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UK's Brown to raise human rights with China

August 22, 2008

August 21, 2008

ON BOARD FLIGHT TO BEIJING -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
urged China on Wednesday to make more progress on human rights,
saying the issue needed to be addressed not only during the Olympic Games.

Brown, who will attend the Olympics closing ceremony, said he would
raise the matter with China's leaders when he meets them in Beijing.

"I want to say that human rights matters to us every year, not just
in the Olympic year," Brown told reporters on his plane on the way to Beijing.

London will host the 2012 Olympic Games.

In a public letter to opposition Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg,
who questioned Brown's attendance at the Olympics on human rights
grounds, Brown said supporting China's "re-engagement" in the world
was in Britain's national interest.

"Support for the Games and engagement with China is not at the
expense of human rights. It is integral to their promotion. China has
made enormous social and economic progress over the last three
decades, but much more remains to be done," he wrote.

"I firmly believe that allowing China's citizens to enjoy freedom of
expression and association; to worship how and where they wish; and
to live in confidence that the rule of law will be applied
consistently and impartially is not only the right thing to do but
will also benefit China's future stability and prosperity, which is
in all our interests," he wrote.

Brown also gave an interview to Xinhua News Agency in which he urged
China to continue with press and other freedoms after the Olympics,
including in terms of its relationship with Tibet.

"The human rights of all those in Tibet should be fully respected,"
he said. "Our consistent position is that the way to resolve the
issues highlighted by the disturbances in March is through dialogue,
not violence."
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