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China: Human Rights

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote human rights in China. (323350)

Promotion of human rights is a fundamental part of our relationship with China. Despite economic and social progress, which has raised 500 million out of poverty in just 30 years, progress in civil and political rights has been much slower with a marked deterioration in some areas. It is in our interests to help China do better in these areas through greater respect for human rights, transparency and accountability. Our approach includes high-level messaging to encourage political progress and project work to deliver concrete assistance on the ground.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised a range of human rights issues including individual cases during his recent visit to China on 15-17 March. He made clear that human rights are our basic values—and a vital part of any stable and sustainable system.

The UK/China Human rights Dialogue provides an open channel of communication with the Chinese Government about human rights concerns and allows issues to be discussed in greater depth. The latest round took place on 18-19 March.

Engaging with China on human rights requires sustained commitment. Therefore we will continue to raise human rights at every available opportunity as made clear in our public strategy for engagement with China, published in January 2009.