Prime Minister David Cameron must ensure human rights are as high on the agenda as trade in his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in London, Amnesty International said yesterday (16 June).
The Chinese Prime Minister is visiting the UK to attend a bilateral summit today (17 June), two months after a rift over the UK's stance on Tibet and the Dalai Lama derailed talks between the two countries.
Human rights are reportedly on the agenda, alongside trade, investment, commercial opportunities, energy and cultural ties.
Earlier this month Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen and Ti-Anna Wang, the daughter of Wang Bing Zhang, a jailed veteran pro-democracy activist – were assaulted by Chinese embassy officials in London when they laid flowers to mark the 25th anniversary of the 4 June crackdown.
Kate Allen said: "Commercial opportunities should not take precedence over human rights concerns. Developing trade links and improving human rights can go hand-in-hand.
“The complete denial of the brutal Tiananmen crackdown and the detention of activists ahead of the anniversary, widespread police torture and harassment of human rights activists and minority groups, are all of grave concern.”
Amnesty has also urged the Chinese authorities to drop their spurious charges against a prominent human rights lawyer and immediately release him. Pu Zhiqiang was formally arrested on Friday 13 June for “picking quarrels” and “illegally obtaining personal information”. He was originally detained by police on 6 May after he attended a seminar in Beijing that called for an investigation into the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Kate Allen added: “This past month has seen a widespread campaign of repression with the authorities going further than in previous years, both in terms of who has been targeted and the harsh measures being used.
“If the government fails to call on the Chinese authorities to abide by human rights standards, the Chinese authorities could take that as a green light to continue with its repression, especially of human rights defenders."
She concluded: “David Cameron must make sure these issues get as high a billing as trade on the agenda."