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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 5:15 pm, 13th October 2008

We should be using our contact with China—both our bilateral contacts and our discussions within the forum of EU-China relations—to bring pressure to bear so that it sees that its growing role as a powerful player in international diplomacy and economic affairs carries with it a responsibility to use that influence for the good of the people of the countries with which it trades. I do not despair of China's reaction because we have seen, particularly in respect of North Korea, to some extent with Darfur, and even—on some details—in relation to Zimbabwe, a shift on the part of the Chinese Government. China is not yet pursuing a course where it gives priority to civil rights and democracy in Zimbabwe or any other country, which I wish to see, but that should be a key element in the dealings of the British Government with China now and in the future.