British Prime Minister Theresa May has been called out by Hong Kong activists to raise Human Rights issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. Britain is being criticised for readily succumbing to China’s hard-line policies.
Before leaving for a three-city tour of China, May told reporters that she would discuss the sensitive issues with President Xi Jinping. “We believe that the future of Hong Kong should be a ‘one country, two systems’ future and we are committed to that. I’ve raised this in the past with President Xi and he’s shown commitment to that, but I will continue to raise it with him. That’s the basis of the relationship, that we are able to raise those issues,” The Guardian quoted May as saying.
Due to growing international concerns over the violation of human rights in Hong Kong, many prominent world leaders are being urged to address China’s relentless trampling of human rights without any apprehensiveness for backlashes. Joshua Wong, Hong Kong’s prominent pro-democracy activist who became famous during the Umbrella Movement, said that May should speak out on Hong Kong with Xi instead of “having empty talks with Emperor Xi”.
Human Rights Watch’s UK director David Mepham said that May should stand up to Xi over the issue of deteriorating human rights conditions. “Of course, May should discuss trade, investment, climate change, North Korea and a range of other geopolitical issues with Xi. She should not remain silent when rights are being trampled underfoot by the Chinese government,” he said.
The Guardian also quoted Steve Tsang, who is the head of the School of Oriental and African Studies’ China Institute, who said that human rights would not be the agenda of Theresa May’s visit. “China would not tolerate that … The Chinese government’s position is very clear. It’s very hard to see the prime minister and her advisers advising her to pay the price and stand up against that.”