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Guardian: On Xi Jinping’s UK visit, Cameron must challenge China on its human rights

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Guardian
Wednesday 14 October 2015 14.29 EDT
Last modified on Wednesday 14 October 201517.00 EDT

■ We agree with Chinese human rights activists that President Xi Jinping should learn from Magna Carta (Report, 13 October). But when Xi visits the UK next week, the prime minister must also go on the record about human rights concerns with China to make it clear that the values enshrined in Magna Carta are not only for British citizens but are relevant the world over. When the chancellor visited China recently, human rights slipped down the agenda – publicly at least - in favour of trade, but it is in Britain’s best interests to partner with countries who share our values of rule of law, human rights and justice.

China's President Xi Jinping. 'Cameron must also go on the
record about human rights concerns with China to make it
clear that the values enshrined in Magna Carta are not only for
British citizens but are relevant the world over,' writes Kiri
Kankhwende of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
It’s also our duty, as a nation whose heritage includes Magna Carta, to hold our trade partners to account when they fail to hold themselves accountable to domestic and international law. This year has seen the unprecedented arrest and detention of hundreds of Chinese lawyers and activists and over 1,000 crosses have been forcibly removed from churches in one province alone. We believe that freedom of religion or belief is a touchstone for a nation’s human rights standards and recent studies suggest that religious freedom contributes to better economic and business outcomes. As a matter of principle, but also good business, human rights should not be jettisoned from trade discussions.
Kiri Kankhwende
Christian Solidarity Worldwide


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