Europe calls for China to abide by international law obligations

Reporter

It is well noted that the European External Action Service (EEAS) is relatively cautious when it comes to issuing statements regarding China and its multiple human rights abuses. So it was interesting to see that the EEAS issued a statement on the trial of Chinese human rights activist Huang Qi on 30th July 2019.

Mr Huang Qi is a Prominent Chinese human rights activist and journalist who founded the website 64 Tianwang. Over the last two decades Huang Qi and 64 Tianwang have monitored human rights violations in China and promoted freedom of press. On January 14 , 2019 Huang was put on trial behind closed doors at the Mianyang City Intermediate Court in Sichuan Province. He was sentenced on 29 July 2019, in another non-public trial, to 12 years of imprisonment on charges of “illegally providing State secrets to foreign entities” and “intentionally leaking State secrets”.

In April 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Huang’s deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The defendant’s rights under China’s Criminal Procedure Law and the internationally protected right to a fair trial, without undue delay, and with the proper defence and access to a lawyer of his own choice, have not been respected. Neither his family, nor the lawyer it had appointed, were able to attend the trial.

Similar stories have been emerging from across China from other brave activists and journalists who manage to get information out of China, despite all the restrictions and surveillance. Failure to comply with Beijing’s ever increasing oppression of freedoms results in dissidents, journalists and representatives of ethnic and religious minorities facing persecution, imprisonment without trial, torture, and even death.

At the recently held 41st United Nations (UN) General Assembly of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a representative from the delegation of the Czech Republic urged the Chinese government to free all human rights defenders currently being detained, and specifically referenced the imprisonment of Tashi Wangchuk. Wangchuk is a Tibetan businessman who became a language advocate after the last Tibetan language class in his region was shut down. Wangchuk’s activities were profiled in the New York Times in 2015 where he spoke out against the “systemic slaughter” of his language and culture, Two months after the article was published he was arrested. Almost three years later, in 2018, Wangchuk was charged with ‘inciting separatism’. He was sentenced to a minimum of five years imprisonment and has recently been forbidden from meeting with his lawyer.

The Spokesperson for the EEAS in their statement said that “In line with their declared aim of strengthening the rule of law, we expect the Chinese authorities to abide by China’s international law obligations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and respect the rights of all citizens as guaranteed by China’s Constitution.” The statement concluded that “The European Union expects the immediate release of Huang Qi, as well as other detained and convicted human rights defenders and lawyers including Yu Wensheng, Wang Quanzhang, Qin Yongmin, Gao Zhisheng, Ilham Tohti, TiyipTashpolat, Tashi Wangchuk, Li Yuhan, Wu Gan and Liu Feiyue.”

The list of human rights defenders imprisoned in China, and the millions of Uyghurs now interned in China’s reeducation camps continue to grow, and whilst statements are issued, the persecutions and deprivation of liberties continue. The oppression of Tibetans has continued for generations and today Christians, Catholics, and Falun Gong practitioners all face persecution by authorities of the Chinese State.

Statements are no longer sufficient to address the immoral and unrelenting force of Beijing not only against its own people, but also against its increasing manipulation of governments and institutions across the world. Governments and international human rights bodies across the world are aware of China’s complete disregard for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is it not time for them to now impose sanctions?

Source : https://eptoday.com/europe-calls-for-china-to-abide-by-international-law-obligations/

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