By Tenzin Monlam
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault with President Xi Jinping during his 2013 visit in Beijing, China. Photo-Reuters
DHARAMSHALA, April 13: The French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s visit to China presents an opportunity to publicly raise the issue of crackdown on human rights in China, says the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) as the minister makes his two-day visit to China starting today.
Bénédicte Jeannerod, France Director of HRW said, “It’s an opportunity to publicly express his concern about the serious attack on human rights in China, and make it clear that France stands in solidarity with China’s courageous activists, whose space is constantly being narrowed by government repression.”
The leading rights group has been vocal on the declining situation of human rights in China ever since President Xi Jinping took power. In its annual report HRW noted that the outlook for human rights, freedom of expression and religion in China remains in ‘dire’ situation and that Tibet has ‘routinely faced denial of basic freedom of speech, assembly and movement’.
“Ayrault should publicly call on the Chinese authorities to stop curtailing free expression rights of activists, release all political prisoners, and end the use of the death penalty,” the said Jeannerod while recalling his recent speech regarding the importance of human rights in French diplomacy.
According to the report published by the global rights watchdog, Amnesty International earlier this week said China has executed more people than the rest of the world combined. It also called China the world’s biggest executioner.
The 67-year-old French Foreign Minister, on his last official visit to China, will meet his counterpart Wang Yi, State Counselor for International Relations Yang Jiechi, and Vice Premier Liu Yandong.