ChinaAid and others call for “Renewed EU-China Strategy”

The city of Hong Kong
(Photo: Flickr)

(ChinaAid, Midland, TX—October 1, 2021) ChinaAid, Stand with Hong Kong (SWHK), and other organizations co-signed an open letter calling on the European Union (EU) to change its response to China’s communist regime. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) invaded Hong Kong in 2020 and severely limited the freedoms of its citizens. Since then, the CCP continued to crack down on democracy groups like the Hong Kong Alliance last month. 
The full letter is found below: 

Open Letter Calling for a Renewed EU-China Strategy 

 On 1st October, as China is celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the People’s  Republic, President Xi Jinping is further consolidating his power, paving the way for life-long rule in the  style of Mao. As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong used to pride itself as the last bastion of  freedom under China’s rule, where Hongkongers could agree to disagree, the press acted as the fourth  power and the government’s watchdog, educators were free to teach their students about the shadows  of the Chinese Communist Party’s history, and artists could criticise the Chinese regime through  artworks and films. Yet, Chinese authoritarian norms have been rapidly diffused into every fabric of  Hong Kong’s society. While the world watches, Hong Kong’s electoral system is being overhauled and  its civil society is falling apart. At the same time, the EU’s 27 Member States continue to struggle to  achieve a common position on the situation in the city.  

 The EU is founded on diversity and strives to be a guardian of freedom, democracy, and human  rights. We strongly believe that in the increasingly volatile and complex world of global affairs, the EU  can demonstrate its determination as the free world’s defender if it can leverage its single market in  upholding the rules-based international order. ‘Together We are Stronger’ represents the EU spirit, and  this spirit should inform its China strategy. For decades, China observers and experts had been  predicting a peaceful rise of the Middle Kingdom, but the genocide in Xinjiang, cultural oppression in  Tibet, erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and potential military aggression against Taiwan have shown  that China is a totalitarian regime which seeks to export illiberalism, surveillance, and repressive tactics  abroad. The EU needs to come together, true to its values and agree a strategy which reflects the new  reality of contemporary China.  

Increasingly, unchallenged Chinese oppression is felt in the European Union. In April 2021, for  example, the Hungarian government, a large recipient of Chinese investment, blocked an EU statement  criticising China over Hong Kong, further highlighting Beijing’s leverage in European Affairs. Through  increased strategic investments in key Member States across central and eastern Europe, China  continues to ensure a unified EU position on relations with Beijing remains a difficult feat to achieve. 

Chinese investment in the EU must be given adequate scrutiny to ensure it does not compromise the  bloc’s unity.  

The cases of Tibet and Xinjiang have exposed the EU’s limitations to date in pushing for  improved human rights conditions in China. Greater use of diplomatic tools and other instruments must  be adopted to help slow down the further deterioration of Hong Kong’s autonomy. To dissuade China’s  aggression in Taiwan, the EU should also strengthen its trade relations with Taipei while adhering to  the ‘One China’ policy.  

To this end, we, the co-signatories, call on the European Commission and the European  External Action Service to develop a new strategy for engagement with China which ensures  Beijing’s conscious and systematic human rights violations are adequately addressed, trade  relations with Taiwan are pursued, European strategic autonomy is strengthened, and common  challenges such as climate change and technology can be collectively tackled.  

Yours sincerely,  

Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong. 

Bill Browder, Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign  

ChinaAid Association (USA)  

Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” (Italy) 

Safeguard Defenders 

The Ilham Tohti Initiative (Germany) The Italian Federation for Human Rights  The Tibet Initiative Deutschland 

Alviina Alametsä MEP  

Christophe Hansen MEP  

David Lega MEP  

Engin Eroglu MEP  

Francisco Guerreiro MEP  

Gianna Gancia MEP  

Ivan Štefanec MEP  

Petras Auštrevičius  

Rasa Juknevičienė  

Riho Terras MEP  

Salima Yenbou MEP  

Svenja Hahn MEP 


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