Vienna, 28 November 2008 Press release

State Secretary Hans Winkler summons Chinese chargé d'affaires to the Foreign Ministry

Vienna, 28 November 2008 - State Secretary Hans Winkler summoned the Chinese chargé d' affaires in Austria, Shunquing Wang, to the Foreign Ministry on behalf of Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in connection with the execution of businessman Wo Weihan, who had been sentenced to death.

"The approach of the Chinese judiciary in the case of Wo Weihan is a severe breach of trust that cannot be justified in any way. Apart from its absolute rejection of the death penalty, Austria is above all disappointed by the inhuman approach, also toward the family of the convicted businessman. Not even the family relatives have been informed so far", said Winkler, who expressly emphasized that it is completely unacceptable from a European point of view that, of all times, the execution was carried out during the human rights dialogue currently under way.

According to the information available to the Foreign Ministry, the proceedings did not only violate international human rights standards, the EU and the family members were also mislead by false and contradictory information.

The State Secretary also expressed the deep disappointment of the presidents of the Austrian high courts, who had intervened with their Chinese colleagues to prevent them from imposing the death penalty. "This is definitely not a political intervention but an effort to save a human life". Moreover, Winkler stressed that all possible means were exhausted in Austria and on a European level to prevent the death penalty. "With this inhuman action, China has severely damaged its image in Austria", concluded the State Secretary.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Katharina Swoboda
Office of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469