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China: Human Rights

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to the Government of China on (a) human rights in China and (b) the human rights of followers of Falun Gong in China. (136409)

We raise a comprehensive range of human rights issues, including the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, with the Chinese Government at the biannual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, the most recent of which was held in February. We also work bilaterally and through the EU to raise human rights concerns at every appropriate opportunity, including at senior level. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised freedom of expression with the head of the Chinese Information Office for the State Council in April. He also raised human rights with Chinese Premier Wen in September 2006. Officials regularly raise concerns at working level in Beijing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the numbers of (a) religious and (b) political prisoners in China; what her estimate is of the number of such prisoners who are followers of Falun Gong; and if she will make a statement. (136410)

We do not estimate the number of religious and political prisoners in China, or the number of those who are followers of Falun Gong but continue to urge China to improve transparency of statistics. At the most recent round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in February, we asked the Chinese Government to confirm how many Falun Gong practitioners are currently detained. We are still awaiting a response.