The European Union, like its Member States, cannot abstain from maintaining the necessary dialogue with China. In the 21st century one cannot ignore a quarter of the world’s population.
Contacts must be organised in a responsible way because the balance of international relations depends on them.
And yet we will not disown our convictions and no-one will be allowed to hide them under the bushel. We believe that Human Rights, respect for the human person and freedom of expression cannot be dissociated from human progress. In fact they are the very conditions of such progress.
In Beijing collective “social harmony” is the priority. We have known for a long time what happens with such theories, which collective projects to the detriment of the individual.
It was useful to speak with the Chinese in Beijing, just as it is always preferable to talk. Jean-Pierre Raffarin and José-Manuel Barroso did so, whilst skilfully avoiding conceding anything of substance. China is going to begin discussions with the Dalai Lama. First results are therefore encouraging. There will be others. We must bring our efforts to bear on obtaining them.