EU Diplomats Visit China, Repeat Concerns About ‘Very Serious’ Human Rights Situation

Senior EU diplomats call on Beijing to stop human rights violation after meeting with Chinese officials and a visit to Tibet.The European Union reiterated its concerns over “the very serious human rights situation in China” during a recent dialogue with the communist country.Senior EU diplomats led by Paola Pampaloni, deputy managing director for Asia and Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS), delivered their concerns after engaging in an annual human rights dialogue with Chinese officials. The June 16 event was jointly chaired by Ms. Pampaloni and Shen Bo, director general of the international organizations and conferences department at China’s foreign ministry.Held in the western Chinese metropolis of Chongqing, the dialogue took place amid rising tensions between Beijing and the 27-nation bloc over numerous issues, including China’s role in Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade, and human rights.“In particular, the EU referred to reports on the crackdown on human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in China,” the EEAS said in a statement issued on June 17.“The EU urged China to investigate and stop human rights violations, expressing concern for cases of unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment.”The officials singled out the human rights situations in Xinjiang, a northwestern Chinese region where at least 1 million Uyghurs are held in forced labor camps, as well as in neighboring Tibet, where Buddhist culture and religious practices have faced political repression for decades.Rare Tibet VisitIn a rare move, the EU delegation made a three-day visit to Tibet last week ahead of the human rights dialogue. At Brussels’ request, Chinese authorities arranged for the delegation to visit Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, and its eastern city of Nyingchi.Related StoriesAccording to the EEAS statement, they visited “boarding schools, municipalities, cultural and religious sites, relocated Tibetan families, as well as to a prison,” adding that “The side visit reflected the majority of the EU’s requests, except for meetings with individual prisoners.”Tibet is the only area in the country where foreign diplomats and officials must seek Beijing’s permission before visiting. In 2023, U.S. officials submitted three formal requests for travel to Tibet, but none of the requests were granted, the State Department stated in an April report to Congress. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did organize tours for foreign diplomats, the report stated that these events were “strictly controlled” by the Chinese authorities and “do not allow meaningful access” to Tibetans.Brussels cast the human rights situation in Tibet as “dire” in a statement delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March, highlighting the regime’s efforts to force Tibetan children into state-run boarding schools and the mass collection of DNA samples in the Himalayan region.Hong KongIn addition to Tibet, senior EU diplomats reiterated further concerns about Hong Kong, where the city’s pro-CCP legislators have recently enacted a new security law.“The EU also referred to the negative impact of Hong Kong’s new national security legislation on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, and the erosion of the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Basic Law and China’s international commitments towards the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” it stated.Placards showing missing bookseller Gui Minhai (R) are seen left by members of the Civic party outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong on Jan. 19, 2016. (Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)During the meeting with Chinese officials, the EU delegation urged Beijing to immediately release Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish bookseller who went missing from his holiday home in Thailand in 2015 and was later sentenced by a Chinese court to 10 years in jail for “providing intelligence” to foreigners. Mr. Gui was one of the shareholders of a Hong Kong-based bookstore that specialized in selling books critical of the CCP.Falun GongEU officials also raised the plight of Ding Yuande, an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner who’s son is a German resident. Mr. Ding received a three-year jail term in December 2023.The bloc’s executive Commission in January adopted a resolution condemning the CCP’s ongoing persecution of Falun Gong, calling for the immediate release of Mr. Ding and other Falun Gong practitioners.Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that combines meditative exercise with moral teaching based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The faith group has faced relentless persecution by the CCP since 1999, which includes mass arrest, detention, torture, and other abuses. Its tens of millions of practitioners have been the prime vicitms of China’s state-run forced organ harvesting industry.Ding Yuande's Son, Ding Lebin appeals for the release of his parents who are imprisoned in China for practicing Falun Gong, during a rally on Aug. 1, 2023. (

EU Diplomats Visit China, Repeat Concerns About ‘Very Serious’ Human Rights Situation

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Senior EU diplomats call on Beijing to stop human rights violation after meeting with Chinese officials and a visit to Tibet.

The European Union reiterated its concerns over “the very serious human rights situation in China” during a recent dialogue with the communist country.

Senior EU diplomats led by Paola Pampaloni, deputy managing director for Asia and Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS), delivered their concerns after engaging in an annual human rights dialogue with Chinese officials. The June 16 event was jointly chaired by Ms. Pampaloni and Shen Bo, director general of the international organizations and conferences department at China’s foreign ministry.

