drangsaliert und an der Auslöschung ihrer Identität arbeitet.

Das sind die schlimmsten und grausamsten Menschenrechtsverletzungen, die wir in der heutigen Zeit erleben. Ich erwarte von Ihnen, Herr Borrell, und von den Mitgliedstaaten, dass Sie auch weiterhin, so wie Sie es gerade auch getan haben, klare Worte gegenüber der chinesischen Führung finden und Dinge klarstellen: Setzen Sie sich für die sofortige Schließung der Umerziehungslager ein und für einen Zugang zur Region für unabhängige Experten, um über die Missstände aufzuklären.

Von den internationalen Unternehmen, die in Xinjiang tätig sind, fordern wir eine umgehende Prüfung, inwiefern sie an den Menschenrechtsverletzungen beteiligt sind, und entsprechende Konsequenzen zu ziehen.

Ja, wir wollen in der Europäischen Union keine Produkte, die aus Zwangsarbeit stammen, und wir müssen dafür sorgen, dass diese auch keinen Zugang in die EU erhalten.

Mir ist es sehr wichtig, dass wir stets und einstimmig betonen, dass die Einhaltung von Menschenrechten und Rechtsstaatlichkeit unanfechtbare Voraussetzungen für eine weitere Vertiefung der Beziehungen zwischen der Volksrepublik China und der Europäischen Union sind.

 
  
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  Sophia in 't Veld (Renew). – Madam President, I’d like to welcome the High Representative whom I remember in the other seat on the podium, a couple of years ago.

This case is going to be the first big test case for the new geopolitical Commission. Last month a brave Uyghur Dutchwoman helped leak Chinese Government documents, and the China cables show that massive data collection and artificial intelligence are now the tools of totalitarianism. I think this should be a warning to ourselves as well that these instruments, if they exist, can and will be used. So maybe we should also be a bit more careful.

Today we gave the Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti as a political signal of where Europe stands. Unfortunately, it is not the first time that we give the Sakharov Prize to freedom fighters in China. So now Europe has to follow up and demand the release of the Uyghur people held in the camps, because that’s what they are.

I’ve heard many good suggestions by colleagues on how to proceed, but we also have a new instrument at our disposal and that is the EU—wide Magnitsky Act that was endorsed last week by the Council. So, Mr Borrell, will you make sure that the European Magnitsky Act will become a reality without delay? Will you also see to it that the list will not be voted by unanimity so that no country has a veto, and will you also include survivors of severe human rights breaches, NGOs, the European Parliament and national parliaments when drawing up that list? In conclusion, will Europe become a new geopolitical superpower for human rights and freedom?

 
  
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  Markéta Gregorová (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I would like to say to Mr Borrell that we are talking about the recent leaks, the recent leaks that reveal that Chinese ambassadors and high-ranking government officials have been straight-up lying to us over the mass cultural genocide that China commits. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet with Mr Ilham Tohti’s daughter, Jewher, but it could not have been a meeting with Mr Ilham Tohti himself because he has been locked up in a concentration camp and we haven’t heard about his whereabouts or wellbeing for two years.

Jewher doesn’t oppose China, I don’t oppose China. She just wants her family to be safe and together. At the same time as this genocide is taking place, in my country the richest man, Petr Kellner, has been manipulating the Czech media image of China to look more business positive – business! Excuse me, but if I made this speech in China, I and my family would also end up in a goddam concentration camp.

We Europeans have the power to stand up for fundamental rights against China’s digital dictatorship. Let’s start with targeted economic sanctions. Mr Borrell: act!

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao (NI). – Madam President, all this is unacceptable. Despite the continuous call by the international community and the recent publication of documents proving the shameful repression taking place in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, the Chinese Government shows an absolute indifference, and continues to violate human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is absolutely disconcerting that a country like China, which increasingly aspires to become a credible and reliable interlocutor in the global context, must show such a serious violation of fundamental rights. As if that were not enough, China continues its activity of persecution of Uyghurs and other minorities outside the national borders. This must provide us appropriate reflections and countermeasures.

