Call on the European Parliament

not to ratify the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with the People’s Republic of China without including human rights commitments 

Prague, Czech Republic 
January 22, 2021 

On January 6, 2021, mass arrest of opposition figures took place in Hong Kong on the basis of the National Security Law. At least 53 former lawmakers and activists were arrested for the crime of "subverting state power" in connection with organizing or participating in an informal primary election held in July 2020. We, the undersigned, demand the end of harassment of opposition figures. We consider it unacceptable for the European Union to further deepen its cooperation with the People’s Republic of China in the framework of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) while it continues in its blatant attacks on human rights. 

The People’s Republic of China’s ongoing efforts to destroy a free society in Hong Kong are just one of the cases of human rights abuses in the country and its efforts to expand its influence. Repressive campaigns against ethnic and religious groups are taking place, including cultural genocide in Xinjiang, where Uyghur, Kazakh and other nationalities are facing forced re-education. Taiwan is under constant pressure from military threats and reckless behavior by PRC in the Taiwan Strait and persecutions of anyone critical of the Communist Party or its leaders continue. 

Nevertheless, the European Union has just, after almost seven years of negotiations, concluded a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China. The Agreement should facilitate mutual access to markets, a set of fair rules and the provision of legal protection for European companies operating in Chinese markets. However, the contract does not contain any obligations in the area of human rights and forced labor. The European Union has stated that “China commits to working towards the ratification of the outstanding International Labor Organization fundamental Conventions,” but the CAI does not include any deadline for its ratification. 

By ratifying this Agreement with an authoritarian country in its current form, the EU would undermine not only its own values, but it would also contradict its stated interest in renewing close cooperation with the United States. Despite recent events in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and elsewhere, the Agreement would increase the PRC regime’s credibility at the international level. The fact that the EU is not coordinating this Agreement with Washington is a strategic mistake at a time when the incoming US administration declares its aim of bringing together an international partnership of liberal democracies to address common challenges, including the relationship with the PRC.  

We, the undersigned, consider it necessary to develop a coherent joint transatlantic agenda on the PRC with a clear focus on human rights, respect for the rule-based international order, free market principles, and security. A coordinated transatlantic stance would serve as a catalyst for a broader multilateral coalition of liberal democracies around the world upholding the rule of law and protection of human rights. We therefore call on the European Parliament not to ratify the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with the People’s Republic of China until the concerns above are adequately addressed. 

Signatories as of January 22:

