DHARAMSHALA: China is guilty of “large scale and systematic” human rights abuses, said Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of Britain on the first day of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s three day visit to the UK. The deputy PM was speaking at the launch of the first phase of the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the upcoming UK general election.
“The people of China are “politically shackled” to a communist one-party state. We can’t ignore the large-scale and systematic human rights abuses which still continue in China to this day and the very widespread use of the death penalty,” he said.
Relations between the UK and China have soured after the British PM and Deputy PM met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2011. British PM David Cameron was also prompted to cancel a planned trip to China in 2012 after Beijing said its leaders would not be free to meet him.
However, Deputy PM Nick Clegg today insisted that he had no regrets about the meeting saying he would be “more than happy” to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama again . He added : “In fact I would hope that I can meet someone of his distinction sometime in the future but as I say there are no Government plans to do so right now.”
The Deputy PM further said that as China embarks on an extraordinary journey of economic emancipation, the one party doctrine of Communism is an anti-thesis to an open, democratic society.
The comments from the Deputy PM came ahead of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the Chinese Premier later in the day.
The Chinese Premier’s visit is expected to boost bi-lateral trade between the two nations with hopes of generating a series of multi-billion pound trade deals.