|Lord David Alton, left, welcomed China Aid Founder and
President Bob Fu at the Royal Gallery on Oct. 20. 2015.
(Photo: China Aid)
By Rachel Ritchie
(London—Oct. 26, 2015) During sessions in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons on Thursday, the state of human rights and religious freedom in China, as well as specific high profile cases, were discussed, coinciding with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s U.K. visit.
In the House of Lords, the British parliament’s upper house, Lord David Alton, with whom China Aid Founder and President Bob Fu met on Tuesday, raised several Chinese human rights cases by name. Alton also specifically mentioned the name of Chinese rights advocate and blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, in order to demonstrate to Chinese leaders that the U.K.’s stance on human rights and religious freedom would not be compromised during Xi’s visit.
In the House of Commons, Member of Parliament Fiona Bruce was permitted by Speaker John Bercow to to raise an Urgent Question, asking the “Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, [Phillip Hammond], if he will make a statement on human rights in China, following reports that human rights lawyer Zhang Kai imminently faces a severe prison sentence or the death penalty, for defending civil liberties.”
A press release from Bruce continued: “Given the announcement yesterday of billions of pounds of investment from China in the U.K., and British trade and investment in China, is it not vital that we ensure that human rights and the rule of law are promoted and protected in China? Not only is this important for the people of China, and therefore a moral imperative, but it is also surely in our own national interest.”
Fu said that other cases raised by name included those of Wang Yu, whose July detention sparked the widespread crackdown on human rights lawyers that resulted in Zhang Kai’s detention; Joshua Wong, the leader of Hong Kong’s umbrella movement who is facing trial next week; Gao Zhisheng, who was disappeared for three years and tortured in prison; Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Laureate and China 18 member; and religious persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims and Christians in Zhejiang province.
Alton’s and Bruce’s comments can be viewed, respectively, in the following videos: