EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights

On 20 November 2009 the European Union and the People’s Republic of China held the 28th round of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights in Beijing.

The Dialogue provided a platform for a frank exchange of views between the People’s Republic of China and the EU on a wide range of human rights issues. The Chinese delegation was chaired by Mr Wu Hailong, Director General of the International department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The EU delegation was chaired by Ambassador Jan Nordlander, Ambassador for Human Rights, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The dialogue gave an opportunity to exchange information on the human rights developments, as well as to express concerns and differences of opinion with regard to the implementation of international human rights standards in China and the EU.

Key issues for the EU were the death penalty, situation in Tibet and Xinjiang,  rule of law, freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, torture, and the ratification by China of the ICCPR. The EU and China also discussed a number of specific items concerning the rule of law. On these issues, the EU voiced its concerns on a number of recent developments and stressed the need to ensure fully the independence of the judiciary and to allow lawyers to exercise their professional duties without interference. China drew attention to the situation of minorities, including religious minorities, violence by police forces, overcrowded prisons, pre-trial detention and torture in police stations as issues of concern in the EU.

Concerning cooperation in international organisations, the EU attached special importance to the maintenance of special procedures, both country and thematic, of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and to possible visits of Special Rapporteurs to China, inviting China to issue a standing invitation to UN special procedures. Both sides discussed their cooperation in the framework of the Human Rights Council, including the Human Rights Council reform.

The EU and China expressed their commitment to continue the series of legal seminars, of which the most recent took place for the 19th time on 18-19 November in Beijing, focusing on access to justice and human rights in the context of the global economic and financial crisis. The Parties confirmed their willingness to start preparations very soon for the next seminar to be held during the first semester of 2010.

The «EU-China Human Rights Dialogue» has, with short interruptions, taken place bi-annually since 1995. The next regular meeting will be held in the first half of 2010.