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Belgium Senate resolution about the arrest of Chinese human rights activist Gao Zhisheng

In response to the arrest of well-known Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, the Belgian Senate filed a proposal for a resolution last week. The resolution endorses the recent resolution of the European Parliament and reports from human rights organisations. The resolution was passed on Tuesday October 24th by the Belgian Foreign Affairs Committee and on Thursday October 26th at the plenary session.

The [Belgian] Senate,

  • Considering that the Chinese human rights activist Gao Zhisheng has been arrested since August 2006;
  • Considering that only since the beginning of October 2006 was his lawyer informed about the official complaint, being ‘inciting subversion of state power';
  • Considering that Gao Zhisheng has acted as a human rights activist for many years for people whose rights have been violated, especially for Falun Gong practitioners and other Chinese citizens who became victim of unlawful land seizures;
  • Considering that Gao Zhisheng strongly condemned every form of police violence against human rights activists;
  • Considering that his family and sympathisers have been intimidated daily by the authorities since his arrest;
  • Referring to the resolution of the European Parliament on EU - China relations adopted on September 7th, 2006;
  • Referring to the press release of European Parliament member McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament, on October 13th, 2006, in which he links this arrest to the campaign of the Chinese authorities against human rights activists in the run up to the Olympic games of 2008 in Beijing;
  • Considering that in March 2004, China added a clause to its constitution according to which the state should respect and guarantee human rights;
  • Considering that China has signed the International Treaty on Civil and Political rights but not yet ratified it;
  • Referring to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs which agree that the human rights violations in China are getting worse; considering this is in sharp contrast to the promise that the Chinese government made at the time of application as host country for the Olympic Games to improve the human rights situation:
  • Referring to several parliamentary initiatives by members of the Senate in the last few months relating to human rights in China and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in particular;

Requests the federal government

  1. to express its concern about the fate of Gao Zhisheng, who is renowned as a prominent defender of human rights in China;
  2. to request the Chinese authorities to organise a fair and transparent trial with respect for the procedures and the rights of defence as soon as possible;
  3. to also transfer this request to the European council in order to take a common standpoint;
  4. to keep the Senate informed about any steps taken considering this issue;
  5. to hand over this resolution to the Chinese authorities as well as to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, the High Commissariat for Human Rights and the European Parliament.
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