|The Baroness had a nice cup of tea with Chinese PM Wen Jiabao. "She provided no details about individual issues or cases raised, nor did she clarify what other steps may have been proposed to better defend human rights."|
Human Rights Watch wants the European Union to "demonstrate its new commitment to protect and promote human rights around the world" at the EU-China summit, which is due to begin on Thursday:
“China is often a litmus test for other governments’ willingness to raise human rights,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. The upcoming summit presents an ideal opportunity to reverse a legacy of EU reticence in addressing human rights concerns with Chinese officials.”
With the adoption on June 25, 2012, of a landmark human rights package, EU foreign ministers pledged that human rights, democracy, and rule of law will be promoted “in all areas of the EU's external actions without exception” and that the EU will “place human rights at the center of its relations with all third countries including strategic partners.”At that time, Human Rights Watch said that the test of this commitment would be whether the EU would follow through with its promise to throw its “full weight behind advocates of liberty, democracy, and human rights throughout the world.”
It is of course good that Human Rights Watch reminds the European Union about its responsibility to follow up on its new "landmark human rights package". However, HRW´s Sophie Richardson must know that the EU is not going honor its commitments with regard to human rights in China.
There is more than enough of evidence that human rights are put on the backburner when EU leaders meet with their Chinese counterparts. We saw that happen when German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently was in China (on a kowtowing trip). And Sophie Richardson herself tells us about the way Baroness Ashton dealt with human rights and democracy questions on her last visit to Beijing:
On June 26, 2012, however, following the conclusion of the 3rd High-Level EU-China Strategic Dialogue, the joint dialogue communique made no reference to human rights. In her public remarks, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, noted “a good exchange on our respective views on human rights issues. We covered individual rights, the protection of vulnerable groups, the importance of the rule of law.” She provided no details about individual issues or cases raised, nor did she clarify what other steps may have been proposed to better defend human rights.
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