The award which was given to today to Professor Ilham Tohti is an award that goes and not only to him but to every Uyghur citizen who is fighting this madness.

As Europeans, we all must defend with all our strength the rights of the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region, as in all the countries of the United Nations. The initiative must not be left to the individual Member States but efforts must be shared to be effective.

 
  
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  David McAllister (PPE). – Madam President, the credible reports that have reached us on the treatment of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang are indeed deeply worrying. Three points are now, from my point of view, of utmost importance. Firstly, the practice of arbitrary detentions without any charge, trial or conviction for a criminal offence of Uyghur or other Muslim minorities must be ended immediately and the detained persons should be released unconditionally. Secondly, the authorities in Beijing should allow free and unhindered access to Xinjiang for journalists and international observers, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. And thirdly, the full details of persons disappeared in Xinjiang should be released and handed over to their families. In their joint statement issued after the 21st EU—China Summit, the EU and China reaffirmed that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, so it’s up to Beijing to put these words into action. I welcome, Mr High Representative/Vice—President, your clear words this afternoon, and I welcome the draft resolution we will adopt tomorrow noon – especially the call for targeted sanctions.

 
  
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  Isabel Santos (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, a China continua a sua política de sistemática opressão e desrespeito pelas mais elementares liberdades cívicas. Esta atitude é evidente nos inúmeros casos de indivíduos condenados à morte e na deterioração da situação em Xinjiang e no Tibete, onde se vive um verdadeiro genocídio cultural.

Um dado bem revelador deste padrão de aniquilação cultural reside no facto de o governador responsável pelas atrocidades praticadas contra o povo uigure ser precisamente o mesmo que liderou o denominado processo de pacificação no Tibete, irónica designação para o que aí se passou e continua a passar. Centros de reeducação ideológica, tortura, trabalho forçado, detenção arbitrária, entre outras violações de direitos humanos, jamais poderão ser tolerados.

É imperioso que se exija a libertação imediata e incondicional de Ilham Tohti e de todos os ativistas de direitos humanos, bem como que se proíba a importação de produtos resultantes do trabalho forçado e que se considere a utilização de sanções direcionadas de forma a pressionar o governo chinês ao encerramento dos campos e a por termo a todas as violações de direitos humanos.

 
  
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  Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Renew). – Madam President, this debate is not against China or the Chinese Government. This debate is about protecting human rights, and today I want to pay special tribute to Ilham Tohti, who was recently awarded with a Sakharov prize. Ilham Tohti is a renewed human rights defender, economics professor and advocate for the rights of the Chinese Uyghur minority. For over two decades, he worked tirelessly to foster a dialogue and a better understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. As a result of his activism, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014. Since then, he is behind bars.

Mr Borrell, I call first for the release of Ilham Tohti from prison, and second, for the persecution of the Uyghur minority in China to stop.

 
  
  

PRZEWODNICTWO: EWA KOPACZ
Wiceprzewodnicząca

 
  
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  Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, when we receive heavy reactions from China one might think it shows that they are strong, but in reality, it shows the opposite – they are weak, because they know what they are doing with their own people is morally wrong. The mass imprisonment and the violation of human rights are just unacceptable. The Chinese Government knows that they are also violating their own rules, and they are breaching international treaties as well. China has been endorsing the norm of responsibility to protect. It is China’s responsibility to protect its own citizens, and we need to make sure that they follow these rules and adhere to the minimum standard.

Here, we in the EU, can only achieve anything to save the Uyghurs in China if Europe stands together and stands united. We need to continue the pressure and call out China for what they are doing. Without a consistent strategy, Europe will not be able to make any difference to the life of the people living in China. However, it is not only the governments and the politicians who need to follow the commonly agreed strategy which is based on the protection of human rights. It is also up to the companies and businesses which are currently making a fortune in China and also in Xinjiang. Without them, our strategy will not work.

