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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Chinese Premier Waves Carrot At EU

EU Arms Embargo
"Chinese Premier asks EU not to link human rights to trade "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told top European Union officials they are making an economic mistake to link progress in human rights to lifting a 15-year arms embargo and the official recognition of China as a market economy."

In a joint news conference with European Commission President Romano Prodi to wrap up a two day visit to the EU headquarters the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao used the lure of potential economic windfalls in an attempt to have the EU divorce human rights issues from economic ones in it's decision making process.

Continuing a degree of cockiness that has crept into Chinese leaders' statements of late Wen told the news conference that
"Many countries have shown a keen interest in resolving these two issues. As to the specific benefits you will get, they are self-evident,''

Wen's current visit to Europe has as a prime objective the obtaining of European Union (EU) approval of China's market economy status within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the dropping of the ban on arms trade.

The EU arms embargo was imposed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

France and Germany are pushing hard for the lifting of the embargo but hopefully it appears that the rest of the Union will not be swayed so quickly.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre and despite many positive changes since then in China's human rights condition, and a generational change in leadership, fundamentally the ideology that caused Tiananmen remains very much in place. To lift the arms embargo will be nothing less than a "sell out" to the principles that brought about it's implementation in the first place and to the memory of those that died and suffered as a result of the Tiananmen massacre.

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