Speech at the plenary session debate of the European Parliament about the situation in Hong Kong, with the participation of High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini

Madam High Representative, Madame President, Dear Colleagues,

Courage, determination and the eternal will to fight for freedom have won a great triumph in Hong Kong. Not only have the Chinese authorities not dare repeat the abomination that happened at the Tiananmen Square, but the local authorities, with the obvious consent of Beijing, have even withdrawn the extradition bill to China.

We should be applauding the demonstrators and rejoice in this victory, because any step back by a government which does not respect human rights contributes to the freedom of all.

It is not enough for us to be satisfied, though.

We should be supporting the fight for freedom, because China will remain one of our main economic partners and one of the greatest powers of this century.

We should be supporting them out of a moral obligation, but also because we can.

We can, because in the struggle with Mr Trump, the Chinese government cannot afford to alienate Europe, which it needs.

We can, because our institution is the only one in the world which is strong enough, independent enough and united enough in the defence of human rights to confront a regime which has become the largest, most modern and most sophisticated dictatorship in the world.

Finally, we can because we will soon have an opportunity to demonstrate our support – I hope and I call upon all of you that you do so – by awarding the Sakharov Prize to an opponent of the Chinese regime, Mr Ilhan Tohti, a child of the Uyghur people, their imprisoned defender and one of their greatest men.

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