Video: Joe Higgins questions Taoiseach over visit of Chinese Vice-President

Dr. Liu Xiaobo is in his third year of an 11 year sentence in China. His crime was to write a charter seeking democracy, freedom of speech and religion and an independent judiciary. Over Christmas, Chen Xi was sentenced to ten years in jail in south-west China for the crime of writing articles on the Internet seeking political reform and human rights. At the same time, Chen Wei was given nine years in jail for articles critical of the Communist Party of China.

Amnesty International asked the Taoiseach to raise the cases of these three prisoners of conscience and others with the Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, during his three day visit to Ireland. Did the Taoiseach raise these cases or any other cases? What response did he receive? When he was entertaining the Chinese Vice President, was he aware that as the second most senior leader in the Chinese Government, he is personally responsible for a regime that routinely brutally crushes all democratic rights of its people, stands over the disappearance and torture of thousands of citizens, presides over a brutal regime of super exploitation of workers, many of whom are employed in companies contracted by western multinationals, where no free trade unions are allowed, and crushes the self-determination rights of the people of Tibet?

There was a sharp intensification of repression last year in China. Was the Taoiseach aware that many people link that to the preparation for a leadership change? Many people also think that this is what brought the Vice President of China to the US, Ireland and Turkey, as a preparation for his elevation to the highest office in that country.

Did the Taoiseach not think it shameful and a cowardly abdication of his responsibility to stand against the crushing of human rights, when he made a speech yesterday to the China Trade and Investment Forum, in the presence of the Vice President of China, and with a total of 2,247 words, could not find a single word to demand publicly an end to this brutal repression and the crushing of the rights of the Chinese people to democracy and freedom?

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