Held in the western Chinese metropolis of Chongqing, the dialogue took place amid rising tensions between Beijing and the 27-nation bloc over numerous issues, including China’s role in Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade, and human rights.
“In particular, the EU referred to reports on the crackdown on human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in China,” the EEAS said in a statement issued on June 17.

“The EU urged China to investigate and stop human rights violations, expressing concern for cases of unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment.”

The officials singled out the human rights situations in Xinjiang, a northwestern Chinese region where at least 1 million Uyghurs are held in forced labor camps, as well as in neighboring Tibet, where Buddhist culture and religious practices have faced political repression for decades.
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Rare Tibet Visit

In a rare move, the EU delegation made a three-day visit to Tibet last week ahead of the human rights dialogue. At Brussels’ request, Chinese authorities arranged for the delegation to visit Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, and its eastern city of Nyingchi.

According to the EEAS statement, they visited “boarding schools, municipalities, cultural and religious sites, relocated Tibetan families, as well as to a prison,” adding that “The side visit reflected the majority of the EU’s requests, except for meetings with individual prisoners.”

Tibet is the only area in the country where foreign diplomats and officials must seek Beijing’s permission before visiting. In 2023, U.S. officials submitted three formal requests for travel to Tibet, but none of the requests were granted, the State Department stated in an April report to Congress. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did organize tours for foreign diplomats, the report stated that these events were “strictly controlled” by the Chinese authorities and “do not allow meaningful access” to Tibetans.
Brussels cast the human rights situation in Tibet as “dire” in a statement delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March, highlighting the regime’s efforts to force Tibetan children into state-run boarding schools and the mass collection of DNA samples in the Himalayan region.

Hong Kong

In addition to Tibet, senior EU diplomats reiterated further concerns about Hong Kong, where the city’s pro-CCP legislators have recently enacted a new security law.

“The EU also referred to the negative impact of Hong Kong’s new national security legislation on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, and the erosion of the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Basic Law and China’s international commitments towards the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” it stated.

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Placards showing missing bookseller Gui Minhai (R) are seen left by members of the Civic party outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong on Jan. 19, 2016. (Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)
Placards showing missing bookseller Gui Minhai (R) are seen left by members of the Civic party outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong on Jan. 19, 2016. (Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)

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During the meeting with Chinese officials, the EU delegation urged Beijing to immediately release Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish bookseller who went missing from his holiday home in Thailand in 2015 and was later sentenced by a Chinese court to 10 years in jail for “providing intelligence” to foreigners. Mr. Gui was one of the shareholders of a Hong Kong-based bookstore that specialized in selling books critical of the CCP.
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Falun Gong

EU officials also raised the plight of Ding Yuande, an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner who’s son is a German resident. Mr. Ding received a three-year jail term in December 2023.
The bloc’s executive Commission in January adopted a resolution condemning the CCP’s ongoing persecution of Falun Gong, calling for the immediate release of Mr. Ding and other Falun Gong practitioners.
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that combines meditative exercise with moral teaching based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The faith group has faced relentless persecution by the CCP since 1999, which includes mass arrest, detention, torture, and other abuses. Its tens of millions of practitioners have been the prime vicitms of China’s state-run forced organ harvesting industry.
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Ding Yuande's Son, Ding Lebin appeals for the release of his parents who are imprisoned in China for practicing Falun Gong, during a rally on Aug. 1, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
Ding Yuande's Son, Ding Lebin appeals for the release of his parents who are imprisoned in China for practicing Falun Gong, during a rally on Aug. 1, 2023. (The Epoch Times)


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The CCP appeared to be unmoved by the EU’s appeals.

At a Tuesday briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian told reporters that Brussels should stop “interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.”

Rights advocacy groups have for years called on the EU to halt the human rights dialogues with China, given that conversation is not enough to push the CCP to put an end to its abuses.

“While the EU raises concerns during these dialogues, it knows that the Chinese government will not acknowledge abuses, will not undertake any effort to secure accountability, and will not be persuaded to undertake any policy or legislative action to comply with China’s international human rights obligations,” Human Rights Watch and four other rights advocacy groups said in a joint statement on June 12.

“The EU and its member states should pursue different, more effective actions to press the Chinese government to end its crimes against humanity and other serious violations–and to hold accountable those responsible for failing to do so,” it added.

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