- Shen Yun
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Last Tuesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague met with the Vice-Premier before attending a banquet together at the Royal Courts of Justice, hosted by the China-Britain Business Council. After the meeting, Hague said they had discussed trade and investment, the G20, Iran and North Korea, as well as human rights.
Yet it seems it is business that's really been top of the agenda. The UK is facing an annual budget deficit of well over 100 billion pounds. And with the British government laying off more than 300,000 public sector workers, they're looking to the private sector to grow the economy.
Vice-Premier Li was accompanied by a 150-member business and political delegation. They signed trade agreements with an estimated value of 2.6 billion pounds. This includes a 10 million pound deal that will see Scottish technology used in Chinese renewable energy plants.
[Vince Cable, UK Business Secretary]:
"In conclusion, I'd say yes, there are issues. There are challenges. That's life and it’s business, but working together is in both our country's interests and the rewards are worth the effort."
Yet many feel that taking a stance on China's human rights record is more important than establishing cozy business relations with the Chinese regime.
Protestors often follow Chinese leaders closely when they conduct overseas visits, and this visit was no different.
[Stephanie Brigden, Director of Free Tibet, UK]:
"We're here to remind the British government that they need to take a firm position on human rights, in Tibet and in China. And that's not just our position in Free Tibet. We commissioned a survey, in November of last year, and 7 out of 10 British people believe that promoting human rights in Tibet is as important as good trade relations, so if the British government is going to engage with China, they need to respect all the opinions of the British people, even in these difficult economic times."
Andrew Moody, NTD News, London.