Coalition parties disappointed by no human rights-criticism in government's China strategy

China national flags
China national flagsPhoto: Alan/DepositPhotos

Coalition parties CDA and D66 are flabbergasted by the fact that the government's China Strategy does not mention anything about the poor human rights situation in China. Opposition parties are also critical. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will debate the strategy, in which the government explained its policy towards China, with Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs on Monday, NOS reports.

CDA parliamentarian Martijn van Helvert does not understand the lack of a passage regarding human rights in China. "There must be an extensive chapter about it", he said, adding that if the government does not add such a chapter, he will write it himself. "The violations of human rights that Uyghurs and Christians, among others, have to deal with, are terrible. People are being held in prison camps, organs are taken for organ trafficking, believers cannot go to their church. And then the China strategy contains a small headline under which you read that 'Chinese people have different values than we do. That is of course unacceptable."

Van Helvert said he can see why the government did not include human rights issues in its strategy. "The economic interests are huge and it is not simple. But we must show in a European context, and also with the US, that we do not accept te human rights situation in China. We are the country with an international criminal court. We do not want to immediately send an UN army into China, but we must not close our eyes."

D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma called the strategy an empty shell. "It only contains analyzes, but is not even the beginning of an answer to the gross violations in China." The government also failed to explain how Dutch companies and citizens can be protected in trade with China, he said.

Opposition party GroenLinks wants the government to ban the export of surveillance software to China. Because such software can be used to further suppress the population, parliamentarian Bram van Oijk said to the broadcaster. "Human rights go before trade interests."

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