German leader addresses human rights in China, but activists wish he goes further – H Talk Asia

Chancellor Olaf Scholz briefly addressed human rights at a meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing on Friday, but Uyghurs and other rights groups said he hadn’t gone far enough.

In a meeting with the leader of the Communist Party after Xi Jinping, who began his third five-year term last month, Scholz urged China to stand up for international order and put pressure on Russia to end its war against Ukraine, according to a Report by Politico Europa.

At a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday, Scholz told reporters he was concerned that China is closing off sectors of its international economy to foreign competition and failing to respect intellectual property, the report said.

Scholz also called on China to respect human rights, saying Beijing cannot escape the international ramifications of its treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang by calling it an internal matter.

“Human rights are an interference in international affairs,” he said, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Later Friday, the group of seven foreign ministers, which includes Germany and the United States, issued a statement in Munster, Germany, touching on China’s human rights record.

“We will continue to raise our concerns with China over its reported human rights violations and abuses, including in Xinjiang and Tibet,” the statement said. “We reiterate our concerns about the ongoing erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and autonomy, and call on China to act in accordance with its international commitments and legal obligations.”

Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, expressed dismay that Scholz addressed the issue of human rights only briefly and that his accompanying delegation included only business representatives and no human rights experts.

“It is extremely disappointing to find that the Uyghur genocide stemmed from a different understanding of human rights,” Isa said in the statement. “Germany must now act together with its international partners to hold the Chinese government accountable.”

The World Uyghur Congress, the Tibet Initiative Germany, the Freedom for Hong Kong eV and the Society for Threatened Peoples all criticized Scholz’s entire trip to China, saying reporters were not given an opportunity to ask questions at the press conference.

Earlier this week, 70 human rights organizations published an open letter urging Scholz to reconsider his trip to China amid mounting human rights concerns. They noted that an accompanying delegation of several top German executives implied that Berlin was increasing its economic dependence on an authoritarian government at the expense of democratic principles, including respect for human rights.

“The invitation of a German trade delegation to your visit is taken as a sign that Germany is ready to deepen trade and economic ties at the expense of human rights and international law,” they wrote in the memo released by Germany. founded World Uyghur Congress.

In urging Scholz to reconsider his visit, the groups said: “This would be the clearest signal that Germany, as one of the leading members of the European Union, has given its tacit approval of the ongoing repression of Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Tibetans and other groups inside and outside of the borders of the PRC” using the initials for the People’s Republic of China, the country’s formal name.

The United States and several Western parliaments have said China’s mistreatment of Uyghurs, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture and forced labor, amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity.

A scathing report issued by the UN human rights chief in late August documents widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang and says the repression “may constitute international crimes, particularly crimes against humanity.”

Later Monday, when a reporter asked Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular press conference if the two leaders were discussing issues related to human rights and ethnic minority rights in Xinjiang, he said China issued a notice on the meeting . But the document made no mention of the Uyghurs, Xinjiang or human rights.