Greens chief asks France to seek release of 7 China prisoners

18th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

EU Greens leader submits names of seven political prisoners in China to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

18 July 2008

BRUSSELS - EU Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit has named seven political prisoners in China whom French President Nicolas Sarkozy should seek to have released in August, the grouping said Thursday.

"At the request of Nicolas Sarkozy, Daniel Cohn-Bendit has prepared a list of political prisoners," the Greens bloc in the European Parliament said in a statement.

Sarkozy asked the Greens leader to draw up the list after the latter heavily criticised him on 10 July in the assembly for his decision to take part in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

France holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of the year.

"I am sending you as an annex a list of seven political prisoners in custody at the moment whom the European Parliament has demanded be released, in a number of successive resolutions," Cohn-Bendit said in a letter to Sarkozy.

"They symbolise different sectors of Chinese civil society which are defending rights and freedoms in China," he wrote.

The seven include Hu Jia, 34, who was sentenced in April to three and a half years in jail for attempted subversion after publishing critical articles on the Internet and giving interviews to foreign media.

The others are Huang Qi, known for his human rights website, rights lawyers Chen Guangcheng and Yang Maodong, Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek, Falungong member Bu Dongwei and activist Yang Chunlin.

Sarkozy appeared to have been moved by the emotion with which Cohn-Bendit criticised him in the speech in Strasbourg, and later sought the joint Greens leader out to help.

"It is shameful, it's petty to go to the opening of the Olympic Games,"

Cohn-Bendit said, adding that the president had missed a "golden opportunity" to say: "I will not take part in the Chinese Communist Party's masquerade."

"When you write your autobiography, you'll regret what you've done," he added.

[AFP / Expatica]

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