European Parliament resolution on the arrest of the Chinese dissident Hu Jia

The European Parliament has passed a resolution in which it ‘strongly condemns’ the detention of Chinese human rights campaigner Hu Jia and demands his prompt release, as well as the release of all dissidents who have been arrested and jailed for crimes of opinion.

 

Resolution text follows:

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the human rights situation in China,

– having regard to the latest two rounds of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights held in Beijing on 17 October 2007 and in Berlin on 15-16 May 2007,

– having regard to the public hearing held on 26 November 2007 by its Subcommittee on Human Rights concerning Human Rights in China in the run-up to the Olympics,

– having regard to the Olympic Truce called for by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2007, when it urged UN member states to observe and promote peace during the Olympic Games,

– having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the human rights campaigner Hu Jia was taken away from his home in Beijing by police on 27 December 2007 on charges of inciting subversion,

B. whereas Hu Jia and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, have thrown the spotlight on human rights abuses in China over the past few years and spent many periods under house arrest as a result of their campaigning,

C. whereas Hu Jia is in bad health, suffering from a liver disease that obliges him to take medication,

D. whereas in 2006 Time Magazine named Zeng Jinyan one of the world’s one hundred ‘heroes’ and in 2007, together with Hu Jia, she received the Reporters without Borders special ‘China’ prize and a nomination for the Sakharov Prize,

E. whereas human rights organisations called the arrest another move by the Chinese authorities to silence critics ahead of the Beijing Olympics,

F. whereas 57 intellectuals from China immediately published an open letter calling for the instant release of Hu Jia,

G. whereas the President of the European Parliament published a statement on 31 December 2007 admonishing the Chinese authorities for their detention of Hu Jia and urged them to use the forthcoming Games as ‘an opportunity for China to demonstrate that a country hosting the world’s most important sports event is committed to internationally recognised human rights standards, including freedom of expression’,

1. Strongly condemns the detention of Hu Jia and demands his prompt release and that of all the dissidents who have been arrested and jailed for crimes of opinion;

2. Urges the Chinese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr Hu Jia, his relatives and his lawyers;

3. Calls upon China to respect its commitments to human rights and the rule of law, in particular the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1998, by putting an end to the harassment of Chinese human rights defenders, in order to demonstrate its commitment to human rights in its Olympic year;

4. Urges China not to use the Olympic Games as a pretext to arrest and illegally detain and imprison dissidents, journalists and human rights activists who either report on or demonstrate against human rights abuses;

5. Reiterates its opinion that human rights concerns should receive far more attention in the build-up to the Beijing Olympic Games, and highlights the need for ‘respect for universal fundamental ethical principles’ and the promotion of a peaceful society concerned ‘with the preservation of human dignity’ as enshrined in Articles 1 and 2 of the Olympic Charter;

6. Urges China to reform its criminal law to allow greater freedom of expression to journalists, writers, free-lances, reporters etc., who will report to the world on such an important event as the Olympic Games: considers that this reform will also make it possible to clarify the scope of certain unclear legal provisions (e.g. Article 105 of China’s Criminal Code) and give the world a positive signal that the 17th Congress of the CCP paved the way for greater respect for different opinions;

7. Calls on the Chinese authorities to allow Hu Jia and all the other dissidents under arrest to receive medical assistance if necessary, and to bear in mind that detention in inappropriate conditions could damage their health;

8. Urges the Chinese authorities to close the so-called ‘black jails’, places of detention set up to detain ‘troublemakers’ in advance of this year’s Olympics;

9. Calls on the Council of the European Union to take action in relation to the Chinese authorities regarding the arrest of Hu Jia and the disappearance on 22 September 2007 of Gao Zhisheng, a noted human rights attorney and friend of Hu Jia, who has come to represent the plight of the many thousands of human rights defenders currently imprisoned in China;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the applicant countries, the President and Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the International Olympic Committee.