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Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to China on (a) China's ratification of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (b) the release of dissidents jailed for involvement in the 1989 demonstration at Tiananmen Square and (c) the re-education through labour system of imprisonment without trial. (110717)

The Government regularly raise human rights issues with the Chinese Government. I urged China to commit itself to a timetable for International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratification, and give renewed impetus to reform of all forms of administrative detention, including re-education through labour, in a letter to the Chinese ambassador in August 2006. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised ICCPR ratification with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in September 2006. These issues were also raised at the last rounds of the UK- and EU-China Human Rights Dialogues, and will be covered at the next round of our bilateral Dialogue in February. The cases of the remaining Tiananmen dissidents were raised at the last round of the EU-China Dialogue in October 2006, and bilaterally through previous rounds of the UK-China Dialogue.