Insults have no place in Franco-Chinese relations, says Minister

China – Reply by M. Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate

Paris, 24 March 2021


Regarding the Chinese Ambassador, like you and all our fellow citizens, I was deeply shocked by his recent remarks and conduct.

Let me remind you of the facts: French parliamentarians are free to decide their planned visits and their contacts.

The Ambassador’s unacceptable remarks meant that Mr Lu Shaye was summoned yesterday morning, as you said, to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. He was urged to understand just how serious the situation is. The public war of words, the attempts to intimidate and the insults and abuse directed against the Republic’s elected representatives, academic institutions, researchers, media and, more widely, civil society – none of this can be tolerated in our Republic, and it has absolutely no place in relations between France and China.

Regarding the measures announced by China which you referred to, particularly against MEPs or national members of Parliament – like the MEP Raphaël Glucksmann –, researchers and diplomats, in response to the European sanctions, we’ve firmly and strongly condemned them.

Let me take this opportunity to emphasize, as you’ve done, that it’s the first time for 30 years that the European Union has adopted sanctions against China. It’s a historic, legitimate and necessary decision.

The Chinese Ambassador has been formally asked to inform Beijing that it’s not by attacking those who have criticized the violations committed, or lashing out at freedom of expression and fundamental democratic freedoms, that China will address the legitimate concerns expressed about the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

Regarding our trade relations, China is an unignorable economic partner at global level, but our relations must not be built to the detriment of our principles, our values and the model of society we uphold, and must not be free of reciprocity.

Specifically as regards the investment agreement between the EU and China, we believe that the latest serious developments, particularly the sanctions against MEPs, reinforce our desire to be very firm about our demands, particularly on forced labour, in future talks./.

Published on 25/03/2021

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