Parliamentary question by Olivier Dupuis (TDI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

Parliamentary questions
by Olivier Dupuis (TDI) to the Commission
(8 August 2001)

Subject: China

Mr Huang Qi, a Chinese citizen and creator of the website' has been held in detention without trial since 3 June 2000 for disseminating "subversive information" on the Internet. Mr Huang Qi has been accused of publishing information on the Tiananmen massacre in June 1989 on his website, as well as articles by Chinese dissidents.

Mr Huang Qi's trial, which began in February 2001 and had already been postponed indefinitely on one occasion owing to his precarious state of health (his wife and his lawyer have claimed that he has been beaten during his detention), was to have taken place on 27 June 2001. However, the official in charge of the Chengdu court (Sichuan province) announced that the trial had again been postponed indefinitely owing to celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Chinese Communist Party.

Does the Commission have any information on Mr Huang Qi's state of health? Does it know what new date has been set for the trial? Will it send a member of the Beijing delegation to the trial? Does the Commission have any information on other Chinese citizens imprisoned for similar reasons? More generally, will the Commission point out to the Beijing authorities that the proceedings against Mr Huang Qi violate the spirit and the letter of international conventions signed by the People's Republic of China?

Answer given by Mr Patten
on behalf of the Commission
(1 October 2001)

The Commission is committed to strengthening respect for human rights everywhere in the world. They represent a central issue in the Union's relations with third countries. The Commission is following the human rights situation in China very closely.

A bilateral dialogue on human rights was established between the Union and China in 1996 and in this framework, freedom of expression and detention conditions are important issues which are raised firmly and regularly.

The case of Mr Huang Qi has been the subject of considerable international concern. His trial appears to have been held mid-August 2001 in secret. No verdict has been announced. The Union has raised the case with Chinese authorities in the last Union/China Human Rights dialogue on 22-23 February 2001. The Commission does not have information about his current state of health or confirmation of dates for his trial. The Commission has so far not been in a position to send representatives from the Commission Delegation in Beijing to attend trials of individuals.

The Honourable Member can be assured that the Commission will follow developments concerning the situation of Mr Huang Qi and that it will continue to raise the issue of freedom of expression in its dealings with China.