Brussels: The European Parliament has adopted a report strongly criticizing the human rights situation in China, including Tibet. The report was approved by 351 votes for and 48 against, with 160 abstentions and comes on the eve of a high-level EU-China summit, which will be held on 9 September in Helsinki.

The report “deplores the contradiction between the constitutional freedom of belief (enshrined in Article 36 of the Constitution) and the ongoing interference of the State in the affairs of religious communities,” and is deeply concerned “that the practice of torture remains widespread in China.”

MEPs expressed their concern about “recent reports of continuing serious human rights abuses in Tibetan areas of China.” The report highlights the use of torture, arbitrary detention and Patriotic Education programs in Tibet to silence dissenting voices. The report also called upon the Chinese government to “intensify its positive engagement in substantive negotiations regarding the demands of the Dalai Lama for autonomy for Tibet.”

The Parliament’s report also strongly recommends “that the EU arms embargo against China remain intact until greater progress is made on human rights issues” and welcomed the American initiative to start a strategic dialogue with Europe on China’s rise and encouraged the European Union and its Member States “to develop, together with the USA, a strategic consensus for dealing with China.”

The Socialist group in the EP abstained from voting on the report, saying it was “unduly focused on the human rights situation in China.”

You can read the full text of the report here »