EU urged not to turn blind eye to human rights deterioration in China

Written by Martin Banks on 21 June 2019 in News

The appeal comes in the wake of recent street protests in Hong Kong by millions of people angry at the introduction of new legislation which, if enacted, will ease the extradition of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Photo Credit: Fotolia

Speaking in the European Parliament, Taiwan’s ambassador to the EU, Harry Tseng, seized on the massive protests, saying they should serve as a “wake up call” about “authoritarian China.”

His comments also come in the week when the BBC exposed the scale of so-called “re-education camps” in China. These are used, it is claimed, by the regime to indoctrinate members of religious minorities in the country.

Tseng was addressing an event to mark the reforming of the Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group to be chaired by German MEP Michael Gahler. He succeeds fellow German member Werner Langen.


It was attended by 40 cross-party MEPs, including outgoing, re-elected and new members.

In a speech to MEPs and others, Tseng said he wanted to particularly draw MEPs' attention to the “strong” protests staged by over two million Hong Kong people against the controversial extradition bill proposed by Hong Kong authorities.

The massive demonstration, he said, proved the "One country, two systems" political formula is a “sheer failure in Hongkong.”

The ambassador called on EU Member States “not to turn a blind eye to the deterioration of human rights and judicial unfairness.”

He went on, “The voice of opposition strongly advocated by hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens can serve as a wake-up call for those countries who have extradition treaties with authoritarian China.”

“Despite the geographical distance, Taiwan and Europe are very close and united on core values of democracy, freedom and human rights. These shared values are why Taiwan is able to work together with the EU” Harry Tseng, Taiwan ambassador to the EU

He said, “Despite the geographical distance, Taiwan and Europe are very close and united on core values of democracy, freedom and human rights. These shared values are why Taiwan is able to work together with the EU, and why our relationship is getting closer and stronger.”

“Faced with pressure from China, Taiwan is sparing no effort in consolidating diplomatic relations with allies and deepening substantive relationships with like-minded countries, such as European countries, the US and Japan.”

“If Taiwan can’t defend its hard-earned democracy, it would be a tremendous tragedy, not only for Taiwan, but also for the development of democracy worldwide. In the fight to consolidate democracy, the EU is a crucial source of support for Taiwan, and in particular the European Parliament has done so much to sustain and inspire us.”

He commended outgoing members of the friendship group and welcomed new ones, adding, “We want to express our sincere gratitude to MEPs who have completed their term and have shown us their steadfast support over the years. Thanks to their efforts, Taiwan has consistently been on the agenda of the European Parliament, and significant breakthroughs in bilateral cooperation have been made.”

The ambassador said Taiwan is keen to “work closely” with new members “to further advance the Taiwan-EU friendship and our shared values on the existing strong foundation.”

In a video message, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph WU said he hopes to “further strengthen” relations in the new Parliament.

“Based on shared values such as democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights, Taiwan and the EU should further deepen bilateral relations through exchanges and cooperation in various areas in the years ahead.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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