China expects good human rights behaviour from British Labour leader during Xi’s visit

President of China, Xi Jinping.
President of China, Xi Jinping.

(, Oct20, 2015) – China has made it clear that it expects Britain’s opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn not to raise human rights concerns after the later had said he would do so during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping who is arriving on Oct 20 for a four-day state visit. Given Prime Minister James Cameron’s resolve to keep issues like human rights and Tibet entirely out of the agenda, Corbyn has said he would raise the issue during the state banquet in the Buckingham Palace.

Reacting to Corby’s remark, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, has said, “I think British people are very gentlemanly … they know how to behave.” Oct 18 quoted Liu as having told an interviewer: “You think the Labour party will raise this issue at a state banquet? I don’t think so. I think, you know, the president is here for co-operation, for partnership.

“He is not here for a debate about human rights.”

Liu has claimed China did not shy away from ‘candid discussion’ of human rights, but insisted it should be undertaken in private, reported Oct 19.

The report cited Corbyn’s spokesman as having said last week that the Labour leader would seek to raise human rights abuses in private meetings, but did not rule out discussing the issue at the dinner.

The report said the visit was expected to see the signing of multi-billion-pound deals for China to invest in replacing Britain’s ageing nuclear power plants – despite concerns raised by the security services.

Meanwhile Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, who will be 67 next month, has denied claims he was boycotting the Buckingham Palace banquet in protest at China’s continuing occupation of Tibet. Instead he said that he needed rest time ahead of a busy schedule which will see him on duty abroad for almost the whole of November, reported Oct 19.

Meanwhile, 16 UK MPs and Lords have written an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on Oct 18, calling on him “to send a clear and public message” to Xi Jinping that his government’s “violations of basic human rights are unacceptable”, its “control and regulation of civil society intolerable” and its “punishment of peaceful dissent inexcusable.”

The signatories include Mr Fabian Hamilton, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. The others are Lord Dholakia (Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats); David Anderson, Tom Brake, Nic Dakin, Mark Durkan, Paul Flynn, Lord Haworth, Kate Hoey, Tim Loughton, Caroline Lucas, Justin Madders, Liz Saville-Roberts, Jim Shannon, Lord Steel of Aikwood, and Gareth Thomas.


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