To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his estimate of the current number of political and religious prisoners of conscience held in the People's Republic of China.
The Chinese authorities have said that there are 1.1 million inmates in prisons and reform camps in China, of whom 0·5 per cent.—5,500 people— have been indicted for so-called counter-revolutionary offences. Such offences often relate to those regarded in the west as prisoners of conscience. Some foreign researchers estimate that the real figures are much higher, but this cannot be verified.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the present BBC World Service broadcasts to the People's Republic of China; and if he has any plans to increase the service.
Broadcasting to China is a high priority. Broadcasts in Mandarin and Cantonese total 241/2 hours and 51/4hours a week respectively. The former will be increased by 31/2 hours a week in early 1993, when the World Service has recruited the necessary specialist staff. World Service broadcasts in English are also audible in China.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has of the number of executions in the People's Republic of China last year.
According to Amnesty International, there have been published accounts of more than 1,000 executions while unofficial sources suggest that up to 20,000 executions may have taken place in 1991. We have no means of verifying such figures.