Strasbourg, 17 January 2008
German MEP Thomas Mann has today expressed his disappointment with the human rights situation in China on the occasion of the arrest of the Chinese dissident Hu Jia: "Seven months before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, China demonstrates how little its respect of human rights still is. The hope that the decision of the International Olympic Committee to award the Olympics to China would also promote the human rights situation there has not been fulfilled."
Thus Chinese security services had kidnapped and mistreated the two lawyers Gao Zhisheng and Li Heping. Then at the end of December, Hu Jia, human rights activist and cyber-dissident, was arrested under accusation to undermine government authority via the internet. "In October 2007, Hu Jia participated via telephone at a European Parliament press conference on human rights. We have to thank him for his courage. Therefore Hu Jia and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, have been nominated for the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought annually awarded by the European Parliament", Thomas Mann said.
Hu Jia also reported in his internet blog about political prisoners and the victims of expropriations due to the Olympics. "He thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her meeting with the Dalai Lama in a letter. That was obviously too much for Chinese officials", the Chairman of the Tibet Intergroup continued. The public demand of 57 Chinese intellectuals to release Hu Jia is in the meantime also supported by the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering. "It is a slap in the face if human rights fighters are arrested on the basis of their contact with the European Parliament. We must consequently use all diplomatic possibilities so that Hu Jia is immediately released. China promised the best Olympic Games ever to the world. However, the price for it may be neither censorship nor the ignoring of constitutional principles", stressed Mann.
Translation from the original German
For further information:
Thomas Mann MEP, Tel: +33-3-88-177318
Knut Goelz , EPP-ED Press Service, Tel: +32-479-972144
Notes to Editors:
The EPP-ED Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 289 Members from all 27 Member States.