Raising the issue of human rights in China with Chinese President Hu Jintao during his official visit to Slovakia would have been “the empty gesture of a politician who doesn’t have a vision”, the director of the foreign policy department of the President’s Office, Jan Foltin, wrote in a letter to the director of the Conservative Institute Ondrej Dostal, as reported by the SITA newswire.
A group of NGOs including the Conservative Institute, the People in Peril civic association, Amnesty International Slovensko and the Slovak Falun Gong Association sent an open letter to Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič, Prime Minister Robert Fico and the speaker of the Slovak parliament, Pavol Paška, calling on them to open the issue of the human rights problems in China during Hu Jintao’s official visit to Slovakia. None of them did so.
The President’s Office on July 2 became the only one so far to reply to the letter. According to Foltin, the author of the reply, the attitude of Slovakia’s highest officials to China is no different from the officials of other relevant countries of the world.
“A different approach would only be empty politicking suitable for small groups without any responsibility and any real influence on international relations,” Foltin wrote in the letter to Dostal, as quoted by SITA. He added that Gašparovič during his official dinner with the Chinese president also said: “We are convinced that China’s progress and the increase in the standards of living of its citizens as well as the cultural and social rise and democratisation of life will continue also in the following decades and that the country will confirm that it belongs among the world’s leaders.”
According to SITA, Foltin underlined the words “democratisation of life” in the letter.
Representatives of the NGOs who sent the open letter in June believe that pointing to the human rights issues in official talks with Chinese high representatives is not an empty gesture, “but rather a moral obligation of democratically elected politicians from free countries”, SITA wrote.
13. Jul 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff