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Cameron's visit to China: Media reports PDF Print E-mail
[5 December 2013] UPDATED: David Cameron has completed a three day visit to China (2-4 December). He  led a major delegation of senior ministers and business leaders and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. The Prime Minister told reporters that he raised human rights with the Chinese leadership, but not specifically Tibet. Below are summaries and links of news reports related to the trip, particularly in relation to Tibet and human rights.

Media reports: 30 Nov I 1 Dec I 2 Dec I 3 Dec I 4 Dec I 5 Dec
Tibet Society: Supporter Action I Letter to PM I Press Release



Thursday 5 December 2013
Links
BBC:
David Cameron hails trade ties during China visit (video 2:21)
Cameron & Premier LIIn an interview with the BBC, Cameron says his visit has helped secure deals with China worth over 6 billion, and developed a stronger relationship with the Chinese government.

When questioned about not offending China by not discussing democracy and human rights issues, Cameron replied, When I come to a country like China of course I discuss and raise human rights and those issues. Yesterday, I met with a whole range of charitable bodies, non-governmental organisations campaigning for human rights here in China. Of course I raised those issues... and I have restarted now the human rights dialogue between Britain and China.

When asked about whether he should have mentioned democracy when speaking to students in China, Cameron responded, I said there are differences in our systems, differences in our values, but what matters in international relations is to understand those differences, to show respect for each other, but also to work very hard to make sure we benefit from Chinas rise.

BBC:
Cameron hints at Chinese state visit
The Prime Minister raised the possibility of a state visit to the UK by Chinas President Xi in the near future. Cameron said, I think it would be a good thing to happen in the future. I think the relations between Britain and China, as the Chinese President put it to me, are going to a new level - what the Premier described as an indispensible partnership. The last such visit, by Xis predecessor Hu Jintao, was in 2005. President Xi is due to visit France next month.

Editorial & opinions
BBC:
Opinion - China, US and Britain: Tact needed as global power shifts
John Simpson, BBCs World Affairs Editor, says, This week has confirmed two of Chinas current beliefs: that the United States is clumsy, and Britain is two-faced. Simpson says that Camerons visit reinforced the Chinese belief that, though pleasant and cultivated, Britain is shrunken in status and distinctly two-faced. However, he adds, it was not the humiliation that some British commentators have maintained. Simpson believes that President Xi did his best to see that David Cameron went away from China feeling pleased with what had been achieved... (but) must surely have felt a quiet satisfaction that Britain had been given a deft flick of the whip at the same time.

Daily Mail:
Editorial - We need its trade, but beware the Tiger

The Daily Mail says, In the past, Mr Cameron has spoken eloquently against regimes with abysmal human rights records... Yet now he blithely declares weve turned a page on [Tibet] - apparently agreeing, as a condition of his visit, that he wont meet the Dalai Lama again.
It adds, As for Beijings gross violations of human rights... how significant that he has made a far lesser protest against mighty China than he did against puny Sri Lanka at last months Commonwealth summit. In conclusion the Daily Mail says, [A]bove all we believe that the free world must fast wake up to some uncomfortable realities about China.

Telegraph: Letter to Editor
SIR Mr Cameron has announced that he will not meet the Dalai Lama soon, and seems unwilling to raise Chinas appalling human rights record publicly during his visit. This is in contrast to his very public pronouncements regarding Sri Lankas human rights abuses last month. He has consistently shown himself to be a man who is only too happy to be strong when dealing with the weak but very weak when dealing with the strong. Mr Hinchliffe, Kent


Wednesday 4 December 2013
Links
Telegraph:
David Cameron denies 'staying slient' on China's human rights record
Cameron in ChinaAccording to The Telegraph, Cameron "responded angrily to suggestions that he avoided the opportunity to raise the issue of China's human rights record." He refused to answer questions from a Telegraph reporter, saying he would only do so if he got "better" coverage from the paper. The Telegraph has previously reported that Cameron sidestepped questions about China's human rights record and Tibet during his trade mission to Beijing.
 
Financial Times: David Cameron pushes for cybersecurity talks with China
The Financial Times says trade has been the priority of Cameron's trip, "leading him to play down other concerns such as human rights". In a question-and-answer session with students in Shanghai, Cameron said, There has been criticism from the British media that I am putting too much priority on the economy and business in my visit. But Im pretty unapologetic. Britain is a trading nation.

Financial Times: Relationship building more important than deals, say analysts
Business analysts say building a relationship with China is more important than deals announced on the visit.

BBC: Chinese media on Cameron's visit
China Daily highlighted the economic benefits of the visit and called for Britain to "respect core interests" of China and not offend Beijing on issues deemed politically sensitive. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post noted that Cameron left "contentious human rights issues on the sidelines". The Global Times attacked the British government for "carping comments" on Hong Kong's political reform. The Wen Wei Po (Hong Kong) said Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hugo Swire made "irresponsible remarks" after he called for the people of Hong Kong to have a genuine choice in electing their city's leader in 2017.
(China Daily, Global Times & Wen Wei Po are all state-run. SCMP is independent.)