Alina Aflecailor, Activist, Human Rights Educator, Romania
Leszek Balcerowicz, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Poland
Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders, Germany
Martin Bútora, Honorary President, Institute for Public Affairs, Slovakia
Jean-Claude Casanova, Director, Commentaire, France
Brigitte Dufour, Director, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), Belgium
Rafal Dutkiewicz, Former Mayor of Wrocław, Poland
João Carlos Espada, Director, Institute for Political Studies, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal
Ralf Fuecks, Director, Center for Liberal Modernity, Germany
Ana Gomes, Presidential Candidate, former MEP, Portugal
Tomáš Halík, President, Czech Christian Academy, Czechia
Agnieszka Holland, Director and Screenwriter, Poland/France
Leszek Jazdzewski, Editor-in-chief, LIBERTÉ!, Poland
Jakub Klepal, Executive Director, Forum 2000 Foundation, Czechia
Ondřej Klimeš, Researcher, Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, Czechia
Bernard Kouchner, Founder, Médecins Sans Frontières, France
Péter Krekó, Director, Political Capital Institute, Hungary
Bálint Magyar, Senior Researcher, CEU Democracy Institute, Hungary
Markus Meckel, Markus Meckel, former Foreign Minister, former Member of German Bundestag, Germany
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Democracy Chair, Hertie School of Governance, Germany
Šimon Pánek, Co-Founder and Director, People in Need, Czechia
Iveta Radičová, Former Prime Minister, Slovakia
Jacques Rupnik, Research Professor, Sciences Po, France
Sławomir Sierakowski, Director, Krytyka Polityczna, Poland
Jan Surotchak, Senior Director, Transatlantic Strategy, International Republican Institute, USA/Slovakia
Barbara von Ow-Freytag, Germany
Michael Žantovský, Executive Director, Václav Havel Library, Czechia
Michael Abramowitz, President, Freedom House, USA
Tamara Adrian, Member, National Assembly of Venezuela, Venezuela
Sohrab Ahmari, Op-ed Editor, New York Post, USA
Maryam Al-Khawaja, Vice-Chair, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, Denmark/Bahrain
Hajar Alkuhtany, Executive Director, IFID, United Kingdom
Leila Alieva, President, Center for National and International Studies, Azerbaijan
William Antholis, Director and CEO, Miller Center, University of Virginia, USA
Thierno Balde, Chairman, Research Institute on Democracy and Rule of Law, Guinea
Gerardo Bongiovanni, President, Fundación Libertad, Argentina
Ladan Boroumand, Co-founder, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights, Iran
J.Michael Cole, Senior Fellow, Macdonald- Laurier Institute, Taiwan/Canada
Irwin Cotler, Chair, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Canada
Ronald Deibert, Director, Citizen Lab, Canada
Neelam Deo, Indian Foreign Service (retd Ambassador), India
Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, USA
Eileen Donahoe, Executive Director, Global Digital Policy Incubator, USA
Andrej Dynko, Editor-in-chief, Nasha Niva, Belarus
Norman Eisen, Diplomat, USA
Nino Evgenidze, Executive Director, Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Georgia
Carlos Fara, President, Carlos Fara & Asociados, Argentina
Ahmad Farouk Musa, Founder & Director, Islamic Renaissance Front, Malaysia
Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow, Stanford University, USA
William Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair, The Brookings Institution, USA
Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy, USA
Leonid Gozman, President, Union of Right Forces, Russia
E. Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, Afrobarometer, Ghana
Sascha Hannig, Researcher, FPP Chile, Chile
Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Pakistan
Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Nigeria
Ketevan Chachava, Executive Director, Center for Development and Democracy, Georgia
Glanis Changachirere, Director, Institute for Young Women Development, Zimbabwe
Ketty W. Chen, Vice President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taiwan
Maiko Ichihara, Associate Professor, Hitotsubashi University, Japan
Ramin Jahanbegloo, Professor and Vice- Dean, Jindal Global University, India
Garry Kasparov, Chairman, Human Rights Foundation, USA/Russia
Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairperson, Civic IDEA, Georgia
Marcus Kissa, Coordinator, Sassoufit, Republic of the Congo/France
Bassma Kodmani, Co-founder, Arab Reform Initiative, Syria
David J. Kramer, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights And Labor, USA
Enrique Krauze, Writer, Director, Clío TV, Mexico
Arthur Larok, Country Director, ActionAid, Uganda
Amichai Magen, Director, Program on Democratic Resilience, IDC Herzliya, Israel
Anar Mammadli, Chairman, Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, Azerbaijan
Myroslav Marynovych, Vice-Rector, Ukrainian Catholic University, Ukraine
Penda Mbow, President, Mouvement Citoyen, Senegal
Thomas O. Melia, Washington Director, PEN America, USA
Dan Meridor, Former Minister of Finance and Justice, Israel
Carlos Alberto Montaner, Dissident, Cuba
Giorgi Muchaidze, Executive Director, Atlantic Council of Georgia, Georgia
Surendra Munshi, Member, Programme Council, Forum 2000, India
Joshua Muravchik, Author, Adjunct Professor, Institute of World Politics, USA
Andrea Ngombet, Incarner l’Espoir, France/Republic of the Congow
Ghia Nodia, Founding Director, Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development, Georgia
Ayo Obe, Legal Practitioner, Nigeria
Martin Palouš, Senior Fellow, Florida International University, USA
Baia Pataraia, Executive Director, Sapari, Georgia
Andrei Piontkovski, Scientist, Political Writer and Analyst, Russia/USA
Marc Plattner, Coeditor Emeritus, Journal of Democracy, USA
Arch Puddington, Senior Scholar Emeritus, Freedom House, USA
Xiao Qiang, Founder and Chief Editor, China Digital Times, China
Mykola Riabchuk, Honorary President, Ukrainian PEN Center, Ukraine
Gabriel Salvia, General Director, CADAL, Argentina
Andrei Sannikov, Chairman, European Belarus Foundation, Belarus
Gulnara Shahinian, Founder, Democracy Today, Armenia
John Shattuck, Former President and Rector, CEU, USA
Lilia Shevtsova, Board Member, Liberal Mission Foundation, Russia
Glenn Tiffert, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, USA
Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis, National Endowment for Democracy, USA
Dan Wang, Founder, Dialogue China, USA
Kenneth Wollack, Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy, USA
Jianli Yang, President & Founder, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, China
Leyla Yunus, Director, Institute for Peace and Democracy, Azerbaijan
Yevgeniy Zakharov, Director, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine
Nino Zambakhidze, Chairwoman, Georgian Farmers’ Association, Georgia
​Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Kazakhstan