Beijing, Dec 10 (EFE).- Civil and political rights are “not guaranteed” in China, the European Union delegation in the country said on Saturday on International Human Rights Day.
In a statement it said that, although China has made “notable efforts” in aspects such as poverty alleviation and access to health and education in recent years, “at the same time, civil and political rights are not guaranteed and are in some cases even deliberately systematically violated.”
It also brought up September’s United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report on alleged human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
“The report underscores the serious human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang and finds that these may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” it said, stressing the need for “justice and accountability.”
The EU reaffirmed its concern about the “existence of a large network of political re-education camps, mass arbitrary detentions, widespread surveillance, tracking and control measures, systemic and severe restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief, as well as the use of forced labour, torture, forced abortion and sterilisation, birth control and family separation policies, and all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, which have been confirmed by the report.”
It urged China to “abide by its obligations under national and international law” and to allow “meaningful, unrestricted and unsupervised access by independent international experts, foreign journalists and diplomats to Xinjiang, Tibet and elsewhere in China.”
The statement also touched on death sentences and executions in China where the estimated number “far exceeds that of all other countries taken together, and it is also applied in the case of non-violent offences,” and called on Beijing to “further reduce the number of crimes punishable by death,” considering it an ineffective and inhumane.
“Freedom of expression and access to information have been increasingly severely suppressed in China by means of censorship, intimidation and surveillance of journalists and media workers,” the statement also denounced.
“Foreign journalists and media workers in China continue to face harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention, visa restrictions and surveillance because of their professional activities for not ‘telling the China story well’ but for telling it truthfully.”
With regard to the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community, they affirm that, although progress has been made towards equality, “gender based violence remains widespread.”
Finally, the EU remains concerned about the repressive use of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, as well as the renewed use of the Sedition Law in and sweeping changes to the electoral system in the former British colony. It also called for the release of prisoners of conscience. EFE