BBC Monitoring: Polish lawmakers block approval of China's human rights record


Text of report by Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza on 19 June

"Harassing China on human rights issues by such a small country as Poland will not produce any results. It can only be harmful," argued Deputy Jan Chaladaj of the Democratic Left Alliance [SLD].

The Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee discussed Polish-Chinese relations yesterday. Opposition deputies of Law and Justice [PiS] and the Civic Platform [PO] had wanted such a discussion to take place for half a year. They wanted to know how the government assesses the observation of human rights in China and Tibet. They also asked why Poland refused to support the UN resolution condemning China for mass executions and the persecution of Falun Gong members, Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, and the Tibetan nation.

"A written report (by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - ed.) states that the government approves of the fight with separatists and extreme Muslim terrorists [in Xinjiang]. It is generally known, however, that this fight is used to persecute minorities," stormed Deputy Marek Jurek (PiS).

Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Zalucki declared that economic relations are a priority in contacts with China. He did admit, however, that that the trade deficit keeps growing. In 1990 it stood at 37m dollars. Last year it reached 1.5bn dollars.

"There is a huge imbalance in our trade relations, but China is developing very dynamically and the deficit might diminish," said Deputy Minister Zalucki.

"I am surprised that the leftist government does not look after the interests of Polish producers. It does not care about the origins of goods a majority of which are manufactured in labour camps. One could hardly find a better example of exploitation," noted Michal Kaminski (PiS).

Deputy Minister Zalucki also spoke about "disparity" in mutual relations. President Aleksander Kwasniewski, [former] Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, [former] Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy, and [former] Senate Speaker Adam Struzik visited China, but their counterparts never returned the visits.

Deputy Jan Chaladaj (SLD, former deputy minister responsible for trade with China) argued that demands for the respect of human rights in China harms bilateral trade. "We have lost our contracts to the Czechs!" he stated.

"If so, then demands that human rights be respected produce results. President Havel is known for his support of the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet occupied by China," Wieslaw Walendziak (PiS) retorted.

Opposition deputies presented three drafts of an appeal calling on the government to demand that China respect human rights and to follow the fates of the 11th Panchen Lama who has been kidnapped by the Chinese authorities. A sub-committee has been established to work out a joint appeal.

Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw, in Polish 19 Jun 02 p 5/BBC Monitoring/

You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.