The European Union has criticised Beijing over its human rights record, ahead of a summit of top Chinese and EU officials in Brussels on April 9.
The criticism, contained in a statement by the EU on Wednesday, followed two days of human rights talks between Chinese and EU diplomats.
EU equally criticised China on flagging high-profile detentions and “political re-education camps’’ in China’s Xinjiang province.
Among other things, the EU highlighted “the deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in China’’ pointing to the arrest and detention of a “significant number’’ of human rights defenders and lawyers.
The statement lists Gui Minhai, a Swedish bookseller detained in Hong Kong, renowned Uighur economist Ilham Tohti and female scholar Rahile Dawut, as well as several persecuted for their religious beliefs and Tibetans facing criminal charges for “exercising their right to freedom of expression.’’
The human rights dialogue also addressed the situation in Xinjiang and Tibet, the EU wrote, noting that the system of political re-education camps in Xinjiang area “worrying development.’’
“While actions to counter terrorism are essential, such measures must respect the principle of proportionality, fundamental freedoms and international laws,’’ the EU statement said.
The talks included a meeting of civil society organisations which the Chinese delegation did not attend.
Instead, it visited a European non-governmental organisation working on the prevention of radicalisation, the statement noted.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is to meet with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels by April 9, for the 21st EU-China summit.