Conservative MEPs hail Sakharov award for Chinese dissident

Europe will not ignore Beijing repression

Sir Robert Atkins MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott MEP have hailed the award of the Sakharov prize for the freedom of thought to Chinese dissident Hu Jia as a sign that Europe will not ignore the repression of the communist dictatorship in Beijing regardless of the importance of the EU’s strategic economic and political relationship with China.

Sir Robert said the award of the prize to Hu Jia was a powerful demonstration of solidarity between the democratically elected representatives of European citizens and the people of China.

Mr McMillan-Scott, a longstanding democracy and human rights campaigner, nominated Hu Jia and the silenced voices of China and Tibet after his last visit to Beijing in May 2006 - after which all the Chinese reform activists he was in contact with, including Hu Jia and Christian human rights lawyer Mr Gao Zhisheng, were arrested, imprisoned, and in at least three cases tortured.

Sir Robert said:

“Beijing was lobbying heavily for Hu Jia to be passed over but the award of this richly deserved accolade to him shows that MEPs will not be silenced like so many Chinese dissidents have been.

“I long for the day when the European Parliament no longer has to consider Chinese candidates for this prize because it will be a sign of real progress.

“Until then the people of China, who yearn for the same freedoms and values that are sacrosanct to us in the West, should know that the European Parliament will not hesitate to highlight the authoritarian and repressive nature of the communist government.”

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