Chinese President Xi Jinping will not shy away from questions on human rights but will not tolerate others lecturing on the subject during his upcoming UK visit, agencies report.
This was the message conveyed by Chinese ambassador to UK Liu Xiaoming during a press conference Thursday.
“What we are against is to use human rights to interfere with other countries’ internal affairs and to try to impose your own system on to others,” Liu said.
Describing Xi’s visit as the beginning of “golden times” in Sino-British relations, he said the UK was fast becoming “China’s best friend.”
On Britain’s role in European Union, he said: ““We would like to see a strong Europe and a strong UK. I do hope the UK and Europe can work out an arrangement that suits both sides.”
A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said the Labor leader will be “using the opportunity” of Xi’s visit to raise the issue of human rights during the state banquet at Buckingham Palace next week, as it was “the right thing to do.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has reason to worry as Corbyn’s views may offend Xi and block Chinese investments in UK infrastructure, including its nuclear power plants.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne got Beijing’s pledge of investments during his China visit last month.
Amnesty International is planning protests against China’s alleged human rights violations during Xi’s visit.
According to the group, the Chinese government has ratcheted up censorship of the internet, clamped down on civil society, increased its ideological controls over the media and academia, and launched several large-scale crackdowns on human rights defenders, lawyers, and activists.
It says that most recently, 245 lawyers and activists have been targeted in an unprecedented nationwide campaign over the past 100 days and at least 30 are “missing or still in police custody.”
It is doubtful whether the Prince of Wales, a friend of the Dalai Lama, will attend the state banquet.
In advance of Xi’s visit, the Great Britain China Centre appointed Peter Mandelson as its president in place of Geoffrey Howe who retired in July.
Mandelson said Xi’s visit will mark a new high in UK-China relations adding that in Britain there is a broad cross-party consensus on the importance of expanding and deepening relations with China.