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AFP: Euro MPs set to pressure China over Falungong, religious rights

February 16, 2001 |  

STRASBOURG, Feb 15 (AFP) - The European Parliament on Thursday demanded that China halt its crackdown on the Falungong spiritual movement and guarantee freedoms for all religious faiths. In a resolution approved late Thursday, the EU's elected chamber "invites the PRC government to allow Falungong practitioners to practice their fundamental right to freedom of conscience, expression, association and assembly in accordance with the PRC constitution." Authorities in China have conducted an 18-month crackdown on the [group], which has been banned there as an "[slanderous phrase]". [...] It urged the European Union and its member states to submit a resolution to the UN Human Rights Commission "to condemn all violations of religious rights," especially those aimed at "Tibetan and Mongolian monks, certain Christian churches and certain Muslim communities." It also calls upon Beijing to "fully guarantee" constitutional rights to freedom of religion and belief, along with freedom of conscience, expression, association and assembly. The resolution was drafted by the five biggest political groups in the European Parliament, virtually assuring that it would be adopted.