DOI link for 2003–2004
In early 2003, EU-Chinese consultations on human rights reached a low point. Critics of the Greek Presidency's reluctance to confront Beijing more firmly over the execution of Lobsang Dhondup blamed what they called an 'Olympic solidarity with China. The first EU-China Human Rights Dialogue for 2003 was scheduled, as customary, prior to the UN Commission on Human Rights session in Geneva, and took place in Athens from 5 to 6 March. The comparatively strong public statements on the disagreements arising in the Dialogue and, indeed, on the breach of trust, were counterbalanced with a number of points that the EU called 'encouraging signals'. China's decision to downgrade the level of its delegation to the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was interpreted in Europe as an indication for Beijing's decreasing commitment. The next EU-China Human Rights Dialogue took place from 27 to 28 November 2003 in Beijing, only about two weeks after the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.