EU Member State Bilateral Agreements Threaten China Human Rights Defenders
55 pro-democracy activists in exile – with the support of Safeguard Defenders, Hong Kong Watch and the World Uyghur Congress – have called for “urgent coordinated action to suspend all Bilateral Extradition Agreements between EU Member States and the People’s Republic of China.” In a letter, sent to European Union (EU) leaders, highlights the dangers of a lack of coordinated EU-level approaches to criminal justice cooperation with China. In our recent report, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), has highlighted the threats that exiled activists from China, Russia, Iran and other repressive states face even after receiving sanctuary in Europe. The EU does not appear to be doing enough to guarantee a coordinated response to these threats despite it having the legislative and practical tools at its disposal to ensure it. The UNPO is calling upon the EU to urgently review its criminal justice cooperation programmes to ensure that human rights defenders who have received sanctuary in Europe are able to live freely and without attack, threats and intimidation.
The letter is reprinted below.
To the attention of:
President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel
President of the European Commission, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen
Members of the European Council
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell
Subject: Suspension of extradition treaties with the People’s Republic of China
We the undersigned, Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Taiwanese and Chinese human rights activists living in Europe, appeal to you to undertake urgent coordinated action to suspend all Bilateral Extradition Agreements between EU Member States and the People’s Republic of China.
EU Institutions have on multiple occasions deplored the Chinese Communist Party’s increasing crack-down on human rights and democracy activists within its borders. Yet, while such calls go manifestly unheeded by the Chinese Government, there are concrete actions the European Union and its Member States can undertake to protect those that had no choice but to flee certain persecution.
Not only do the Bilateral Extradition Treaties with the PRC legitimize a judicial system that does not respect any of the due process standards prescribed by international law, they play a key role in the CCP’s effort to export its regime of political terror overseas as they effectively incite fear and caution into our hearts and minds.
We take little comfort in guarantees from Member States that they will not permit the abuse of such extradition agreements to muzzle political opponents. Recent extradition cases in Sweden, Poland and Spain have shown a dangerous trend where the Chinese Government has sought to circumvent provisions to stop political persecution by demanding extradition for financial crimes, accusing activists and dissidents of financial fraud. Of equal concern is Beijing’s use of the One China policy as a backdoor to extradite Taiwanese citizens to be jailed on the mainland.
Even EU citizens are not exempt from the threat of extradition. Four Danish citizens, including two elected Members of Parliament, have been expressly warned by their own Intelligence Services to avoid travel to fellow EU Member States with outstanding extradition treaties with the PRC.
As activists in exile, in the safe haven of Europe, these active extradition treaties are of great and immediate concern. Under current judicial review procedures for extradition requests they not only present a potential threat to our freedom of movement within the European Union, but to our freedom of association and freedom of expression, as Beijing may seek our extradition for statements we make in Europe.
We therefore urge the ten EU Member States to suspend or revoke these Bilateral Extradition Treaties with the People’s Republic of China to effectively protect the freedom of movement, association and speech for all.
We pray that unlike your calls to Beijing, this call to actively uphold and fully defend our shared values within Europe does not go unheeded.
Abdugheni Atush, Belgium Uyghur Association,
Uyghur activist in exile Abdullam Imerov, Belgium Uyghur Association,
Uyghur activist in exile Ablikim Raziev, Belgium Uyghur Association,
Uyghur activist in exile Adil Çinar, Secretary of the Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation,
Uyghur activist in exile Adiljan Abdurihim, Secretary for the Norwegian Uyghur Committee
Ai Weiwei, Activist and artist
Alan Li Tung-sing, Hong Kong activist in exile
Alerk Ablikim, Political Secretary of Free Uyghur Netherlands, Uyghur activist in exile
Angela Gui, Activist, daughter of imprisoned Hong Kong bookseller, Swedish citizen
Gui Minhai Bahtiyar Ømer, Chairman for the Norwegian Uyghur Committee
Choezin Khangsar, Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Dalha Kharsar, Vice-President, Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Dolkun Isa, World Uyghur Congress President, Uyghur activist in exile
Ekber Tursun, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Esma Gün, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Finn Lau, Founder Hong Kong Liberty, Hong Kong activist in exile
Gephel Choekyi Ribi, Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Gheyyur Qurban, World Uyghur Congress Berlin, Uyghur activist in exile
Ghunchem Hoji, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Glacier Kwong Chung-ching, Research Fellow at HKDC, Hong Kong activist in exile
Golog Jigme, Tibetan activist and former political prisoner
Guljennet Tayir, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Ibrahim Ismail, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Iptihar Abdureshit, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Jamyang Tsultrim, Tibetan activist
Jessica Chiu, Chairman for the Hong Kong Committee in Norway
Jim Wong, Co-Founder of Hong Kong Link, Hong Kong activist in exile
Kalsang Dechen, President, Tibetan Community of Italy
Karma Choekyi, President, Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Lobsang Phunstok, President, Tibetan Community of Germany
Magnus Baur, Chairman for the Norwegian-Taiwan Friendship Association
Merethe Lind Johansen, Executive Officer for the Norwegian Tibet Committee
Muetter Iliqud, Head of Communications for the Norwegian Uyghur Committee
Nathan Law, former pro-democracy lawmaker, Hong Kong activist in exile
Nurahmet Borhan, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Qurban Sakiev, Belgium Uyghur Association, Uyghur activist in exile
Rahima Mahmut, World Uyghur Congress UK Project Director, Uyghur activist in exile