December 10, 2017
The European Union delegation to China issued a statement on Friday ahead of International Human Rights Day expressing deep concerns regarding the outlook for human rights in the country. From AFP:
The EU noted “significant improvements in the Chinese people’s standard of living and in access to social services such as health and education,” according to a statement on its website.
“However … during the past year, we have been deeply troubled by the deterioration of the situation with respect to freedom of information and freedom of expression and association, including with respect to online activity,” it said.
[…] The EU delegation also said it regrets the death in detention in July of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and called for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, including lawyer Jiang Tianyong and Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti.
[…] The delegation’s statement was not formally endorsed by all 28 EU member states, and there was no immediate response from Beijing. [Source]
The Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on civil society under President Xi Jinping. Hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists were targeted in 2015 in one of the most extensive assaults on rights advocates that the country has seen in recent years. In Hong Kong, the forced disappearance of five staff members of Causeway Bay Books in late 2015 shocked the city and raised fears of eroding human rights conditions in the former British colony. Repression in Xinjiang and Tibet continues as Chinese authorities ramp up efforts to curtail political activity and suppress all expressions of ethnic and religious identity.