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Chinese Premier demands meeting with the Queen PDF Print E-mail
[13 June 2014] According to media reports, the Chinese government demanded a meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and the Queen and threatened to scrap Li's upcoming UK visit unless it was arranged. The meeting is understood to be going ahead. Tibet Society responded saying, "Such acquiescence [by the UK] must not be at the price of speaking out on Tibet and human rights.

Initially reported in The Times, Chinese diplomats apparently told their British counterparts the meeting between Premier Li and the Queen was a "deal-breaker" and visit would be scrapped unless it was guaranteed.

The Financial Times said, "Downing Streets willingness to acquiesce to such requests shows how much importance the UK is giving to the bilateral relationship." It also noted that, "the status being afforded to the Chinese premier has also created controversy given Chinas record on human rights."

Financial Times article went on to quote Tibet Society's response, It would seem the UK is kowtowing to Chinas demands in order to curry favour. Such acquiescence must not be at the price of speaking out on Tibet and human rights.

Premier Li Keqiang is due to visit the UK on 17-19 June 2014 and is expected to meet Prime Minister David Cameron and business leaders. Downing Street has said the London summit will include "a wide range of bilateral issues, including trade, investment, commercial opportunities, energy and cultural ties". A spokesperson for the Prime Minister also said human rights will be on the agenda.

The Queen & Hu Jintao in 2005eeting the Queen is usually reserved for Heads of State, such as other monarchs or presidents. In China, the Head of State is President Xi Jinping, whilst Premier Li Keqiang is the head of the government and the second highest ranking official in China. In 2005, the Queen met Hu Jintao, the then Chinese President, during an official state visit to the UK (pictured right & below).

China's demands on the UK are becoming that of a bully. Prior to visiting China in December 2013, it was reported that David Cameron had to give assurances that he would not meet with the Dalai Lama.

The Queen & Hu Jintao in 2005There is also a serious question to be asked, as to whether it is appropriate for the Queen to meet with the political leader of a country which is currently in the midst of one of the harshest crackdowns on freedom of expression and routinely fails to uphold universally accepted standards of human rights.

Is acquiescing to China's demands really sending the right message to the Chinese leadership, to the people of China and all those defending human rights and democracy?

Take Action
Call on Cameron to raise Tibet when he meets Premier Li
Contact your MP and ask if it is appropriate for the Queen to meet with Premier Li
Join the demonstrations in London

Further reading:
Financial Times:
Chinese premier to meet Queen Elizabeth during UK visit (12 June) (Sign-up required to read article online)
Tibet Society:
Background to Premier Li's UK visit

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Family 36; Life 500)
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