On 16 June 2011 the European Union and the People’s Republic of China held the 30th round of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights in Beijing.
The EU delegation was led by Jim Moran, Director for Asia at the European External Action Service of the EU. The Chinese delegation was led by Chen Xu, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. The EU delegation will make a courtesy call on Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wu Hailong, on 17 June.
The Dialogue allowed the two sides to have a detailed and searching exchange of views on a wide range of human rights issues. The dialogue was conducted in a frank and open atmosphere. It provided an opportunity to express concerns about the implementation of international human rights standards in China and the EU. It also allowed for a constructive exchange of experience about how to translate such standards into domestic practice.
The two sides reviewed recent developments in human rights and had an in-depth discussion on the rights of minorities. This looked in particular at the situation of ethnic Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Mongols. The EU side also raised the exercise of freedom of religious belief and practice, including for members of unregistered churches, and for practitioners of non-theistic beliefs.
There were extensive discussions on the rule of law, freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, the situation of human rights lawyers and defenders. The EU side sought further information about reports of torture of people in detention. It repeated its call for the ratification by China of the ICCPR and of the reform of the Re-education through Labor system.
The EU and China also discussed a number of specific items related to the rule of law. The EU side expressed its concerns about the use of forced disappearances and extra-legal detentions. It stressed the importance of an independent judiciary and protection of the rights of lawyers to exercise their profession.
The EU called on the Chinese authorities to provide full information on the fate and whereabouts of the persons who have disappeared from Kirti Monastery.
The EU also raised a number of individual cases of concern.
The Chinese side raised questions about the situation of prison overcrowding in some EU Member States, of the Sami and Roma minorities in Europe, about the debate on multiculturalism, about xenophobia, race-related violence and growing unemployment in some EU Member States.
The two sides discussed cooperation in international human rights fora. They exchanged views on the country situations currently on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, including Belarus, Libya, Syria and DPRK. The Chinese side responded to the EU’s statement on China at the Council.
The EU and China agreed to continue the practice of regular legal experts’ seminars. The next seminar is expected to be held in September in Beijing.
The EU delegation also called upon the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Ministry of Justice, the State Ethnic Affairs Committee, the State Administration for Religious Affairs and All-China Lawyers Association.
The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue has, with short interruptions, taken place twice annually since 1995. The next regular meeting will be held in the second half of 2011, in Europe.
The EU issued language on China at the Human Rights Council on 15 June.