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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

UK nod on Tibet cemented ties: Wen

June 29, 2011

Teddy Ng in London
Updated on Jun 28, 2011

Sino-British ties were free of historical disputes and burdens after Britain recognised Tibet as part of China, Premier Wen Jiabao told former British prime minister Gordon Brown yesterday.

Wen met Brown (pictured), his predecessor Tony Blair and Chinese people living in London on Sunday after visiting the MG car plant in Birmingham and the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare - Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was treated to a short theatrical performance.

Wen described Brown and Blair as old friends, and praised Brown for contributing to Sino-British ties.

"The most unforgettable thing is that you tackled our last historical issue when you were in office, that is the UK admitting Tibet is an inalienable part of China," Wen said. "Since then, China and the UK have no historical issues and burdens to deal with, and the two sides can co-operate."

Brown's decision to recognise Beijing's direct rule over Tibet, made in 2008, was described by Zhu Weiquan, a senior Chinese official who was leading talks with Tibetan exiles, as being "in line with the universal position in today's world".

Wen said China and Britain had continued to co-operate on many major issues, such as climate change, after Brown left office.

In his meeting with Blair, Wen praised the former prime minister for continuing to promote Sino-British ties after leaving office.

"You are an old friend," Wen said. "The UK government co-operated comprehensively with the Chinese government when you were still in office.

"Maybe those who left office know better about the importance of Sino-UK ties. I have read many of the commentaries you wrote after leaving office. You did not promote Sino-UK ties only when you were in office."

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