Skip to main content


Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what steps he has taken through the China Task Force to promote human rights and non-violent responses to demonstrators in China; (72270)

(2) what representations he has made to his Chinese counterparts in the China Task Force on promoting women's rights in the People's Republic of China.

The Government regularly raises human rights concerns with Chinese interlocutors, through ministerial engagement, the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue and EU mechanisms.

The China Task Force makes recommendations to the Government on its policy towards China in seven key areas: trade and investment, education, science and technology, health, culture, environment and sustainable development, and development issues. Its remit does not cover human rights issues.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what work the China Task Force has undertaken to combat climate change. (72271)

During the 2004 UK-China summit, the China Task Force proposed the creation of a UK-China Working Group on climate change, focusing on four key areas: the review and development of ongoing climate science collaboration between the UK and China, energy efficiency, the restructuring of the energy market towards a low carbon future, and adaptation mechanisms.

Sustainable development is also an important part of the China Task Force's remit. The Task Force instigated the UK-China High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Development during President Hu’s State Visit in November 2005. This Dialogue provides a framework for further work with China on Sustainable Development issues affecting climate change, including Sustainable consumption and production and energy for Sustainable development.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he last met Tang Jiaxuan to discuss the work of the China Task Force. (72272)

I last met State Councillor Tang on 21 February this year in Beijing, and had extensive talks on a number of Task Force areas, and discussions on how we can best take forward Task Force recommendations.

I will be contacting Councillor Tang over the summer on how best to take forward the priorities of the China Task Force in the UK, and the UK Task Force in China.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had through the China Task Force on combating avian influenza in (a) China and (b) the UK. (72273)

The remit of the China Task Force was expanded in October 2005 to include Health. The China Task Force discussed epidemics in China at its October meeting last year. In February this year I visited Ditan Hospital, a leading infectious disease hospital in Beijing. I was accompanied by Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang and discussed preparations China is making to handle the possible emergence of a pandemic influenza strain.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the work of the China Task Force. (72275)

At the request of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the China Task Force was created in 2003 and I was asked to be its chair.

The Task Force has developed into a high level contact mechanism, which is recognised and valued by the Chinese Government. It has contributed fresh thinking on Government policy on China in the areas under its remit, and made recommendations on the further development of those policies. The Task Force has added value to a number of key issues, including an agreement to annual Prime Minister level UK-China summits, the signature of a Sustainable Development Dialogue, and support of strategic progress in key trade and investment sectors.

At the end of 2005 UK exports to China grew by 16 per cent., which was faster than all our EU competitors except France.