Opinion
Channel 4: Blog - David Cameron in China: Chasing paper everywhere
Gary Gibbons says, Cameron is repeatedly pointing to the revival of the UK-China human rights dialogue. However a former minister says there is no concrete evidence (it) had ever achieved anything," adding, It is a service which allows us to raise human rights concerns and enables the Chinese to marginalise the process of hearing those concerns. However, the former minister supported the dialogue as the alternative of "confronting the Chinese leadership face-to-face with their greatest shortcomings was a hiding to nothing".


Tuesday 3 December 2013
Cameron & Xi JinpingCameron has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured right).

The BBC are reporting that Cameron "said he had raised human rights issues in his talks with Chinese leaders, although he did not mention Tibet in the list of global hot spots he said they had discussed".

Sky News quote Cameron as saying,
I dont believe there is a choice between raising growth and investment issues or raising human rights issues. I raised them both.

Cameron revealed, as quoted in The Independent,
that the UK-China rift over his meeting with the Dalai Lama had had no effect on trade relations, with this current visit coming off the back of an 18 month period in which we have seen more Chinese investment than in the previous 30 years.

Last night, BBC News aired a video report from inside Tibet, including interviews with several Tibetans. The report concludes, "What's not being addressed are the grievances here. Tibetans fear their culture is being eroded, their voices silenced, while the rest of the world looks away."

Links
BBC: Rare glimpse of Tibetan grievances (video 3:04)
China correspondent Damian Grammaticas reports from inside Tibet, managing to evade the ban on foreign journalists. Includes interviews with several Tibetans. A family member of a self-immolator said, "I often feel as a Tibetan I am inferior... we are often discriminated against." Another Tibetan, living near a self-immolation site, said, "We feel the pressure. There were arrests, police came to detain people from their homes. The families do not even know when and where the relatives were taken."

BBC: David Cameron defends China trade mission
Cameron's call for an EU-China free-trade deal has been rejected by the European Commission as "premature". Cameron "said he had raised human rights issues in his talks with Chinese leaders, although he did not mention Tibet in the list of global hot spots he said they had discussed." The visit has received a mixed reaction in the Chinese media, amid ongoing anger about his meeting last year with the Dalai Lama and his stance on democracy in Hong Kong.

Sky News: Cameron In China: Human Rights Discussed
Cameron has denied soft-pedalling on human rights in China to improve his chances of securing business deals for Britain. The PM insisted he raised human rights during talks with both Mr Li and President Xi Jinping, pointing to an important agreement to restart the human rights discussion next year. I dont believe there is a choice between raising growth and investment issues or raising human rights issues. I raised them both, he said.

Guardian: Cameron protests to Chinese president after UK journalist barred
The Prime Minister interrupts discussions with Xi Jinping to express unease over Bloomberg reporter excluded from press conference.

Independent: Chinese newspaper criticises UK during David Cameron visit
Cameron dismissed an editorial in the Chinese government-run  newspaper Global Times which labelled Britain as a fallen power. At the same time Cameron inadvertently revealed that the UK-China rift over his meeting with the Dalai Lama had had no effect on trade relations. This is a trip that has delivered almost six billion pounds worth of deals, a visit that comes off the back of an 18 month period in which we have seen more Chinese investment than in the previous 30 years, he said.

Reuters: Newspaper accuses Cameron, on trade trip, of meddling in Chinas affairs
Guardian: Cameron dismisses Chinese depiction of Britain as historical relic

Xinhua: China, UK to boost ties as Cameron voices stance on Tibet
According to Xinhua, "Cameron, whose China tour was delayed since his last meeting with the Dalai Lama in May 2012, said Britain respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support "Tibet independence"."
(
Xinhua is Chinas official news agency run under the auspices of the Chinese government. The UK's stance on Tibet has not changed in recent years, and is similar to that of other western countries.)

China Daily: Chinas rise an opportunity for UK
China Daily says Cameron declared that Britain will act as Chinas strongest advocate in the West. It added, [Premier] Li said Cameron confirmed with him on Monday that Britain respects Chinas territorial and sovereign integrity and core interests.
(China Daily is run under the auspices of the Chinese government)

Editorials & Opinions
Guardian: Comment - David Camerons mixed signals to China dont do Britain any favours
Cameron in ChinaKerry Brown says, Camerons trade mission to China is a piece of theatre that falls short of the diplomacy we need. He suggests Cameron is missing an opportunity to speak out. He says, Trade between the UK and China in the past year has been robust. Ironically... Cameron may well feel emboldened to speak about rights violations more strongly, because [the political fallout following the Dalai Lama meeting] seems not to have any adverse economic impact.  He argues that, Dextrous politicians can even get powerful points across about such sensitive topics as Tibet and Xinjiang. Instability and social unrest led by resentful populations who feel they have had a rough deal are hardly the best building blocks for business... This gives outsiders the locus to comment and to express concern about justice in China.

