Human rights in Brussels and in Beijing: a more balanced approach needed

12th EU-China Business Summit ‘Strengthening the pillars of global trade and investment’
Date: 02/06/2017 Location: Brussels – Palais d’Egmont
© European Union , Source: EC – Audiovisual Service Photo: Etienne Ansotte

At the last United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, which was held in Geneva earlier this month, Greece shocked the world by objecting a common EU statement regarding the condemnation of  human rights violations in China. EU diplomats were not happy about that as it was the first time that the EU did not agree on making common statements on human rights level. Furthermore, several human rights organizations stressed that the EU should quit the human rights dialogue with China and come back to the discussions table only when proven progress has been realized.

However, Human Rights Watch mentioned that Greece’s veto was not the last case during last month where the EU does not show a unanimous position vis-a-vis human rights in China. More in detail, Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said: “On three occasions over three weeks the EU demonstrated no intention, compassion, or strategic vision to stem the tide of human rights abuses in China”.

The Greek veto

The Greek government claims that the most effective way to defend human rights is only by continuing the ongoing discussions with China. More specifically, a Greek foreign ministry spokesperson stated on the issue: “We acted from a position of principle. There is an upcoming dialogue between the EU and China on human rights and we think that could be a more efficient and constructive way of delivering better results.” The Greek spokesperson also argued that there were other countries too to express similar concerns with Greece. Hungary was amongst the EU member states to have the same view but withdrew its objections just before the beginning of the Human Rights Council meeting at the UN.

On the other hand, the Chinese side welcomed Greece´s stance on the issue, stating that every country should be free to decide on national issues without any external intervention. More specifically, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “We express appreciation to the relevant EU country for upholding the correct position. It opposed the politicalization of human rights issues and the interference of human rights issues in the internal affairs and judicial sovereignty of other countries”.

EU-China human rights dialogue

On another note, the 35th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue took place in Brussels last week on 22-23 June. During that meeting, the situation for civil and political rights in China was discussed together with the need to implement recommendations from international bodies.

According to the EU, there are several Chinese human rights defenders and lawyers who have been under detention and conviction in China. What is more, issues about limitations on expression of freedom and cases of allegations of torture were also raised by Brussels. Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the EP Human Rights Subcommittee, stated: “EU-China Human Rights Dialogue should be strengthened and sharpened. The European Parliament remains committed to a meaningful debate with China on Human Rights.”

It must be mentioned here that China as every nation in the world has its own special characteristics and therefore a more balanced approach and cooperation is needed through constructive dialogue.

EU-China relations

EU and China are having a most fruitful relationship in trade, investment and climate change. The second largest economy in the world is supporting the EU in all the above sectors. It is thus difficult for the EU to directly oppose China at the moment when the latter invests a great amount of money in the EU and is ready to take the place of the US in the fight against climate change. What will be EU’s stance at the next UN Human Rights Council meeting?

All in all, it seems that there is still much work to be done on the matter. Both the EU and China have their own specifications and therefore a more balanced approach is very much needed. It remains to be seen now whether the dialogue between  EU and China as regards human rights will be fruitful and successful and how this will influence the general cooperation between these two important global economies.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is why we need dignity more than ever

More than 750 million people around the world would migrate if they could

“Will TTIP solve the massive EU-US unemployment? Absolutely not!” A revealing Sting Exclusive with Tim Bennett from the Transatlantic Business Council

Volkswagen scandal update: “We want clarity fast, but it is equally important to have the complete picture”, Commission’s spokesperson underscores from Brussels

5 reasons to be more cheerful about the future of the oceans

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Eurozone again whipped by Greek winds

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

In the United States, there aren’t enough hours in the week to make rent

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Greece leaves EU aid program, gets last 15 billion euro

2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

EU Emissions Trading System does not hurt firms’ profitability

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we grow, buy and choose what we eat

The Eurogroup+ is born to govern the EU Banking Union

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

Hiring is broken. Here’s how to fix it

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Safe drinking water, sanitation, are ‘basic human rights’: new UN Water Development report

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

The ECB must extend its money stimulus beyond 2018: Draghi reckoning

“We always honor our words, and in that respect we expect our partners to honor their words as well”, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlights live from Brussels

SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

China Unlimited Special Report: at the heart of Beijing

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

Diana in Vietnam

Gaza blockade causes ‘near ten-fold increase’ in food dependency, says UN agency

EU migration deal welcomed by UN agencies

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

The countries with the most satellites in space

Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health’, UN experts rule

UN will do ‘utmost to prevent and mitigate any risk of violence’ in DR Congo, pledges Mission chief

Raj Kumar’s new book offers a strategy for transforming the global aid industry. Here’s an excerpt

Senior UN adviser sees ‘rare’ victory for humanitarian diplomacy as aid convoy reaches desert camp in Syria

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s