Slovakia president calls out human rights abuses in meeting with China's foreign minister

Zuzana Caputova addressed human rights concerns during first meeting with Wang Yi

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China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova (Photo from Caputova's FB page)

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova (Photo from Caputova's FB page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Providing an example of good leadership in her first weeks in office, the new President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova, met with China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi (王毅), on Wednesday (July 10) and directly criticized China’s human rights record.

In a statement to the press in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, Caputova expressed concern over China’s worrying human rights abuses. She also emphasized her government’s commitment to protecting human rights as foundational to maintaining a free Slovakia.

The president was quoted in a Reuters report as saying the following.

“In line with the EU’s joint policy, I expressed concern and worries about the deteriorating situation in terms of human rights protection in China, about the detainment of lawyers and human rights activists, and about the position of ethnic and religious minorities.”

A political outlier in Slovakia with almost no political experience, Caputova was inaugurated as the fifth President of Slovakia in June after running a surprisingly successful campaign on an anti-corruption platform. Her frank comments to China’s foreign minister have already set her apart from most Eastern European leaders, who tend to tread lightly in their dealings with Chinese officials out of concern for foreign investment coming from the powerful communist nation.

Chinese state media reports that Wang Yi is in the midst of a tour of Eastern European countries with visits to Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. He is visiting the region to “restore trust” and to encourage countries to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.