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Minister voices Chinese concern

April 8, 2008

07 April 2008
Press Association

Scottish education secretary Fiona Hyslop raised concerns about China's
record on human rights at a meeting in Beijing.

Ms Hyslop met Wu Qidi, China's vice minister of education, at the start
of a six-day visit to the country.

At that meeting she voiced the Scottish Government's concerns about
human rights, particularly in relation to the situation in Tibet.

It comes after Tibet campaigners demonstrated in London as the Olympic
torch was carried through the city ahead of this summer's Beijing Olympics.

Last month senior Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott urged Ms Hyslop to
cancel her visit to China in the wake of unrest in Tibet.

Ministers rejected that call, stating that they stressed concerns over
human rights in all meetings with the Chinese authorities.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Fiona Hyslop did take the first
opportunity she had on the first day of her visit to China to raise the
Scottish Government's concerns about human rights issues in discussion
with China's vice minister of education."

The government's stance in pressing ahead with the trip was backed by
Amnesty International.

At the meeting in Beijing Ms Hyslop and the Chinese vice minister of
education signed a memorandum of understanding on educational issues.

It establishes formal strategic collaboration between the two countries
on a number of areas, including promoting Chinese language and culture
in Scotland and establishing relationships allowing Chinese pupils to
learn about Scotland.
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