Telegraph: Blog - David Camerons kowtowing to China earns deserved slapdown from Brussels
Peter Taylor, chief political commentator, says, we should thank the EU for pouring cold water on Camerons increasingly sordid and humiliating journey around China which included failing to mention amongt other issues the destruction of Tibet; contempt for human rights; the absence of free speech; the oppression of large sections of the population.

Financial Times: Editorial - Camerons zigzag approach to China
The Financial Times says Cameron has been muddled and inconsistent in his strategy towards China, lurching from criticism of human rights to boosting trade with China. It concludes that it would have been far better if Mr Cameron, from the start, had been more nuanced and pragmatic in his approach and in his language toward the emerging superpower.

Global Times: Editorial - China wont fall for Camerons sincerity
The Global Times says Camerons visit can hardly be the end of the conflict between China and the UK. It adds Beijing needs to speed up the pace of turning its strength into diplomatic resources and make London pay the price for when it intrudes into the interests of China. It also declares, The UK, France and Germany dare not make joint provocations toward China over the Dalai Lama issue.
(The Global Times is a Chinese state-run tabloid newspaper)

Metro: Opinion - China trip: Salesman David Cameron has sold our principles down the Yangtse
Alex Stevenson says, Team Camerons goal was to try to persuade as many Chinese businesses as possible to invest or trade in the UK. They set about their work with aplomb but in doing so paid a price. Chinas terrible human rights record was put firmly on the backburner, for example. The issues were discussed, No 10 insists, but it didnt seem like there had been any real thrust to the talks.

The Spectator: Opinion - David Camerons craven surrender to China follows a pattern
Opinion by Jonathan Mirsky, who says Camerons praise of Chinas leaders for setting goals for reform including the judicial protection of human rights are misguided. Mirsky says, Whatever judicial human rights protection the Prime Minister imagines has come about in China, it does not exist. Indeed, one of the notable things about the new president, Xin Jinping, is his reemphasizing the need for tougher treatment of dissidents, using Mao Zedongs memory as a model.

Times: Chinas sins arent all about the Dalai Lama
(subscription required)
Opinion by Hugo Rifkind, who says Everyone will ask [Cameron] about the Dalai Lama. Theyll forget the workers shoring up Beijings economic miracle. He adds, Chinas rise is one great big human rights violation and were in it up to our necks... [with] our dirt cheap electronics. He concludes, Its hard to envisage a future [for China] that looks anything like the sort of economy even the most ardent free marketeer could countenance at home.


Monday 2 December 2013
Cameron & Li KeqiangCameron arrived in China on Monday, meeting Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People (pictured right). After the meeting, according to Reuters, Cameron said, "China's transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime ... I see China's rise as an opportunity, not just for the people of this country but for Britain and the world."

When responding to journalists' questions whilst on the plane to China, Cameron was non-committal on the plane about raising Tibet, but said nothing was "off limits" in relations with China.

Links
BBC: David Cameron on trade mission to China (video 2:19)
Cameron meets Premier Li Keqiang with whom he holds a press conference, though no questions are allowed. He also meets President Xi Jinping though it is not yet clear what was discussed. In interview an with BBC, Cameron says,
"We have a very strong and full relationship between Britain and China and that includes a human rights dialogue. We are one of the few countries to have that relationship with China. But very much top [of my agenda] here in China is making sure we secure those British jobs at home and that British investment to help achieve our economic growth."

BBC: Cameron hypocritical on Chinas human rights record (audio, 6 mins)
Discussion on BBC Radio 4 on whether or not Cameron should raise human rights with China. Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese politics at Sydney University, called the Prime Minister hypocritical, saying, A couple of years ago when he met the former Premier Wen Jiabao, David Cameron was very vociferous about rights issues in public... now he doesnt want to talk about those issues. He added, If you cant talk about these tough things when you go to Beijing and meet them one to one, then when can you talk to them?

Richard Ottaway, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said, Cameron has a pretty good record on human rights... he hasnt hesitated to express his views when appropriate but right now the focus is on trade. He also said,
We dont engage in megaphone diplomacy, you have to do this in private, otherwise it would just be counter-productive.

BBC:
David Cameron promises China 'growth partnership'
Writing in Chinese magazine Caixin, Mr Cameron declared his ambition to use this week's visit to help forge "a partnership for growth and reform that can help to deliver the Chinese dream and long-term prosperity for Britain too".
Cameron has also pledged to put his "full political weight" behind a proposed agreement to free up trading between China and the European Union.