 
  
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  Željana Zovko (PPE). – Madam President, recent history reminds us that, when a religious minority is suffering and it’s being unjustly treated, the consequences are felt sooner or later as a papillon effect: the storm is created at the other side of the world.

The situation of the Uyghur is highly worrisome, and I sincerely welcome this debate. I also applaud the recognition of the European Parliament for the deteriorating circumstances these people are living in, by granting the Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti for his persistent fight to defend the rights of the Uyghur.

I would like to point out an increasing trend. Today we are debating about the inhumane situation of the Muslim minorities. Tomorrow we will convene to discuss the persecution of Christian minorities in Burkina Faso. At the last Strasbourg plenary session, we discussed the intolerant approach against Catholics and Protestants in Algeria.

This House clearly recognises that freedom of religion and belief is one of the cornerstones of modern and tolerant society. Therefore, I propose that the European Commission and European External Action Service follow this opinion by including the concept of interreligious dialogue in their official communication strategy as a tool to foster peace and reconciliation in its external action policy.

 
  
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  Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, tu lis le Coran, tu vas en camp; tu portes une barbe, tu vas en camp; tu envoies des vœux pour l’Aïd, tu vas en camp. Voilà la terreur qui s’abat sur les Ouïgours de Chine en ce moment, et les grands silences permettent les grands crimes. Force est de constater que, jusqu’ici, le monde a été très silencieux. Nous avons brisé ce silence en donnant le prix Sakharov à Ilham Tohti, mais cela ne suffit pas.

Il faut désormais passer aux actes, il faut des sanctions contre les dirigeants chinois qui sont directement impliqués dans ce qui est aujourd’hui la plus grande politique d’internement de masse dans le monde. Il faut aussi des sanctions contre les entreprises qui participent à cette politique concentrationnaire. Et il faut enfin que les entreprises européennes appliquent le devoir de vigilance, et en particulier que les entreprises textiles ne bénéficient pas de ce qui est aujourd’hui une politique inadmissible.

 
  
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  Bernard Guetta (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, on peut les appeler comme on veut. Comme on le fait à Pékin, on peut même les appeler camps de rééducation. Mais c’est en camp de concentration que vit aujourd’hui un Ouïgour sur neuf, un million de personnes en tout.

Nous devons nous en indigner, mais cela ne suffit pas. Nous devons aussi rappeler aux dirigeants chinois qu’il n’y a pas de vraie puissance sans responsabilité. Ce monde a besoin de la Chine car, sans elle, il n’y a pas d’espoir d’endiguer l’anarchie de la scène internationale, ni d’en revenir aux compromis négociés sans lesquels il n’y a pas de stabilité. L’humanité aurait besoin de compter sur vous, vous qui dirigez la Chine. Mais dans l’oubli des droits de l’homme, vous n’aurez pas la paix intérieure et ne pourrez donc pas contribuer à la stabilité internationale.

Alors entendez-nous, soyez aussi sages que votre existence millénaire vous permet de l’être et vous y oblige; fermez ces camps, laissez respirer vos peuples et libérez Ilham Tohti.

 
  
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  David Lega (PPE). – Madam President, we know there are millions of people targeted and persecuted due to their beliefs, and we know that parents are separated from their children and their families are destroyed. We also know that an authoritarian regime is detaining millions of people in so-called re-education camps. These camps bring back terrible memories of how similar camps were used in Europe in our own very recent history. We have been too slow in reacting to the Chinese regime’s horrible crimes against the Uyghur people.

Now is the time to stop tiptoeing around China and its criminal Communist regime. Awarding Ilham Tohti this year’s Sakharov Prize shows that we will no longer accept China’s crimes against the Uyghurs. Tomorrow we will adopt a resolution calling for targeted economic sanctions against those responsible for the mass detentions of the Uyghurs. Yet our support for the Uyghurs cannot end with sanctions, because giving up on defending human rights and liberties, wherever they are threatened, would be giving up on everything that the EU stands for. Let us not walk down that road.

 
  
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  Neena Gill (S&D). – Madam President, I’d like to welcome the High Representative back, and it’s good to him here in the Chamber in his new role.

