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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BRUSSELS3159
2004-07-26 13:51:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

EU/CHINA: READOUT OF JUNE 30 HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR

Tags:   PHUM  PREL  PARM  KDEM  KJUS  CH  EUN  USEU  BRUSSELS 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 003159 

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR DRL SUSAN O'SULLIVAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2014
TAGS: PHUM PREL PARM KDEM KJUS CH EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EU/CHINA: READOUT OF JUNE 30 HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR
ON ICCPR

REF: A. BEIJING 11573


B. BERLIN 2422

C. BEIJING 10293

D. O'HARA/FENNERTY ET. AL. E-MAIL 03/02/04

Classified By: USEU Poloff Van Reidhead for reasons 1.4 (b, d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: On June 29-30 the EU and China held a joint
seminar on Chinese ratification of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (refs A, C). EU
reporting, relayed to poloff by a Policy Unit staffer,
described the seminar as useful overall -- with a "wonderful
atmosphere" -- despite China's emphasis on accomplishments
and reluctance to discuss problems. The Chinese stressed
that ICCPR ratification would take years, but they looked
forward to learning from EU experience. While some EU Member
States are linking progress on ICCPR to the debate over
lifting the EU arms embargo on China, none have come out with
specific conditions. The Director of Human Rights Watch's
Brussels office said the EU's HR dialogue with China was not
credible, and called the joint seminars "closed door little
schmoozing shops." END SUMMARY.



2. (C) According to Chris Holtby, a UK-detailee to HiRep
Solana's Policy Unit, China was represented at the seminar by
the MFA and sixteen of the other "entities" participating in
a PRC task force charged with laying the ground for ICCPR
ratification. MFA DG Li Baodong delivered China's opening
remarks, followed by VFM Zhang Yesui. The EU was represented
by experts from 13 Member States and the Commission.



3. (C) Describing UK and EU Presidency reports of the
seminar, Holtby said that while the EU wanted to discuss
continuing HR deficits, the Chinese wanted to focus almost
exclusively on past accomplishments. As a result there was
no real discussion of substantive issues. The central
Chinese message was that ICCPR ratification was a long-term
project requiring several years of hard work to complete.
Yet the Chinese assured the EU that Beijing had made a
political commitment to proceed, and looked forward to EU
assistance in doing so. In a statement that resonated with
the Europeans, the Chinese said they hoped to learn from the
experience of countries like Spain and Portugal that also
went through lengthy HR transitions. After the seminar,
"There was a lot of gushing (on the EU side) about the
wonderful atmosphere," Holtby said. The Dutch EU Presidency
now wants to form smaller EU-China focus groups to tackle
specific aspects of ICCPR ratification, perhaps using an
article-by-article approach. The UK promised to supply the
Dutch with ideas.

Arms Embargo Linkage?


--------------------------





4. (C) Asked whether ICCPR ratification would figure in the
debate over lifting the EU arms embargo on China, Holtby (who
represents the Policy Unit in PSC and Working Group
discussions of China), said that "some" Member States had
made "general" linkages between progress on ICCPR and lifting
the embargo. But as far as he knew, none had come forward
with specific conditions.

The View from Human Rights Watch


--------------------------





5. (C) Asked how the HR NGO community assesses the EU-China
HR dialogue and subsidiary seminars, Human Rights Watch
Brussels Director Lotte Leicht argued forcefully that they
were not credible (septel). She viewed as "outrageous" the
EU's unwillingness to offend China. The EU will not even ask
for the release of political prisoners, let alone for
detailed information on their welfare and whereabouts, she
said. Calling the EU-China meetings "closed door little
schmoozing shops," Leicht said that HRW was no longer willing
to participate for fear of becoming an accomplice of the EU's
appeasement of China. (Note: Leicht had the same view of the
EU's HR dialogue with Iran).

Sammis