Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU must demonstrate its commitment to Human Rights in China

15th March 2005

Charles Tannock MEP, Vice-President of the Human Rights Sub Committee of the European Parliament, believes it is essential that the contract between 'New Tang Dynasty Television' (NTDTV) and 'Eutelsat' is renewed. It must happen without any Chinese political interference and with strong resistance by the EU to commercial threats by the People’s Republic of China. He believes that it is essential to demonstrate that the EU and its large media corporations, although understandably eager to trade with China, will not compromise on their commitment to fundamental human rights.

Charles Tannock commented:

"A number of countries, particularly France and Germany for trade reasons, are eager to play down the human rights situation and media freedom in China and even go as far as demanding the lifting of the 15 year old EU arms export embargo imposed after Tianamen Square and which threatens peaceful Taiwan with superior European weaponry.

"We know that China is sensitive to outside western pressure and that the message of stations like NTDTV gets through to opinion formers. This is shown by the Chinese government offering to change the "re-education through labour" laws - these allow police the power to lock-up protesters against the one child policy and Christian minorities for up to 4 years without judicial review - as a sweetener if we lift the arms embargo and to prove to the EU that there has been an improvement in human rights.

"In my view Eutelsat must allow NTDTV to carry on broadcasting otherwise it would send all the wrong signals to Beijing that we in the EU do not care how China treats its own people."