We are facing one of the biggest human rights crisis on the planet. A million Uyghurs are detained in high-security prison camps, subjected to and forced into political indoctrination and torture. Those not in the camps are subject to constant surveillance. This is not counter-terrorism. These are human rights violations on a scale we have not seen in decades. Public statements are no longer enough. We seriously need to review our relationship with China, including trade, and undertake an investigation into European companies operating in Xinjiang.

High Representative, you and President von der Leyen have spoken about being a geopolitical Commission. Here’s your moment. Will the EU remain silent or take serious action against China? Furthermore, what is the strategy to ensure that we are prepared to counter the growing human rights threats posed by China’s advances in AI and facial recognition technology, with no transparency in how the data is being used?

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius (Renew). – Madam President, China’s global economic power is built on the suppression and suffering of its own people. A few months ago, we discussed forced organ harvesting in China. Today we voice our dismay towards the shameful system of so—called re—education camps.

These camps are not limited to the forced cultural assimilation of Uyghurs. They are also running a massive programme of so—called job training and as a result provide a cheap workforce for Chinese factories, which are part of the global production chain. China thus puts its economic growth over the political freedoms of its citizens and chooses assimilation instead of embracing its cultural and religious diversity.

I call upon you to work together to make the European global Magnitsky Act a part of reality. This is the way not only to put persons violating fundamental human rights on this list, but also it will prevent other countries and violators from committing similar crimes.

 
  
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  Michaela Šojdrová (PPE). – Paní předsedající, Čína v Sin-ťiangu zavádí režim, který se vrací ke stalinismu, s tím rozdílem, že má dnes velmi moderní technologie ke sledování obyvatel a vězňů. Co můžeme udělat my zde, v Evropském parlamentu?

Dnes jsme vyslali jasný signál oceněním Ilhamovi Tochtimu, že se nevzdáme toho, abychom požadovali jeho propuštění stejně tak jako propuštění tisíců dalších vězňů. Upozorňujeme také na vězněného bývalého rektora Tiyipa Tashpolata, kterému stále hrozí trest smrti, i v této době. Dnes nám dcera Ilhama Tochtiho řekla, že má strach i dnes o své příbuzné jen proto, že tady v Evropském parlamentu mluví o situaci v Číně. Kdo je zodpovědný? Čínská vláda je zodpovědná za zastrašování a věznění, za kulturní genocidu v provincii Sin-ťiang. Proto podporuji návrh na cílené sankce.

Pane vysoký představiteli, já Vás vítám ve Vaší nové funkci a kromě toho upozorňuji na náš požadavek nové strategie vůči Číně, která by měla být vedena s ohledem na skutečný pokrok v oblasti lidských práv. Přeji hodně štěstí a těším se na spolupráci.

 
  
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  Elena Yoncheva (S&D). – Madam President, I would like to express my serious concern to High Representative Borrell about the human rights violations and abuses, including gross violations by the People’s Republic of China’s mass surveillance and internment of over one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities in China in the Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region.

During the totalitarian period, my country, Bulgaria, also went through a difficult stage relating to limiting the rights of ethnic minorities. We went through difficult years of confrontation into our nation. Now, Bulgaria is a positive example of protecting ethnic and religious minorities. I express my hope that the People’s Republic of China, a country with ancient traditions and culture, a country with great potential, will find a way to protect and to ensure the human rights of all ethnic minorities in its territory and will allow European journalists and observers to have access to Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Panie Wysoki Komisarzu Borrell! Nasza debata jest adresowana w zasadzie do Chińczyków, i rezolucja też. Dlatego teraz rozpocznę od pierwszego zdania, mianowicie: Parlament i Rada były, są i będą konsekwentne w obronie mniejszości religijnych i etnicznych także wtedy, kiedy dotyczy to Chińskiej Republiki Ludowej. Nasza rezolucja jest dość wyważona, dlatego że z jednej strony doceniamy wielkie osiągnięcia Chin, takie jak wyprowadzenie 700 mln obywateli z biedy, zbudowanie i rozwój przemysłu, wielkie inwestycje infrastrukturalne. Ale podkreślamy też: ludziom to nie wystarczy, ludzie muszą mieć gwarancję podstawowych, międzynarodowych standardów praw człowieka oraz podstawowych wolności. W rezolucji, o której debatujemy, są fakty. Są to fakty potwierdzone, i liczmy na to, że będzie pozytywna reakcja ze strony chińskiej. Nie doprowadźmy zarazem do negatywnych konsekwencji, a jeżeli będziemy zmuszeni – trudno, zarówno w dziedzinie transportu, handlu i przemysłu. Niech wreszcie Chińska Republika Ludowa wprowadzi w życie konwencję praw człowieka, którą sama w 1998 r. podpisała.

