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China: Human Rights

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th June 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what benchmarks they use to assess progress in the United Kingdom-China human rights dialogue; whether such benchmarks and the details of subjects discussed are published; and, if not, why not.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

The UK-China Human Rights dialogue is a key part of our engagement with China on human rights. The dialogue focuses on building long-term momentum for change. In each round of the UK-China Human Rights dialogue we aim to build on the key principles which underpin respect for human rights, and on the areas China will need to address in order to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This includes the rights of detainees, migrant rights, capital punishment, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, and co-operation with international human rights mechanisms.

We seek to be as transparent as possible in our human rights work. However, the effective conduct of the UK's international relations depends upon maintaining the trust and confidence of other governments. Our aim in the UK-China Human Rights dialogue is to achieve a free and frank exchange of information between the two governments and their experts. These exchanges are based on the understanding that they will be treated in confidence.

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