Brussels, 26 March 2001


by Cecilia Malmstr m (ELDR) to the Council

Subject: Human rights in China


As the repression in Tibet takes place, the Chinese regime has also escalated its persecution of the practitioners of Falun Gong. The government looks uneasily on a movement which in the space of a few years has grown bigger than the communist party, though it has no political ambitions. Innocent people are thrown into jail, others are persecuted and many have been killed in the Chinese Government's raids on the Falun Gong.

The EU's relations with China have for a number of years been based on 'critical dialogue'. Nevertheless, China continues to commit violations of the most basic human rights. No opposition is allowed and anyone trying to point out alternatives to the communist dictatorship is severely punished. There are no signs of any improvement in democracy or freedom of expression. The EU and its Member States maintain contact with China at several levels. Unfortunately, however, human rights issues have not been given a position of prominence in the talks which take place. In previous years, in the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the EU Member States have elected not to support a resolution against repression in China. In the light of developments in China, does the Council consider that the EU should review its policy of 'critical dialogue' with that country and thereby take the initiative this year for a resolution condemning China's violations of human rights in the UN Commission on Human Rights?


by John Cushnahan (PPE-DE) to the Council

Subject: Falun Gong

Has the Council registered its strong disapproval to the Chinese authorities regarding their treatment of Falun Gong practitioners? If so, what response has it received?


to Written Questions P-0444/01 by Cecilia MALMSTR M

and P-0481/01 by John CUSHNAHAN

The restrictions on freedom of religion and belief in China are a recurrent item on the agenda of the EU - China human rights dialogue. The issue has been identified by the Council in its conclusions of 22/23 January 2001 as one of the specific areas in which the EU considers that the dialogue process should secure progress. The EU has most recently expressed its deep concern to the Chinese authorities regarding the measures taken against followers of religious and spiritual movements, including Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese side took note of the EU's concerns and agreed to further discuss this matter at the upcoming round of the human rights dialogue which will take place on 22 and 23 February in Stockholm. In Fact, on 2 February the Troika in Beijing carried out a demarche in preparation of the upcoming round of the EU - China Human Rights dialogue. The EU side handed out a list of individual cases requesting that clemency measures be taken, and mentioned in that context orally the names of Falun Gong followers Li Xiaobing, Li Xiaomei and Yu Changxin.

Information on the fate of Falun Gong detainees is deficient. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy had counted 98 such deaths nation-wide between July 1999 and mid-January 2001. It should be noted that 46 have occurred since October 2000, suggesting an increase in the incidence of mistreatment of followers in the past several months. According to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, around 450 have been sentenced by courts, several hundred have been committed to psychiatric institutions, and as many as 10 000 are currently serving re-education through labour sentences.

The EU's position is that it does not want to engage in a discussion on the nature of the movement, but that restrictions of freedom of religion and belief and freedom of assembly should be lifted and that the human rights of all, including followers of Falun Gong, should be respected.