April 3, 2023: French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are scheduled to visit Beijing from April 4-8, 2023. Human Rights Watch and others have urged the two leaders to make human rights a priority during the visit.
“President Macron and von der Leyen should not sweep the Chinese government’s deepening authoritarianism under the rug during their visit to Beijing,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director at Human Rights Watch. “They should use their public appearances with Xi Jinping to express strong concerns over widespread rights abuses across China, heightened oppression in Hong Kong and Tibet, and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”
“Recent developments suggest that human rights are again at risk of becoming less of a priority, similar to the situation prior to 2019, when many European leaders and governments preferred what they claimed was “quiet diplomacy” in response to China’s growing human rights abuses. This approach generated little pressure on Beijing to reverse the downward spiral of human rights during Xi’s tenure,” said Human Rights Watch.