 
  
 

Zgłoszenia z sali

 
  
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  Robert Hajšel (S&D). – Vážená pani predsedajúca, áno, Čína je obrovská veľmoc, obrovská krajina, s niekoľko tisícročnou históriou a náš veľký obchodný partner. To však nám neumožňuje zatvárať oči pred systematickým porušovaním ľudských práv, občianskych slobôd, najmä v provincii Sin-ťiang, kde naozaj každý ôsmy alebo deviaty sa nachádza v koncentračnom tábore, a to už jedno, či to nazveme eufemisticky naozaj akési reedukačné centrum, alebo, alebo inak, ale je to v podstate koncentračný tábor, lebo ľudia tu dobrovoľne nie sú. A preto my nemôžeme si zatvárať pred tým oči a musíme to v dialógoch s čínskymi predstaviteľmi zdôrazňovať a na to upozorňovať.

Ja nie som priaznivec sankcií, na druhej strane si myslím, že ak aj misie medzinárodných pozorovateľov a novinárov, ktoré Čína musí umožniť, aby mohli navštíviť krajinu, skonštatujú, že naozaj je to tak, ako to hovorí „China Cabels“ škandál, v tom prípade cielené sankcie sú naozaj asi jedinou možnosťou, ako môžeme postupovať, ak chceme byť konzistentní vo vyžadovaní úrovne ľudských práv v celom svete.

 
  
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  Julie Ward (S&D). – Madam President, leaked government documents have revealed how China’s mass detention of Uyghurs and other minorities started with directives issued by the Chinese leader in 2014. Beijing has repeatedly refuted criticisms of its crackdown, which has seen more than one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other minorities sent to camps where there are often subjected to political indoctrination. China has even organised tours of the camps, which it describes as voluntary: vocational training centres intended to provide students with job skills. Among the leaked documents is a script for local officials to use when speaking to the children of parents being punished. It explains that their loved ones are receiving concentrated education to eradicate them of violent terrorist thoughts. The documents also highlight the extent of brave resistance by thousands of local officials. One Han Chinese official was jailed for trying to slow down the detentions and protect Uyghur officials.

I’m proud of Labour Party colleagues in the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign, who mount a regular monthly protest outside the Chinese embassy in London, and I’ll be joining them on 5 January to call for the closure of these concentration camps.

 
  
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  Mick Wallace (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, whether it is in China, Saudi Arabia, Palestine or the incarceration of the black community in America, we should condemn human rights violations everywhere. But whenever you see Western governments and so—called liberal politicians wailing about the plight of persecuted Muslims somewhere, it’s most likely connected to geopolitical reasons.

Where were they when millions of Muslims were being bombed out of existence in the Middle East? Where were they when Western—armed jihadists were persecuting Christians in Syria? The defence of human rights around the world as a weapon to undermine particular states is not the way forward.

There’s no doubt about it, but the Belt and Road Initiative, which Xinjiang is crucial to, has definitely come into America’s focus. The Americans have admitted that they are pretty eager to destabilise the area, because they don’t want the Belt and Road Initiative that the Chinese have planned for so long to actually materialise.

