EU assembly urges China stop religious persecution
Reuters[Friday, September 09, 2005 21:55]
STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament urged China on Thursday to stop persecuting Christian clergy and lay people, spotlighting Beijing's poor human rights record despite their closer economic ties.

The European Union and China reached a textile trade deal to control the Asian giant's surging exports at a summit this week. Beijing said it would buy European Airbus planes while the EU said it would give Beijing technology to curb global warming.

But China's key demand, an end to the 1989 EU arms export ban imposed after China's crackdown on Tiananmen Square democracy demonstrators, was rejected over human rights concerns. The Communist state restricts religious freedom.

"(The European Parliament is) deeply concerned at the increase in arbitrary arrests, torture, unexplained disappearances, penal servitude, isolation and re-education camps endured by Christian clergy and lay people," it said.

The resolution, voted by 78 votes to five with one abstention, asked Beijing to supply information about missing and jailed Catholic clergy, listing the names.

"Recently ... due to international pressure, the Chinese government has put into effect new regulations in religious affairs but it is already abundantly evident that these changes do not go far enough," Cypriot Liberal deputy Marios Matsakis said.

The parliament also called on China to end its persecution of Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.

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