David Cameron Promises to Raise Human Rights Issues during Trade Talks

On his first visit to China as Prime Minister, David Cameron has promised to raise human rights issues during his talks with Chinese leaders. Mr. Cameron is the first Western leader to visit the country since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8. Mr. Xiaobo has been in jail since, and Chinese authorities have refused to allow human rights activists to fly to London. Among them were Mr. Xiaobo's lawyers.

Mr. Cameron is struggling to maintain the visit's focus on business deals, rather than let it be overshadowed by human rights issues. "Of course we have a really high dialogue with China on all sorts of issues ranging from the economy and trade and business, and of course human rights." He added that "we shouldn't be lecturing and hectoring but it is right we have a dialogue on these things".

Mr. Cameron appears convinced that such dialogue will not jeopardise the trade deals that he is intent on making. "Our dialogue is mature enough that we cover all of these areas, including human rights."

The British Government has already confirmed an ambassador's attendance for the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo later this year, despite China's attempts to dissuade European governments from attending the ceremony.

Mr. Cameron has expressed hope that the two countries can double bilateral trade, reaching $100 billion over the coming 5 years. He also plans to deepen trade ties with India, where he led a large delegation in July.