President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 24th EU-China Summit in Beijing, on December 7, 2023. (Photo: EU)

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Brussels — The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 24th EU-China Summit on December 7, 2023, and expressed their deep concern about systemic human rights violations, forced labour and the treatment of human rights defenders in Tibet.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang at the 24th EU-China Summit in Beijing, China, on December 7, 2023. They expressed their deep concern about systemic human rights violations, forced labour and the treatment of human rights defenders in Tibet and East Turkestan.

During the summit, they discussed about Trade and economy, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, climate change and health, Human rights, and Asian region including Taiwan. EU expressed its concerns about the growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the East and South China Seas. "In the EU, we are opposed to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion," President Charles Michel said.

"At the summit, the EU nevertheless reiterated its deep concerns about the human rights situation in China, in particular about: systemic human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, forced labour, the treatment of human rights defenders and persons belonging to minorities," a statement of EU mentioned after the EU-China Summit.

President Charles Michel said during a press conference on December 7, 2023, "For the European Union, human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal. We will never turn a blind eye to human rights cases. Today we welcome China's resumption of the human rights dialogue, as we agreed during my visit. It’s a step in the right direction and today we continued this conversation at the highest level. We also highlighted cases of specific concern, such as the human rights violations in Xinjiang or Tibet, for instance."