 
  
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  Clare Daly (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, we are talking about the China cables – obviously modelled on the explosive WikiLeaks Cablegate in 2010, which was a new model of journalism about blowing the whistle on war crimes and corruption of our governments and letting us know about it – but this is different. Here, we have an alleged Chinese Government source leaking an internal Chinese Government document to US and EU audiences, in English not in Chinese and published by a US-based NGO funded by US foundations. A week before that, we had the Iran cables – supposedly from Iranian leaks – telling us how bad the Iranian Government was.

Let’s remember that it was Trump who said he was going to stick it to the Chinese and declare war on Iran – and here we are, discussing the Chinese persecution of its Muslim population. I have no doubt that the Chinese do persecute their Muslim population and I condemn it utterly, but many Member States here have a Muslim population which is also being persecuted. Where’s the condemnation of that, or are human rights just to be used for geopolitical reasons?

 
  
 

Koniec zgłoszeń z sali

 
  
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  Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, I thank the Honourable Members very much for their contributions. I conclude that the majority, if not to say the unanimity, of this House is strongly concerned with the situation in Xinjiang and calls on China to drastically change its policies in the region including, in particular, the use of political re-education camps and widespread surveillance. The legitimate and necessary global fight against terrorism should happen guaranteeing the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Allow me to express my appreciation for your attention and support in maintaining this important issue high on the EU agenda, and in the international arena also because, let me tell you that China is actively promoting the narrative about successes in combating terrorism in Xinjiang and is obtaining strong support from many countries, including the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Let me give an example. At the United Nations General Assembly, a group of 22 countries, among them several European Member States, released a joint statement on their views about the Uyghur population which was immediately countered by a statement by 54 countries, led by Belarus, praising China’s counter-terrorism activities in the region. So as you can see, worldwide, it is not so clear for the international community.

We Europeans are strongly committed on this issue. I think we can say that we are a strong power in the defence of human rights. We have been firmly expressing our concerns about Xinjiang including, as I said, the use of surveillance. We have rules on the export control of dual-base goods and technology, which should allow us to monitor exports in key technologies and check them for security concerns. For sure, we have raised concerns about reports of forced labour since 2018 as part of our annual rights dialogue with China, as well as in bilateral meetings with them. We have told our companies that they have to promote the respect of human rights and the application of corporate social responsibility through the entire supply chain.

About sanctions, it’s true that the Americans have been very much active in imposing sanctions on Chinese officials – 28 Chinese Government institutions and companies – for their role in Xinjiang. We haven’t done it; we have a different system. You know that I am trying to improve it by launching the initiative that could allow us to approve something equivalent to the Magnitsky Act. We will inform you about the work we have already started. I need unanimity in the Council in order to do such a thing. I will fight for it. We have to be strong in front but also we have to continue dialogue. Dialogue cannot be forgotten. Both things are perfectly compatible, but I only want you to be sure of the strong engagement that we have on this issue and I count on the support of the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Przewodnicząca. – Otrzymałam pięć projektów rezolucji złożonych zgodnie z art. 132 ust. 2 Regulaminu.

Zamykam debatę.

Głosowanie odbędzie się w czwartek 19 grudnia 2019 r.

Oświadczenia pisemne (art. 171)

 
  
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  Monika Vana (Verts/ALE), schriftlich. – Mit der diesjährigen Verleihung des Sacharow-Preises stellt sich das Europäische Parlament hinter Ilham Tohti und würdigt seinen mutigen Einsatz für Dialog und Verständigung sowie seine Verdienste um eine größere Sensibilisierung für den Status der Uiguren in China. Gleichzeitig ist dies ein wichtiges Signal, dass das Europäische Parlament die schockierende Situation der uigurischen Minderheit in China sehr ernst nimmt. Wir fordern die unverzügliche Freilassung von Ilham Tohti, sowie von allen anderen Menschen, die derzeit in China festgehalten werden, nur weil sie friedlich von ihrer Meinungsfreiheit Gebrauch gemacht haben.

 
Laatst bijgewerkt op: 4 maart 2020Juridische mededeling - Privacybeleid