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Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Chinese Government about trade with (a) Zimbabwe and (b) Africa. (93640)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any such recent discussions with the Chinese Government on this issue. The UK and China are committed to increasing their dialogue on Africa. These contacts will reinforce the structured dialogue on Africa agreed by the EU and China at their summit on 9 September and provide opportunities to discuss with China a range of issues relating to Africa, including the importance of trade and investment.

Increased trade is essential to Africa’s development and China’s rapidly growing trade with Africa is already contributing to higher growth rates in Africa. It is important that all Africa’s trading partners, including China, act in ways that support the principles for sustainable development outlined in Africa’s own New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NePAD agenda, including good governance and sound economic management—features currently so sadly lacking in Zimbabwe.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) human rights, (b) the death penalty, (c) media freedom and (d) Tibet were raised during the Chinese Prime Minister's recent visit to the UK. (94926)

Both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary discussed human rights issues during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the UK in September. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised with Premier Wen restrictions on foreign media organisations operating in China and concerns about Tibet. The Foreign Secretary, in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, urged China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes provisions on the death penalty, at the earliest possible date. A list of individual cases of concern was handed over during the same visit.