PACE seeks dialogue with China over democracy and human rights

Strasbourg, 26.06.2008 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has invited the Chinese authorities and parliament to engage in political dialogue to promote parliamentary democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights in the country – and held out the prospect of observer status for the parliament if there is “appreciable progress” in these fields.

 

In a resolution unanimously adopted today, PACE said China – which borders the Council of Europe area – had made tremendous progress with its economy, its stable foreign policy and its key role as a mediator, but pointed to the lack of basic freedoms: “Chinese citizens are still at risk for voicing their views, for criticising the government, for posting articles on the internet or giving interviews to foreign journalists.” Abusive and arbitrary detention, torture and harrassment of human rights activists was common, and the death penalty continued to be applied.

 

The Olympic Games were “a unique opportunity” for China to demonstrate to the world its determination to improve its record, PACE said, but high expectations of progress had not so far been met.

 

On Tibet, the parliamentarians condemned the violent repression of recent demonstrations but called for continued dialogue, stressing that the recent informal talks between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama’s envoys were encouraging.