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Procedure : 2011/2664(RSP)
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Thursday, 7 April 2011 - Strasbourg
The case of Ai WeiWei in China

European Parliament resolution of 7 April 2011 on the case of Ai Weiwei

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions in the current parliamentary term on human rights violations in China,

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

A.  whereas a wave of calls on the internet for a Chinese ‘Jasmine Revolution’ (inspired by political developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya) has resulted in a series of actions and a widespread crackdown on human rights activists and dissidents by the Chinese authorities,

B.  whereas the internationally renowned artist and critic of the regime, Ai Weiwei, has not been seen since he was detained while passing through security checks at Beijing airport on Sunday, 3 April 2011,

C.  whereas, in addition to his detention, his studio was reportedly raided by the police, who confiscated several items,

D.  whereas Ai Weiwei was recently prevented from travelling to Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and held under house arrest after the opening of his sunflower seeds exhibit in London, and his studio in Shanghai was ransacked,

E.  whereas Ai Weiwei is widely known outside China, but is prevented from exhibiting as an artist in China, although his work has become known a result of his co-design of the ‘Bird's Nest’ Olympic stadium,

F.  whereas Ai Weiwei achieved national and international prominence by publishing the names of the child victims of the Sichuan earthquake and was subsequently beaten up by persons unknown, leading to his hospitalisation in Germany,

G.  whereas Ai Weiwei is one of the most prominent signatories of Charter 08, a petition that urges China to press ahead with political reform and the protection of human rights,

1.  Condemns the unjustifiable and unacceptable detention of the critic of the regime and internationally renowned artist, Ai Weiwei;

2.  Calls for Ai Weiwei'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;

3.  Emphasises that the police have refused to provide the wife of Ai Weiwei with information regarding the reason for his detention;

4.  Stresses that Ai Weiwei's detention is characteristic of the widespread recent crackdown on human rights activists and dissidents in China, with numerous arrests, excessive prison sentences, increased personal surveillance and increased repressive restrictions on foreign reporters;

5.  Calls on the VP/HR, Catherine Ashton, to continue to raise the issue of human rights violations at the very highest level in her contacts with the Chinese authorities, - including the recent sentencing of Liu Xianbin to 10 years and Liu Xiaobo to 11 years as well as, for example, the cases of Liu Xia, Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng, Liu Xianbin, Hu Jia, Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Teng Biao, Liu Shihui, Tang Jingling, Li Tiantian, Ran Yunfei, Ding Mao and Chen Wei, noting also with concern the repressive conditions under which their spouses and families are living - and report back on those cases to the European Parliament after the upcoming high-level political dialogue between the EU and China, which the VP/HR will participate in;

6.  Notes that China's human rights record remains a matter for serious concern; emphasises the need to make a comprehensive assessment of the EU-China human rights dialogue, including the EU-China legal seminar on human rights, in order to judge the methodology applied and the progress achieved;

7.  Calls on its Delegation for Relations with the People's Republic of China to raise and thoroughly address the question of human rights violations with regard, in particular, to the cases listed in this resolution at the next inter-parliamentary meeting;

8.  Calls on the VP/HR to rethink that dialogue in order to make it effective and result-oriented, and to take all necessary steps for the swift organisation of the next human rights dialogue, in the course of which those cases and other human rights violations referred to in the European Parliament's resolutions will be raised;

9.  Recalls that China has been under a single party since 1949, and in this context of recent political development, and in view of the deteriorating human rights situation in China, states that political parties in the EU should reconsider their relationships;

10.  Takes the view that the development of EU-China relations must go hand in hand with the development of a genuine, fruitful and effective political dialogue and that respect for human rights should be an integral part of the new framework agreement which is now being negotiated with China;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the VP/HR, the President-in-Office 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.

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