BBC:
Cameron's China dividend hope
Nick Robinson, BBC's political editor, says Cameron's "promise now to "respect" and "understand" China is the price he has had to pay to thaw what was a diplomatic deep freeze".

AFP
(in Global Post): Cameron emphasizes business in China visit
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang: The UK has voiced its respect for Chinas territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that China expresses its appreciation. Cameron: Some in Europe and elsewhere see the world changing and want to shut China off behind a bamboo curtain of trade barriers. Britain wants to tear those barriers down.

Sky News: Camerons Delicate Diplomatic Dance With China
British investment in China is a necessity for Cameron - which is why he wont lecture it about its human rights record. Article references Liu Xiaobos wife (under house arrest) and Chinas lack of press freedom (barring a Bloomberg reporter from press conference).

Sky News: Dont Expect The Dalai Lama At Downing Street
Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor, asks, What do Robert Mugabe, Bashar al Assad, and the Dalai Lama have in common? None can expect an invitation to dinner at Downing Street. However, he argues that picking fights with Beijing over things they cannot change will not help.

Guardian: My visit can begin a relationship to benefit China, Britain and the world
Reprint of article by David Cameron that first appeared in the Chinese magazine Caixin. No mention of Tibet or human rights directly, but in the article Cameron welcomes the Chinese leaderships vision of comprehensive reform, including issues such as governance and the judicial protection of human rights, and recognising that all types of reform are inextricably linked [to economic prosperity].

Reuters: Britain's Cameron pushes EU-China trade deal in Beijing
Telegraph:
David Cameron arrives in China on biggest ever trade talks
Includes video of arrival ceremony with Premier Li Keqiang (1 min 25 sec)
Express: David Cameron backs Chinas proposal to invest in HS2

subscription required
Financial Times: Cameron defends backing of China-EU trade deal
Financial Times: Britain wins little reward from China in retreat on Tibet
Britain has sold the store, surrendered and totally capitulated in its efforts to get back into the good graces of the Chinese leadership, in the words of several senior Beijing-based diplomats from Asia and Europe.


Sunday 1 December 2013
Telegraph: Chinese reform is good for the UK
Article by Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, that says Chinas reform can benefit the UK. Liu claims the aim of Chinas reform is to promote social fairness and improve welfare. China wants every Chinese person to get a fair share of the fruits of development.

Telegraph: Activists urge David Cameron to speak out over human rights in China
Human rights activists call on Cameron to put principles before profit when he meets with the Chinese President. Includes quotes from Human Rights Watch and the lawyer defending jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Telegraph: Be bold Mr Cameron, were open for business
Opinion by Mark Leonard, Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations
Mr Camerons focus on China is right and overdue, but it is important that he does not shy away from difficult issues. For Beijing, weakness is often an invitation for aggression. American presidents routinely meet the Dalai Lama without meaningful punishment, while Europeans have often been bullied into submission.

ITV: David Cameron travels to China in a bid to boost trade relations
Sky News: China: Cameron Leads Major Trade Delegation
Xinhua: Cameron to be joined by more than 100 business leaders
(Xinhua is Chinas official news agency run under the auspices of the Chinese government)



Saturday 30 November 2013
The majority of the press have quoted a Downing Street source as saying that the UK government has turned the page on the issue of Tibet. As quoted by Reuters, the source said, when asked whether Cameron would raise the issue of Tibet during his trip, This visit is forward looking. We have turned a page on that issue. Its about shifting UK relations up a gear and looking to the future.

Though many reports infer that Tibet and human rights will not be discussed, the Downing Street source also said nothing is off the table. The additional quote was, as reported by The Telegraph, We have a broad-ranging relationship with China where we discuss a lot of issues and nothing is off the table and if you look at the PMs visit to China or his bilaterals here, human rights is an issue we have discussed. 

Many reports carry the result of a poll commissioned by Free Tibet which, as The Independent says, found that nearly 70 per cent of people believe that protecting human rights in Tibet is more important or as important as maintaining good trade relations with China.

Cameron is reported to have joined Weibo (Chinas version of Twitter) in the past week. AFP say his message said, Hello my friends in China. Im pleased to have joined Weibo and look forward to visiting China very soon.

Links
AFP (via Yahoo News): Cameron heads to China aiming to end Dalai Lama row
Reuters: Britains Cameron turns page on Dalai Lama row with China visit
Guardian: David Cameron to distance Britain from Dalai Lama during China visit
Independent: Cameron accused of ceding ground on human rights to boost trade with China
Telegraph: Cameron sidelines Dalai Lama as he heads to China on major trade visit

Links requiring subscription
Financial Times: David Cameron leads huge trade delegation to China
The Sun: Dave dumps Dalai Lama
The Times: PM turns page on Dalai Lama before China visit


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