Britain says China calls off human rights talks at last minute

LONDON (Reuters) – China has called off talks with Britain on Beijing’s human rights record, the British government said yesterday, four days after Britain published a list of concerns.

Chinese and British officials had been due to hold a round of the bilateral Human Rights Dialogue in London tomorrow after they agreed to restart the regular meetings during a trip to China by British Prime Minister David Cameron in December.

Cameron’s visit was aimed at spurring closer trade and business links between Britain and the world’s second biggest economy and at drawing a line under a dispute involving Tibet’s spiritual leader which had led to a diplomatic freeze.

But Britain’s Foreign Office said Beijing had pulled out of the first round of the talks, the resumption of which Cameron had hailed at the time as a significant achievement.

“We are disappointed that the Chinese government last week unilaterally postponed the Dialogue, which was due to take place on 16 April,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said in a statement.

“It is not for us to say why it was postponed. We are now in discussion to agree new dates,” she said.

A spokeswoman at the Chinese embassy in London said she was unaware the talks had been cancelled.

Britain listed China as “a country of concern” in its annual human rights report last week, saying it had observed increased restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly in 2013.

It also cited reports of “the forcible suppression of ethnic unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang.”

More in World News

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Guyanese man, woman die in New Jersey car crash

  2. Five remanded over murder of Tain mother

  3. Ruby fisherman beaten to death after reportedly trying to rob woman

  4. Alleged mastermind in Tain execution turns herself over to police

  5. Parking meter contract can be revoked

  6. Five remanded over murder of Williamsburg phone card dealer

  7. GPL knew Colin Welch faked resume six months after hire – audit

  8. Chase-Green upbraids Duncan at statutory meeting

  9. PPP to file private charges against gov’t officials for corruption – Jagdeo


Recommended For You