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27 Oct 2015

Diane Palframan, Epoch Times

China’s Investment Billions Push Human Rights Off the Agenda

…“The government has made this calculation, which is a false one, that any concern about human rights will damage investment and trade,” said David Mepham, UK Director of Human Rights Watch. “This is morally wrong and also politically short-sighted to think that all of these issues can be swept away and you can just have a conversation with the Chinese about investment....” In countries that are more outspoken about human rights, like the US, it is not evident that China is turning its back on them. Quite the contrary. For the past decade, from 2005 to June this year, the US was the top destination for Chinese contracts and investments…

In short, the UK is an attractive investment prospect. It should not be bullied into submission on human rights by the Chinese government, according to Labour MP Fabian Hamilton…This is in stark contrast to the UK’s values and principles of freedom, justice, and rule of law, which are trumpeted around the world, he added. “We have to stand up for what we believe in and, if there is a price to pay for that, so be it. It seems that the government wants the money and doesn’t care about anything else.”

That said, at a press conference given by Prime Minister David Cameron and President Xi, human rights were mentioned, albeit briefly. President Xi said, “China attaches great importance to the protection of human rights. We combine the universal value of human rights with China’s reality, and we have found a path of human rights development suited to China’s national conditions...”

With the prospect of a more powerful China, how can human rights defenders make their voices heard and bring about change? MP Fabian Hamilton suggested: “If every country in the world stands up to China, then where is China going to invest?” [refers to China General Nuclear & EDF]