A coalition of nine EU experts and deputies have called for the bloc to revisit its policy towards the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, urging it to revise its “one China” policy and support Taiwanese democracy.

In an op-ed in France’s Le Monde and the German paper Handelsblatt on Monday, the group said that Europe can no longer continue preserving the status quo: “For decades, Europe has sought to maintain a balance between the principle of self-determination, the peaceful resolution of disputes between Beijing and Taipei, and Beijing’s ‘one China’ policy.”

eu parliament
European Parliament. Photo: Wikicommons.

According to the coalition, the balance is no longer tenable in view of an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian Beijing: “China’s recent behaviour undermines this European policy. It must, therefore, be reviewed.”

The article also said Beijing had violated the terms of the Hong Kong autonomy agreement and disregarded international law – therefore, its calls for “reunification” with Taiwan cannot be treated as sincere. It added that the Chinese authorities responded to last year’s protests in Hong Kong with “coercion, control, and subjugation.”

The op-ed appealed to the European Parliament to confront Beijing’s expansionist policies and uphold its commitment to liberal and democratic values : “Europe must adapt its one-China policy by making it clear to Beijing that respect for international rules and values for Europe is not up for discussion.” It ended with a warning to Beijing against the use of force towards Taiwan, saying it will mean a “clear break” from Europe, which will not “submit to the dictates of the People’s Republic of China.”

Photo: Office of the President of Taiwan, via Flickr.

The nine gave six concrete steps the European Parliament should take in order to support Taiwan’s democracy, which they say is “fighting for its survival.” The steps include conducting a dialogue with Taiwanese officials, advocating for Taiwan’s membership in international organisations, including the World Health Organisation, and cooperating with Taiwanese partners such as in the public health sector.

Other recommendations include improving trade and economic relations, and to support a Taiwanese satellite news channel in Europe in order to displace China’s monopoly on Chinese information in the bloc.

The coalition includes six members of the European Parliament from France, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania, and three foreign policy experts.

In June, the European Parliament condemned Beijing’s planned Hong Kong national security law, calling it a “comprehensive assault” on the city’s freedoms.

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Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.