US, EU call on China to release political prisoners

| Updated: Dec 10, 2016 18:41 IST

Hong Kong, Dec 10 (ANI): As the world observes Human Rights Day today, the United States and the European Union said that political prisoners in China should be freed. USA ambassador to China Max Baucus expressed his concern over the detention of Chinese lawyers in a statement. "China's treatment of these lawyers and advocates calls into question its commitment to the rule of law," The Guardian quoted him as saying. The EU also echoed many similar sentiments. "We urge China to immediately release any individual who has been detained . for seeking to exercise, protect or promote their own rights or the rights of others," the EU statement said. The statement added, "We are equally concerned about all human rights defenders and their family members who have been harassed and punished because of their work in promoting rights which are protected in China's Constitution and international law." Calls by the US and the EU were made to mark Human Rights Day, a United Nations holiday commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which China is also a signatory. They also called for Nobel Peace prize laureate and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, who has been in prison since 2008, to be freed. More than 120 authors, including Salman Rushdie, JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman took the opportunity of Human Rights Day to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping to his end his government's fierce crackdown on writers and dissidents. Xi, since coming to power on 2012, has presided over a wide-ranging crackdown on freedom of expression, rights lawyers, feminists, activists and religion. Police have detained about 250 lawyers and activists starting July last year in what some have called a "war on law". (ANI)