Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Chinese dissidents tell MEPs about repression and human rights abuses

19th October 2005

Charles Tannock MEP hosts meeting of defectors

BRUSSELS, 19 October 2005 -- A former senior diplomat and a secret police officer who defected from China this year have today been giving MEPs an inside view of China's hostility towards the pro-democracy movement, abuse of human rights and intelligence network.

The duo further lifted the lid on the state's intensifying clampdown on pro-democracy activists and groups, the government's use of economic "blackmail" to silence other countries' concerns about human rights, the suppression of freedom of speech and religion and the secret police network which monitors and persecutes dissidents.

Yonglin Chen is a former first secretary of the Chinese consulate in Australia. He defected to Australia earlier this year, as did Fengjun Hao, a former secret police officer in the infamous '610' office. He was responsible for persecuting people whose opinions were deemed as threatening to the state.

Both men were invited to the European Parliament by Dr Charles Tannock MEP and they spoke in detail about their experiences at the heart of Chinese diplomacy and intelligence.

Dr Tannock, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament and vice-chairman of the sub-committee on human rights, said:

"There appears to be increasing evidence that China's rising prosperity is posing more and more problems to the Communist Party of China as it tries to maintain an iron grip on political and religious freedom in the country.

"As ordinary Chinese citizens start to afford to travel abroad, have acccess to satellite TV, correspond by email and access the internet, they will increasingly realise that the one-party communist dictatorship is restricting their freedom of speech, assembly and religion. Naturally they want to enjoy the same freedoms that we take for granted in the West.

"China should also be aware that its traditional rival India, which is a functioning democracy, will, under its strategic partnership with the EU, enjoy closer commercial and political relations with the West because we share the same fundamental values.

"China will increasingly be isolated internationally as it cosies up to brutal dictatorships like North Korea, Burma, Iran, and Sudan. They and China have a mutual interest in staying silent about human rights abuses.

"Taiwan would only ever consider reunification with mainland China if it was on the basis of democracy, good governance and fundamental human rights in the reunited China.

"I believe that the Chinese people will eventually find the situation intolerable and there will be mounting pressure for change and polical reform."