Yesterday China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded a five capital tour of Europe. At each step of his journey, IPAC members sent a clear message: there can be no ‘business as usual’ while human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang continue. Observers noted the success of IPAC members in disrupting China’s “European charm offensive”.
At the first stop of Wang Yi’s visit in Rome, IPAC members representing five parties joined with prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law in presenting a letter to Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio demanding China be held accountable for actions in Hong Kong. In response, Di Maio publicly re-affirmed Italy’s commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Later while attending bilateral meetings in the Netherlands, IPAC co-chair Martijn van Heldvert MP held a press conference with Omir Bekali, who gave a moving testimony of surviving Xinjiang’s Uyghur prison camps. Already international media were reporting on the disruption to the Chinese Communist Party’s hopes of a positive media opportunity achieved by IPAC members.
IPAC members were also present at Wang Yi’s visits to Norway and France. In Oslo, IPAC co-chair Trine Skei Grande MP spoke to Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide in advance of her meeting with Wang Yi, demanding human rights be top of the agenda. In Paris, IPAC co-chair Senator Gattolin was prominent in the French media, calling on President Macron to take a tough line on Beijing’s encroachment on freedoms in Hong Kong and excluding Huawei from 5G networks.
As the tour concluded in Germany, IPAC members Margarete Bause MdB, Michael Brand MdB and Gyde Jensen MdB signed a joint letter to German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The letter demanded Germany lead Europe’s response to China’s undermining of the international rules based order. This was followed by a joint demonstration in Berlin with Margarete Bause, Nathan Law and the World Uyghur Congress.
Amidst widespread press attention, German Foreign Minister Maas echoed IPAC’s calls for the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Security Law and access for an international investigation into Xinjiang’s prison camps.