Will EU push China to respect human rights? ask EU lawmakers

Brussels [Belgium], November 17 (ANI): Members of the European Parliament (MEP) have condemned coercive labour programmes in Tibet and called the European Union (EU) to act against China for the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province and compel Beijing to respect its international obligations.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the MEPs asked “does the EU condemn these coercive labour programmes, which violate the fundamental rights of Tibetans – including their right to freedom of movement and to their own livelihood?” and, in the framework of the EU China Human Rights Dialogue, “what measures does the EU intend to take in order to push China to respect its international human rights obligations?”The MEPs also requested to know if the EU intends “to adopt targeted sanctions (visa bans, asset freezes etc.) against individuals responsible for the establishment of these programmes in Tibet?”The parliamentarians in the statement said that the European Commission has received numerous questions recently on China’s oppressive policies towards minority communities in the country.

This comes after the Washington, D.C.-based institute Jamestown Foundation released a report in September revealing China’s large-scale programme of coercive labour in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The reports reveal how the Tibet Autonomous Region in 2019 and 2020, introduced new policies to promote systematic, centralised and large-scale training and to relocate redundant rural workers to other parts of the territory.

According to a Jamestown Foundation report, in the first half of 2020 over half a million farmers and shepherds, accounting for 15 per cent of the Tibetan population, had been enrolled in military training centres, with a view to their recruitment in industry.

According to the Chinese Communist Party, Tibetans are people who must be ‘reprogrammed’ by minimising the negative influence of Buddhism, and by transforming their ways of thinking and their identity by learning both work discipline and the official Chinese language. A great deal of pressure is put on officials in order to achieve these drastic results.

Responding to the reports, the MEPs said that these acts of coercion and indoctrination clearly endanger the linguistic, cultural and spiritual heritage of the Tibetan minority and constitute human rights‘ violations.

Prior to this, in October this year, nine cross-party, pan-European Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) addressed a parliamentary question to Josep Borrell, the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy regarding China’s continued oppression of the Tibetan community.

The MEPs had asked three pointed questions; the first being “how does the Vice-President/ High Representative intend to take action to protect the rights of the Tibetan people?” which they followed with “will he take into account, in future negotiations with the People’s Republic of China, the forced assimilation campaign in so-called re-education camps that is used against ethnolinguistic minorities?”In their last question, the MEPs had asked the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy if he will “continue negotiations with those parties that do not observe democratic and human principles?”These questions follow similar questions raised by other parliamentarians concerned about China’s oppressive policies towards Tibetans.

The Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is expected to reply in the coming weeks, the release said. (ANI)

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