Reuters: British opposition leader raises human rights with China’s Xi

Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:41 pm BST

■ Britain’s main opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, raised “the issues of human rights” and the impact of cheap Chinese imports on Britain’s steel industry at a “cordial” meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

Corbyn had promised to raise criticism of China‘s rights record during Xi’s four-day visit to Britain, in a challenge to the government’s stance to raise such issues discreetly, behind the scenes, rather than hectoring Beijing in public.

In a short statement, the Labour Party said Corbyn had “raised the issues of human rights and the impact of Chinese imports on the UK steel industry” at the meeting with Xi at Buckingham Palace.

He also discussed climate change and the history of ties between China and Britain, it said, offering no other details.

Xi met Corbyn, a far-left lawmaker and rights campaigner who was elected of the Labour Party last month, during a state visit to Britain designed to seal billions of pounds in business deals and cement closer economic ties between the two countries.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron hopes the visit, which includes an audience with Queen Elizabeth will win a lucrative place for Britain as China’s closest friend in the West.

Hailed as the start of a “golden era” in Sino-British relations, the visit has been criticised by activists who accuse Cameron of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.

(Reporting by William James and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Alison Williams)

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