European Parliament calls for the release of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and regrets that failure of the EU to deliver an Item 4 Statement at the UN’s Human Rights Council

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on July 6, 2017 calling on the Chinese government to immediately release the ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and to seek medical treatment “wherever they wish”.

The resolution called “on the Chinese Government to release, immediately and unconditionally, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and allow him to obtain medical treatment wherever they wish.” It also urged “the Chinese authorities to allow Lui Xiaobo unrestricted access to family, friends, and legal counsel”.

The human rights activist has been imprisoned since 2009 for co-writing a manifesto known as “Charter 8”, calling for fundamental reforms, and is being denied to move outside China for treatment of his late-stage liver cancer. The resolution said, “Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, although never charged with any offence, has been under house arrest since he was awarded the Peace Prize in 2010, and has, since then, been denied almost all human contact, except with close family and a few friends”.

Liu Xiaobo has supported the Dalai Lama’s position on autonomy for Tibet saying it was “not only well-founded morally, but practically, it is a sincere ex-pression for peaceful negotiations”. He is also one of the original 29 signato-ries of a 12-point petition to the Chinese authorities in March 2008 calling for dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, noting the “serious mistakes” in China’s policies in Tibet, and criticizing the Chinese government’s response to the protests in Tibet as lacking “a style of govern-ing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization.”

In the same resolution, the European Parliament also regretted “the failure of the EU to make a statement on human rights in China at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2017, which was blocked by Greece, and callled on all EU Member States to adopt a firm, values-based approach to-wards China and expects them not to undertake unilateral initiatives or acts that might undermine the coherence, effectiveness and consistency of EU ac-tion”.

The resolution also called for the release of Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese pro-democracy social media activist, who has been detained on March 19, 2017 in China and is since missing, allegedly under investigation on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger national security”.

On another issue, the resolution concerned by the Chinese government’s “continued efforts to silence civil society actors” with the help of new laws on state security, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and foreign NGO manage-ment. In a resolution adopted on Thursday, it called on the EU to keep raising the issue of human rights violations in its political dialogues in order to make China live up to its international human rights commitments.

The EP resolution is available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2017-0308+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN

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