CW: Letter from Mr. McMillan-Scott to the President of the European Parliament:


Dr Hans-Gert Poettering,
President, European Parliament

4 October 2007

Dear President, Dear Hans-Gert


Further to our discussion on religious freedoms in China on 19 September in your Brussels office, I regret to inform you of subsequent developments affecting those with whom I had contact during my visit to Beijing in May 2006. As you know, all were arrested after my visit, harassed by the authorities and in two cases I have recent information that they are being tortured.

Since my meeting with you, the renowned Christian human rights lawyer, Mr Gao Zhisheng, was forcibly removed from his home on 22 September where he had been under house arrest since January, after his conviction last year for 'subversion'. His current whereabouts are unknown and there are fears for his safety (see Amnesty International Alert at Annex I).

On 26 September, I had a meeting in Strasbourg with a delegation from the National People's Congress of China (NPC) at which I handed over the letter that I sent to your office on 25 September stating my concerns over the inhumane treatment of the three individuals with whom I had contact in Beijing - Mr Cao Dong, Ms Zhang Lianying (both Falun Gong practitioners) and Mr Gao Zhisheng, who had advised her. I invited the delegation to seek their immediate freedom and in any event to advise you about their wellbeing, before the EU/China Human Rights Dialogue begins in Beijing on October 15.

I then received an email which informed me that on 29 September the lawyer of Mr Cao Dong, Mr Li Heping (also a Christian) had been seized by security forces and taken to woods where he was beaten up (see Amnesty International alert at Annex II). I can only assume that the treatment of Mr Li Heping is the result of my meeting with the NPC delegation in Strasbourg (see notes of the meeting at Annex III).

I am holding a Press conference on Wednesday 10 October at which religious freedoms in China will be the focus. I intend to release recent correspondence about individual cases, including this letter and annexes.

In addition, I have contacted the Secretariat of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the above cases and some 3,000 religious prisoners who have died since 1999 under torture in China. The ICC has suggested that an official from the European Parliament's Human Rights Unit should be seconded to prepare a dossier for submission under the Genocide Convention.

I am sure you will agree that the repression of religious freedoms in China, whether of Buddhists, Christians, or Muslims, or in countries such as Burma or Sudan which fall under China's sphere of influence, cannot continue, and I look forward to further contacts with your office on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Edward McMillan-Scott]

cc. Mr Jose Manuel Barroso - President of the European Commission

Ms Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations

Mr Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

(Annex I and II , see original file (PDF, 183K))