Taiwan: China Castigated Over Censorship
Below is an article published by The Parliament:
Two senior MEPs have criticised China’s record on human rights despite claims by the country’s EU ambassador that Beijing has made “much progress” on the issue.
The criticism comes as protesters staged a demonstration in Brussels on Thursday [9 October 2008] against the "gagging" of a Chinese-language TV station.
German Greens MEP Helga Trupel has tabled a question to the commission following the decision of French company Eutelstat communications to shut down New Tang Dynasty Television's (NTDTV) transmission in China.
It is the only Chinese channel providing independent and uncensored news to 40 million satellite TV viewers in China.
Campaigners, including Reporters Without Borders, protested the move outside the council building in Brussels.
"NTDTV is the only European media outlet regularly broadcasting the activities of the European parliament to people in China. Its broadcasts irked the Chinese regime because they could be freely received in tens of millions of Chinese homes," said Zhong Lee, president of NTDTV.
But writing in the new issue of the Parliament Magazine, Song Zhe, China's ambassador to the EU, addresses criticism of his country, saying "much progress" has been made in improving human rights, not least in Tibet.
He writes, "China has faced fierce criticism over its human rights in Tibet, but the huge socio-economic progress taking place in Tibet over the past few decades reflects the historic progress of our human rights cause."
The Chinese regime also came under fire in parliament this week [October 2008] from Astrid Lulling, a centre-right deputy from Luxembourg, who said, “China is still not a democracy and not a respecter of human rights. That is a fact.”
Her comments were echoed by German EPP-ED deputy Georg Jarzembowski, chair of parliament’s Taiwan friendship group, who compared China with its near neighbour Taiwan, which he described as a “model” for the rest of Asia.
“Taiwan is a democracy, respects human rights and honours the rule of law,” he said.
Jarzembowski also criticised the EU over its “failure” to support Taiwan’s recent application to take part in specialised agencies of the United Nations.
Both deputies were speaking at the opening of a photographic exhibition in parliament on Taiwan, organised by the Taipei Representative Office to the EU and Belgium, which ends on Friday [10 October 2008].
Coincidentally, an exhibition on Guilin, a Chinese province, was being staged nearby. Parliament has also this week [October 2008] hosted a conference marking 60 years of the universal declaration of human rights.