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Transcript: Tibet Questions raised at the British Parliament

January 14, 2008

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights (China)

House of Commons debates: Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): What steps he is taking to encourage the 
Chinese government to adhere to pledges it has made in respect of 
human rights and press freedom, with particular reference to occupied 
Tibet. [175894]

Meg Munn: We encourage the Chinese Government to fulfil their human 
rights obligations across China, including in Tibet. My right hon. 
Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the issue of human rights with 
the Chinese Foreign Minister in December. My right hon. Friend the 
Minister for the Olympics and for London raised the issue of media 
freedom in November. We will raise our concerns on Tibet at the next 
round of the UK-China human rights dialogue in Beijing later this month.

Norman Baker: The Chinese have promised media freedom for foreign 
journalists in China, but have restricted it even more in occupied 
Tibet. They promised to give the Red Cross access to prisons in 
China, but exempted Tibet. They promised religious freedom, but 
effectively have martial law in monasteries. Is not the reality that 
the Chinese sign lots of bits of paper about Tibet, but do absolutely 
nothing about it?

Meg Munn: We take seriously the range of human rights issues that the 
hon. Gentleman raised. I know that he has a long record in relation 
to Tibet and has rightly highlighted the matter on many occasions. We 
pursue human rights in three ways-through high-level lobbying, 
through UK-China and EU-China dialogues, and through project work on 
the ground, including on issues such as the judiciary, torture, the 
death penalty and minority rights.

Mr. Jim McGovern (Dundee, West) (Lab): It is heartening that China 
has made pledges to uphold human rights. However, it is difficult to 
equate such pledges with China's continuing offer of no-strings aid, 
(8 Jan 2008: Column 144) which has emboldened some unsavoury 
Governments and allowed them to ignore calls for reform. Can the 
Minister assure the House that the Government will continue to do all 
in their power to encourage China to conditionalise the aid that it 
gives to some of the most despotic regimes in the world, such as the 
regime in Sudan?

Meg Munn: My hon. Friend raises an important point. Our engagement 
with China always focuses on human rights issues. The Prime Minister 
is to visit shortly and will continue our dialogue and continue to 
press on these matters.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington and Chelsea) (Con): What is the 
difference between the Chinese Government's respect for human rights 
in Tibet and the Serbian Government's respect for human rights in 
Kosovo that justifies a very different policy by Her Majesty's 
Government?

Meg Munn: We take seriously the issues in Tibet and we raise these 
matters continually at the regular dialogues. This will be the 16th 
round of dialogues between the UK and China on Tibet, and on this 
occasion the delegations will make a visit to Tibet to study the 
situation on the ground.


Source: www.publications.parliament.uk

Meg Munn is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign 
and Commonwealth Affairs
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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