(TibetanReview.net, Oct22, 2015) – Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn won a 30-minute private meeting with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping after he threatened to otherwise criticize China’s human rights record during the Oct 20 state banquet in the Buckingham Palace. Labour party has described the meeting as “cordial and constructive”.
It was not explained what rights concerns Mr Corbyn had taken up with Mr Xi and what the latter’s response was. Besides, Prime Minister David Cameron also wants to deal with awkward issues such as Tibet and democracy behind closed doors, noted cnbc.com Oct 20.
The meeting followed concerns that Mr Corbyn would bring up contentious issues, including human rights, at a royal banquet at Buckingham Palace, which was organised in honour of the visiting Chinese leader. China’s position is that human rights issues can be discussed, but only in private meetings; otherwise it would constitute interference in China’s internal affairs.
A Labour spokesman confirmed that Mr Corbyn “raised the issues of human rights and the impact of Chinese imports on the UK steel industry,” reported independent.co.uk Oct 21.
Dailymail.co.uk Oct 21 termed the granting of private meeting by Mr Xi to Mr Corbyn as unprecedented, noting that it came after the latter had threatened to raise his concerns at lavish state banquet. During the meeting, Corbyn was reported to have praised the Chinese leader for his country’s ‘remarkable’ achievement lifting millions of people out of poverty while also raising the issues of human rights and the impacts of cheap Chinese imports on the UK’s steel industry.