Cablegate: Beijing Human Rights Watchers Discuss Eu Hr

DE RUEHBJ #2825/01 3001110
O 271110Z OCT 06





E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2031


Classified By: Classified by Political Internal Unit Chief Susan
Thornton. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: The 22nd round of the China-EU human
rights dialogue took place October 19 in Beijing, with
special emphasis on freedom of expression, criminal
justice reform and combating racism. Chinese
officials denied that censorship exists, challenged
the basis for some of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
Nowak´s conclusions, said China probably will not
ratify the ICCPR without making an exception to allow
Reeducation-Through-Labor, and ascribed the September
30 shooting of Tibetans to "normal border guard
behavior." The Canadian, Swedish, Australian, Swiss,
German, Norwegian and New Zealand Embassies have
raised, or plan to raise, the Tibet incident with
Chinese officials. Politburo member Jia Qinglin told
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that religion
can play an important role in China´s efforts to build
a "harmonious society." Jia also stated that the
China-UK human rights dialogue will not be cut back to
one round per year. End Summary.
EU Human Rights Dialogue


2. (C) The 22nd round of the China-EU human rights
dialogue on October 19 was largely "business as
usual," reported Finnish Embassy [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN]. Ambassador Tom Gronberg of Finland, which
currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, led the EU
delegation in meetings covering a range of issues
including freedom of expression, criminal justice
reform and combating racism.

3. (C) On freedom of expression, Ambassador Gronberg
noted that that the Chinese block some Internet search
terms. MFA International Organizations Director
General Wu Hailong launched into a lengthy background
statement on the explosion in Chinese Internet use
since 1990. Wu denied that there is "any censorship
whatsoever" of news items in China. Censorship is
"practically impossible," Wu said, given the large
number of search queries. A moment later, Wu
explained that the Chinese government has banned
"Taiwan" as a search term because Internet users
otherwise might use it to advance "illegal separatist
activities." [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN], also
acknowledged Chinese Internet censorship, but only in
private conversation on the margins of the dialogue.

4. (C) The atmosphere was equally tense during
discussions of criminal justice reform, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said.
DG Wu read through a long list of reforms and planned
reforms, all of which were previously known. When
Ambassador Gronberg asked about reported abuses in
specific cases involving Chen Guangcheng, Gao
Zhisheng, and Hu Jia, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said DG Wu and DDG Shen
"acted as if mentioning these names was hitting under
the belt." DG Wu said individuals were being punished
for violating the law, not for expressing their
opinions. He further said that there is unprecedented
freedom of speech in China.

5. (C) Wu said police are receiving new training in
compliance with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
Manfred Nowak´s recommendations. On the other hand,
[TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said DDG Shen challenged the factual basis for
some of Nowak´s recommendations. Shen said errors in
translation caused Nowak to mistakenly conclude that
prisoners are subject to torture, when in fact this is
not the case. Shen said Nowak had been "misled" by
prisoners and other people he interviewed.

6. (C) A public security official present at the
meetings said Nowak mistakenly used the term
"arbitrary detention" in describing Chinese practice.
She said Nowak should have acknowledged that
detentions in China are "according to law," though she
did not address the question of whether Chinese law is
arbitrary. The public security official also said
"Reeducation-Through-Labor" is necessary in China, and
is "very likely to stay." DG Wu said an inter-
department group continues to work on ICCPR
ratification, with some departments holding the view
that the ICCPR cannot be ratified because it "totally
contravenes Chinese law." The public security
official, though not going so far as to say that the
ICCPR cannot be ratified, said she is certain the
ratified version will include an exception allowing
various forms of administrative detention including
RTL because they have a "long and important tradition"
in China.

7. (C) Tension relaxed to a degree when the topic
turned to combating racism, an item placed on the
dialogue agenda by the Chinese. According to [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN],
DG Wu and DDG Shen raised numerous examples of
reported racism in Europe. The EU side did not deny
the cases or belittle the Chinese side´s comments
about them which, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said, set a "good example" for
the Chinese and also improved the atmosphere at the
meeting. [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said the Chinese "seemed to realize
the EU really tried to answer" their stated concerns
about racism.

