Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, Heidi Hautala, said that when discussing a “strategic partnership” with China, the EU should admit that the human rights dialogue with China is not satisfactory [:]and the human rights situation in China remains grim. China still continues to oppress individuals who express themselves on the abuse of powers by those in power and the authorities reportedly try to justify this by saying that they are working for the benefit of the majority of Chinese people, and that this cannot be sacrificed.Hautala stated that the EU must try to convince the Chinese side on the fact that these courageous individuals are indeed working for the benefit of the majority of the Chinese people when they expose production of poisonous milk, bad quality of school buildings which cause a human catastrophe in earthquakes, covering of facts on HIV/AIDS and so on.
However, she added, one should also acknowledge that there is some progress, for instance, on the issue of death penalty and recognition of torture as inacceptable and elimination of poverty.
Hautala also referred to a recent statement by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who had stated that economic achievements risk to fail without political reforms.
Referring to recent comments made by the Premier Wen Jiabao, supporting further reform in the country, warning that China “may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring without alike political reforms”, Chairwoman noted that the EU must remind the Chinese leaders of these words.
Premier Wen Jiabao had furthermore called for “the right of the people to be informed, to participate in governance, to be heard and to monitor the government”. Hautala welcomed the gesture, adding that unless freedom of speech is guaranteed, no political development can ever be achieved. Freedom of speech is an indispensable cornerstone of rule of law. In a society, where no scrutiny be placed upon the authorities, impunity will reign freely.