Taking in consideration the conditions in which Uyghur Muslims are left to survive by China, the Members of European Parliament (MEP) in a letter said that the European Union must “meaningfully address” China’s human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong.
The letter was written by four MEPs — Raphael Glucksmann, Reinhard Butikofer, Engin Eroglu, and Miriam Lexmann — to President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We have been greatly alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China in particular. Over the past three years, there have been credible allegations of mass arbitrary detention of millions of Uyghurs in internment camps, mass sterilization of Uyghur women and efforts to diminish Uyghur births, widespread destruction of mosques, shrines graveyards, and other physical manifestations of Uyghur culture, history and identity, efforts to suppress Uyghur language, forced labour and modern slavery, serious religious persecution, separation of children from families and other human rights violations. The scope and gravity of the situation necessitate an urgent and robust response from the European Union,” the letter read.
Speaking about the impact of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the deprivation of language rights for ethnic Mongolians in Inner Mongolia, as well as the general crackdown on Chinese democracy, activists and lawyers, the MEP further said that despite UN-led investigations have been requested, they have been denied adding that the human rights situation in China has further deteriorated.
“The Chinese government has officially committed to the universality and indivisibility of human rights in previous discussions with EU representatives but has consistently failed to meet these obligations. In fact, the human rights situation in China has only deteriorated further,” it added.
The MEPs further said that the upcoming EU-China Human Rights Dialogue represents “an ideal opportunity to match the EU’s rhetoric regarding human rights violations in China with concrete action”.
“In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must use this opportunity to reassess our relations and insist on not conducting business as usual with a government committing atrocities and crimes against humanity. We reiterate our call for targeted sanctions and assets freezes against Chinese officials responsible for policies violating human rights,” they added.
The MEPs urged the council to take “brave and principled decisions” in order to stand up for the values “we hold dear” further saying that the discussion on the EU-China Investment agreement must be “fully conditional” on China respecting human rights obligations.
“We call for the EU to put human rights at the top of the agenda at the EU-China Summit and in future discussions. We further urge you to ensure that discussions on the EU-China Investment Agreement to be fully conditional on China respecting its human rights obligations and immediately ceasing its ongoing atrocities,” the letter read.