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Press Release: WUC Joins Rights Groups Urging EU Leaders to Discuss Human Rights at EU-China Summit

Press Release: WUC Joins Rights Groups Urging EU Leaders to Discuss Human Rights at EU-China Summit

Press Release – For Immediate Release
18 March 2022
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

(Brussels, March 18, 2022) The World Uyghur Congress joins human rights groups in a letter to European leaders sharing concerns and recommendations ahead of the upcoming EU-China Summit of April 1st, 2022. The letter urges President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to dedicate adequate time to discuss those Chinese authorities’ assaults on human rights both within and increasingly outside China’s borders, and caution against spending time persuading their Chinese counterparts to holding yet another round of the bilateral human rights dialogue.

Since the last EU-China summit, the WUC and other organisations have consistently shared and published additional information that Chinese authorities are committing crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups in East Turkistan. Furthermore, the Chinese government has deepened its use of high-tech state surveillance, persecuted or prosecuted countless independent activists, and sought to
weaken international mechanisms by which it could be held accountable at the United Nations. While the European Union (EU) has taken a series of steps in reaction to China’s severe human rights crisis, the groups express regret that Europe’s approach has yet to match the severity of that crisis.

The letter further expresses particular concern about allocating precious time during the upcoming summit to discussions over holding yet another round of the bilateral human rights dialogue, an inadequate tool relative to the scope and severity of China’s human rights crisis. The exercise itself is, at best, incapable of triggering any meaningful human rights progress in China, and, at worst, a counterproductive public relations coup for the Chinese government, the groups argue. Finally, a deeply worsening situation despite 37 previous rounds of this meeting should suffice for the EU and its member states to realise that the exercise has not contributed to human rights progress in China.

Accordingly, the letter urges the EU leaders to publicly announce a suspension of the human rights dialogue with Chinese authorities until it can be a meaningful exchange capable of producing positive impact on the human rights situation in the country. The EU and its member states should establish clear human rights benchmarks for progress in their relations with China, and focus their efforts and energy towards considering more effective tools to secure positive change in the country. The letter concludes with seven specific recommendations to the EU and its member states.