By Tenzin Dharpo
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DHARAMSHALA, Sep. 5: The 2018 annual report of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance (FoRB & RT) has ranked China among the lowest in the world.
The intergroup body formed of like-minded members of European Parliament (MEP) dedicated to promote and protect religious freedom around the world released the latest annual report on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium.
The report stated, “Numerous reports have highlighted the increase in surveillance and police presence in this province, as well as new policies aimed to ensure that policies used to oppress minorities are reversed and that international human rights is respected.”
The report highlighted the lack of religious freedom and crackdown on religious beliefs as well as “deteriorating situation” in regions inhabited by China’s so called ethnic minorities including Occupied-Tibet and Xinjiang.
The intergroup formed in 2015 recommended that the EU should ensure that a chapter on human rights include a meaningful dialogue between the EU and China on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as per international human rights norms.
The group further urged that the growing trade relations between China and EU should pave way for fostering dialogue and initiatives that promote religious freedom and respect for various religious traditions in China. Suggestive initiatives such as “people-to-people exchanges” between students and press were recommended to further relations.
The trade relations between China and European Union has grown significantly over the last few years. EU is China’s largest importer in 2017 with 374 billion euros and China is the EU’s second largest partner with 198 billion euros. Human rights experts say that China’s economic lure has often prompted third nations to sidestep meaningful dialogue over human rights situation in Occupied Tibet and other occupied regions under China.