Relations with China: Xi Jinping Presidency — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 1:30 pm, 16th March 2023

Again, the right hon. Gentleman makes the case for Jimmy Lai. I think the Minister—I am sure that he is taking note of all this—and his officials will ensure that Jimmy Lai becomes part of our priorities in this House now and for the future, as should be the case.

As the Bible says—Sir Edward, I know that you and I read it every day—

“speak the truth in love”.

I do not see the balance thus far. I ask the Minister to look at where we are, and where we need to be, and to begin the journey there. Human rights and moral obligations are not merely desirable; they are the very foundation on which any relationship should be built. We have a chance to change this situation—to move it upwards—and get it right. That is what I urge the Minister to begin to do today.

We are all here for one purpose: to speak up for those who have no voice—and there are many of them. Right hon. and hon. Members have spoken up for others across the world on many occasions. Today we focus on the evil intentions of China. Yes, we want to work with China, if possible, and address human rights and religious liberties, and the right for people to have freedom of expression in relation to where they worship. Those things are not happening there. We must highlight that today, and ensure that our Minister has a firm grip of what is happening. I hope that the Minister will respond to our asks.