Royal criticizes China on human rights record

7th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

BEIJING, Jan 7, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Segolene Royal urged Beijing to accept international human rights standards on the second day of a visit to discuss her country's fears over China's growing economic might.

BEIJING, Jan 7, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Segolene Royal urged Beijing to accept international human rights standards on the second day of a visit to discuss her country's fears over China's growing economic might.

Royal, the Socialist Party candidate who is seeking to become France's first-ever woman president, denounced China's practice of jailing lawyers and journalists involved in grass roots human rights activities as she toured Beijing's historic Forbidden City.

'The question of human rights should not be de-linked from other problems," Royal told journalists, adding that ties with China should not mean "losing our fundamental values."

"On the question of jailed journalists and lawyers ... these professionals who have participated in defending rights should be protected. This is part of

(China's) international commitments," Royal said.

She also expressed hopes that Beijing would finally ratify the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in the 1960s.

We have "hopes that (China) will make efforts to fully implement the international conventions," she said.

The three-day trip is Royal's second since winning her party's nomination to contest the French presidential elections.

It is one of a series of international visits aimed at boosting her credentials in foreign affairs, an area in which she is seen as relatively untested, ahead of the polls in April and May.

The 53-year-old mother of four is currently the frontrunner to succeed conservative President Jacques Chirac, according to polls.

Her nearest rival, the centre-right Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, narrowly trails behind. He has already made several trips to China and was said to have been planning another.

Chirac made close ties with China a priority during his presidency, visiting four times during his 12 years in power.

Royal also appeared ready to discuss China's worsening environmental degradation, the result of more than 20 years of unchecked economic growth.

"It is necessary to link economic development, environmental protection and the development of social rights," Royal said.

"When there is serious environmental degradation, when water is polluted and millions of people have no access to clean water, this is an attack on human rights."

Royal is in China partly to help promote trade with France, but also has said she was invited by the Chinese government to address several French concerns.

These include fears that Chinese competition is undermining French jobs and goods, and worries over China's soaring greenhouse gas emissions.

She said previously she was seeking an audience with President Hu Jintao, but no meeting has been announced.

Earlier Sunday, Royal met with Wang Jiarui, the Communist Party's head of international relations, and discussed strengthening relations between China's ruling party and France's Socialist Party, Xinhua news agency said.

On Monday, she is expected to meet with Vice President and top Communist Party official Zeng Qinghong as well as Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and Zhou Shengxian, the head of China's environmental protection bureau.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article