CCHRC Delegation Attended 2019 China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights

The annual gathering of European and Chinese scholars and others with a genuine interest in the cultural embeddedness of the implementation of human rights took place in Vienna this year, June 19 – 22.

Sub-themes for the Seminar are:

  1. Universality and Particularity of Human Rights;
  2. Human Rights Significance of the Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings;
  3. History and Evolution of Human Rights Values;
  4. Human Rights Practice in China since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China and Its Global Significance.

Participating in this event granted an opportunity for the CCHRC delegation to share the ideas on human rights with their counterparts from Europe and China. The team consisted of 16 members from the Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Czech Republic, who have put human rights diversity and cooperation in their research focus.

CCHRC delegation at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Before the official seminar, under the topic of Opportunities for China-Europe Cooperation in the Area of Human Rights within the Changing International Order, we held a meeting with delegates from China Society for Human Rights to discuss if and how Europe and China could make a further step towards cooperation in this area. CCHRC’s director, Professor Tom Zwart, indicated that, with the America’s retreating from the international human rights fields, such cooperation is desirable and possible between the two parties. This picture is actually being more clear considering the increasing political influence of Central and South Europe nations among the EU. These countries share a similar eager to promote certain economic and social rights with China. The delegates from both sides agreed on the importance of human rights cooperation, and proposed to start from the topics with less existing divergences, such as the terrorist threat, as well as some new areas like Big Data and AI.

The CCHRC delegation had a breakfast meeting on the next morning to know further about each other, and to carry out an exploration of the consensus reached by the last day’s meeting. The members all agreed to assist in bringing the cooperation on human rights between EU and China respectively from their own academic channels.

The official seminar was held in the Conference Hall of the Austrian Ministry of Justice, on 21 June. The theme was Comparison of Human Rights Values between the East and the West. The CCHRC members presented their speeches on various topics ranging from the universalism of human rights, the principle of good governance, to freedom of belief, migrants and refugee issues, and the ideological Jihad of liberalism. Among other topics, the universality and particularity of human rights attracted much attention. Some Chinese researchers concluded several global problems as the common challenges, including the terrorism, development, economic globalisation, and hegemony of superpower. In spite of different approaches to dealing with such challenges taken by EU and China, they do share the same purpose, which should serve as the basis of their cooperation. As to some new challenges posed by the development of the information technology, it was recognised that both sides can start building trust in these fields that had not had many conflicts yet.

CCHRC delegate Prof. André van de Braak of the Fac. of Theology of Vrije Universiteit Amstedam

The three-day meetings contributes to the understanding on the diversities and identities in the human rights discourse between Europe and China. Bearing in mind of this, it is necessary and pragmatic to make a further step on human rights cooperation.