Opinion: European leaders should address human rights in meetings with Chinese president

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


(Rome—March 20, 2019) As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to visit Italy, Monaco, and France this week and next, it is crucial that the governments of these regions raise human rights.

Xi, whose visit is a response to invitations from Prince of Monaco Albert II, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and French President Emmanuel Macron, will arrive in Europe during a time when he and his officials have been accused of grossly escalating China’s human rights abuses. According to statistics verified by ChinaAid and documented in our Annual Persecution Reports (available here), the oppression of Christians alone has surged dramatically since Xi Jinping took power in 2013, and the number of persecution cases against Christians leaped from 1,265 in 2017 to 10,000 in 2018.

Because ChinaAid mostly receives reports on Christian persecution, these numbers do not include the extreme oppression of other human rights and religious freedom abuses. Since 2017, China has imprisoned and tortured anywhere from 1-3 million minority people in Xinjiang, claiming their efforts curb terrorism from the region’s mostly Muslim ethnic groups. The prisoners, however, are often seized for actions as trivial as planning to visit family members abroad or asking if food is halal.

Other religious groups are also often targeted, including practitioners of Falun Gong and Tibetan Buddhists.

Given Xi’s blatant disregard for human rights, it would be unacceptable for influential members of the free world such as Prince Albert II and Presidents Macron and Mattarella to not address human rights with the Chinese president. As individuals dedicated to representing the interests of their respective countries and principality, it would behoove them to demonstrate that human rights is a prioritized value for their people by pressuring China to immediately cease its persecution.

Such pressure could, and historically has, secured the release of innocent Chinese people, making it all the more critical that they receive support from the outside world.

ChinaAid exposes abuses in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law. If you wish to partner with us in helping those persecuted by the Chinese government for their beliefs, please click here to make a charitable donation.

ChinaAid Media Team
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