8. (C) Concerning claims of organ harvesting, DG Wu
said that assertions of mass organ harvesting of Falun
Gong practitioners are "outrageous" and that "many
Americans are furious about these lies." He said the
Chinese Government is likely to take up organ donation
as a topic for further legislative or regulatory
action. (Note: British Emboff [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] separately
told poloff that Maurice Slapak, a British transplant
surgeon, is working with Chinese officials to revise
China´s organ transplant regulations. The new
provisions, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said, will (a) require disclosure of
agreements by prisoners to donate organs; (b) prohibit
the use of organs originating in China in surgeries
performed outside the country; (c) encourage organ
donation by Chinese citizens; (d) set standards for
determining whether a person is brain dead; and (e)
specify procedures for deciding what doctors and
hospitals can perform transplant surgeries. End

9. (C) Ambassador Gronberg raised the September 30
shooting of Tibetans at the Nangpa Pass, asking the
Chinese for clarification and to investigate the
incident thoroughly. DG Wu agreed to investigate and
report back to the EU on thi incident as information
becomes available. However, he cavalierly ascribed
the incident to "normal border guard behavior" and
told EU human rights interlocutors he thought their
"border guards would have acted the same way." EU
human rights officials passed a list of 76 prisoner
cases to the Chinese several days before the dialogue.
The EU received substantive responses in 11 cases and
the Chinese have promised additional responses in
other cases.

10. (C) EU Delegation Representative [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN]
said that Chinese participants in the October 19
dialogue generally seemed more confident than in
previous China-EU dialogue rounds, and even arrogant
at times. As evidence of this, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said DG Wu
simply did not pay attention to EU interlocutors
during some of the discussions. DDG Shen, [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said,
even laughed at some comments made by EU participants.
Shen complained about the Bern Process, saying that it
"offends China´s dignity." He told the EU that it
should withdraw from the Bern Process and that
pressure on the Chinese through this channel will be
Action Following Tibet Border Incident

--------------------------------------------- -------

11. (C) Several Embassies reported that they have
raised concerns about the September 30 shooting
incident near Nangpa Pass. Canadian Embassy [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN]
said the Canadian Government
raised the Tibet incident with the Chinese Embassy in
Ottawa, but has been stymied by MFA refusals to meet
with Canadian Embassy officials in Beijing. Swedish
Emboff [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] reported that the Swedish
government raised the Tibet incident with FM Li
Zhaoxing on October 12. On October 16, a Swedish
delegation in Tibet raised the issue with local
officials, who claimed not to have heard of the
incident. Australian Emboff [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said the
Australian Embassy delivered a demarche on the Tibet
incident last week to the MFA.

12. (C) Other Embassies reported plans to raise the
Tibet incident with Chinese officials. Swiss Foreign
Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey will discuss the incident
in October 27 meetings with FM Li. A German
delegation will raise the incident with MFA
International Organizations officials during the next
round of the China-German human rights dialogue on
October 30 and 31. Norway and New Zealand, whose
representatives were not present at the October 26
human rights watchers meeting, reportedly have either
raised the Tibet incident with Chinese officials or
plan to do so soon.
Jia Qinglin Discusses Religion With Archbishop

--------------------------------------------- -

13. (C) British Emboff [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] reported on
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams´ recent visit
to China, which is the third visit by a head of the
Anglican Church to China. In an October 19 meeting,
CPPCC Chairman and Politburo member Jia Qinglin told
Williams that the formal "Decision" of the Central
Committee´s recent Sixth Plenum contains the first
ever high-level Party pronouncement commenting
positively on the role of religion in China. The
"Decision" on China's future economic and social
development passed this month states: "we should
strengthen the unity among the religious masses, those
without religious belief, and those believing in
different religions and bring the positive role of
religion into play in promoting social harmony." Jia
told Williams that religion can play an important role
in China´s efforts to build a "harmonious society,"
though he also affirmed that this role must be
"according to law." In a separate meeting with
Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Quan, Kong told
Williams that the Dalai Lama´s "hidden agenda" is
Tibetan independence.
China Says It Will Not Cut Back On China-UK Dialogue

--------------------------------------------- -------

14. (C) Post earlier reported (reftel) that Chinese
officials told the British Embassy it will cut back
the frequency of its formal human rights dialogue with
the United Kingdom to one round per year. British
Emboff [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] said CPPCC Chair Jia told British Lord
Chancellor Lord Falconer on October 25 that the number
of rounds will remain at two per year. [TEXT REMOVED BY AFTENPOSTEN] believes
Jia´s statement reflects recognition among senior
Chinese officials of the "political value" of
dialogue, which trumps lower-level MFA officials´
"working level" preference for fewer rounds.


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