AFP: Zhu Rongji begins three-day visit to Belgium, European Union
BRUSSELS, July 10 (AFP) - Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji kicked off a three-day diplo-trade visit to Belgium and the European Union Monday, the last stop on a six-nation European tour following up on an historic EU-China trade pact signed in Beijing seven weeks ago.
Zhu's European tour - Bulgaria, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium - has been dogged by demonstrations against China's human rights record, and there was no let-up in sight in Brussels.
Amnesty International was planning a demonstration in central Brussel's Place de la Monnaie near the stock exchange Monday afternoon.
China and the EU are currently engaged in an on-going dialogue on human rights but, said the commission spokesman, "This process of dialogue only makes sense if it shows results on the ground. We agree on what they're supposed to do, but we differ on the results."
He said the Chinese "insist they've decreased poverty and we think that's important, but we also want to see improvements in civil and political rights.
"We're concerned about rights violations, particularly against Falungong," the outlawed spiritual movement in China, "and we intend to raise this issue on every occasion. Zhu's Wednesday agenda has been set aside largely for commercial contacts and visits to trade exhibitions.
(Copyright 2000) (Allen Nacheman 7/10/00 9:54)