Q : Today is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. What is France’s message, in light of the latest events in Hong Kong? What do you think of the general human rights situation in China, given what is happening in Hong Kong and in Xinjiang with the Uighurs?
A : Thirty-two years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, we honor the victims and mark their peaceful protest in the name of democracy and defending human rights. France had denounced this “bloody crackdown” in the strongest possible terms and condemned “a regime that, in order to survive, was reduced to firing on the young people it had shaped and who were rising up against it in the name of freedom.” The EU then responded by adopting sanctions against China, some of which are still in force, specifically the embargo on arms sales.
The terrible events that had plunged Beijing and many other Chinese locations into mourning must not be forgotten nor repeated. The arrest of the activist Chow Hang Tung in Hong Kong, which we condemn, only strengthens the need to continue carrying forward the memory of that democratic aspiration, in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
As for the situation with the Uighurs, in February, before the UN Human Rights Council, the Minister issued our strong condemnation of “unjustifiable practices” that testify to “a system of large-scale surveillance and institutionalized repression.” It was precisely the seriousness of the situation in Xinjiang that the led the EU, for the first time since the Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, to take a legitimate and necessary decision this year, adopting restrictive measures in response to the human rights violations reported in Xinjiang.