UK and Ireland should follow European Parliament’s lead in criticising China

A letter from John Cushnahan:

Sunday, 11th July 2021, 8:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th July 2021, 8:32 pm
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

I was delighted that the European Parliament has this week overwhelmingly passed a joint-resolution strongly condemning China’s continuing destruction of Hong Kong’s human rights and freedoms especially China’s latest actions resulting in the closure of the leading pro-democracy newspaper, the Apple Daily, and the arrest of journalists under the draconian National Security Law.

The resolution calls on the EU Commission and EU Member States to take a series of concrete actions to respond to China’s treatment of Hong Kong, including implementing travel bans and asset freezes on Hong Kong officials, the introduction of an EU lifeboat scheme for Hong Kong citizens and the issuing of emergency travel documents for journalists, EU support for the creation of a UN Special Rapporteur or Envoy for Hong Kong, and the suspension of extradition treaties between EU Member States and the People’s Republic of China.

Most importantly, MEPs reiterated their position that they would continue to block ratification of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and called for extending the scope of the European Endowment for Democracy to projects located in South-East Asia to support civil society and media, the expansion of Erasmus places covering academic and training places in Europe for Hong Kong citizens, and for EU Member States to reach out to EU based banks to release assets belonging to Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.

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It is particularly welcome that unlike some EU Institutions, the European Parliament gives priority to protecting human rights and freedoms rather than pursuing selfish trading interests.

The Irish government following its principled stances on the Middle East, Belarus and Tigray should follow the European Parliament’s lead and ask the UK government to join with them in raising these issues in the UN Security Council.

John Cushnahan, Ex Fine Gael MEP & European Parliament Rapporteur on Hong Kong 1997 -2004, ex Alliance Party leader

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