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Hearing of 12 NGOs by members of the European Parliament about the human rights record of China before its upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN

Beijing did not manage to silence the voice of Kim Sang Hun, the advocate of North Korean refugees forcibly repatriated by China
Human Rights Without Frontiers
December 02, 2008

HRWF Int'l (02.12.2008) - Website: - Email: - On 2 December, MEP Istvan Szent-Ivanyi (ALDE/ Hungary) and Human Rights Without Frontiers co-organized a one-day hearing of 12 NGOs (*) and some experts to examine China's human rights record before its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), due to take place at the UN in Geneva on 9 February 2009. A hundred participants attended the hearing for the whole day. This hearing covered a wide range of issues, including:


Human Rights Defenders – Freedom of Expression – Freedom of Religion or Belief – Tibet Issues – Uyghur Issues – Religious Minority Falun Gong – One-Child policy – Labour Rights – Housing and Land Rights – Environmental Rights – Arbitrary Detention – Re-education Through Forced Labor – Death Penalty – North Korean Refugees in China - China in the Global World - China, Africa and Human Rights - The Tibet Issue in the EU-China Relations - Report on last week's mission of the Delegation of the European Parliament for Relations with China.

Despite the interception of human rights activist Kim Sang Hun by Chinese police in the international zone of Beijing airport while he was on his way to Brussels and his deportation back to South Korea, his voice was not silenced. A member of HRWF Int'l read his presentation that he had fortunately sent previously to the organizers of the conference.

The various sessions were chaired by

MEP Istvan Szent-Ivanyi, vice-chairman of the Delegation of the European Parliament for Relations with the Korean Peninsula

MEP Marco Cappato, author of the last human rights report of the European Parliament

MEP Helga Trüpel, member of the Delegation of the European Parliament for Relations with China

MEP Graham Watson, president of ALDE political group

MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, vice-president of the European Parliament.

The event was taking place one day after the EU-China Summit unilaterally cancelled  by Beijing, two days before the visit of the Dalai Lama at the European Parliament in Brussels, and two weeks before the granting of the Sakharov Prize to the Chinese human rights defender Hu Jia, sentenced in January 2008 to three years and a half in prison.

Recommendations supported and signed by all the MEPs chairing the various sessions will be addressed to the delegations of the member states of the UN Human Rights Council, so that they may be raised during the interactive session of the UPR.  The following recommendations may be quoted by the media in their review of the event:

Death Penalty

The death penalty should be abolished. Every year, China performs some 5,000-6,000 executions.

Arbitrary Detention

Extra-judicial or administrative detention in which people are deprived of their freedom without charge, trial or judicial review should be banned.

Torture and other Ill-treatment

The Chinese authorities

  • should put an end to the impunity of law enforcement officials using torture and other ill-treatment;
  • should improve the provisions of Chinese Criminal Law regarding torture and ill-treatment so that they fully comply with definitions of torture under international law;
  • should implement the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and of the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Freedom of Expression

The Chinese authorities

  • should revise Article 105(2) of the Criminal Code in which the concepts of "state security" and "subversion of state power" are not in line with the ICCPR and the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information;
  • should unblock censored internet websites of human rights organizations;
  • should release all prisoners of conscience and all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, such as Hu Jia, the 2008 Sakharov Prize winner.

Freedom of Religion or Belief

The Chinese authorities

         should align their religious legislation and policy to international standards as defined in the ICCPR;

  • should fully recognize the freedom of assembly and of worship of registered and unregistered religious communities, decriminalize gatherings of unregistered religious groups, and release the believers arrested in the framework of such meetings;
  • should lift the ban on Falun Gong;
  • should invite UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to carry out a fact-finding mission.

Tibetan and Uyghur Issues


The Chinese authorities should grant genuine autonomy to the Tibet Autonomous Region of Tibet and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.


Chinese leaders should officially recognize a healthy and engaged civil society as an essential partner in sustainable development and environmental protection.

In confirming commitments to respect international human rights standards, the Chinese government should take specific measures to protect individuals who demand their right to a world free of toxic pollution and environmental degradation.

One-Child Policy

The Chinese authorities

  • should revise their birth control policy in such a way that it does not lead to forced abortion;
  • should release blind activist Chen Guangcheng sentenced to a 4-year prison term for exposing the mass forced abortions and forced sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong Province, in 2005. In June of 2007, according to an Amnesty International report, he was severely beaten in prison and denied medical attention. On April 30, 2006, Time Magazine named him in its list of "2006's Top 100 People Who Shape Our World, in the category of "Heroes and Pioneers."

North Korean Refugees in China

The Chinese authorities

  • should stop violating the principles of non-refoulement contained in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention;
  • should stop repatriating North Korean refugees to their country as they face imprisonment, torture and the death penalty.

(*) Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme, Reporters Without Borders, International Campaign for Tibet, Human Rights Without Frontiers Int'l, Solidarité Chine, China Aid, Friends of Tibet, World Uyghur Congress, CIPFG, Database Center for NK Human Rights

Note: The papers presented at the conference will publicized in the next few days

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