Human rights should not interfere with Britain’s cooperation with China — Johnson

The human rights situation in China should not hinder productive cooperation between London and Beijing on a number of other issues. This, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday in a speech to members of Parliament.

“I want to live in a world where we have good relations with China. Incidents of human rights violations in the PRC should not interfere with our productive cooperation on a number of issues. I think this is the approach that will be in the interests of the people of Great Britain,” the head of government pointed out.

At the same time, he said, the authorities of the Kingdom intend to take a cautious approach to the participation of Chinese corporations in vital infrastructure projects. Johnson stressed that the current British Cabinet does not want to “go towards rash Sinophobia.

He also noted that the “Chinese challenge to Western democracies” will be discussed at the meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), where this year the United Kingdom presides. Other topics that London plans to focus on will be the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic and job creation in the G7 countries.

“The pandemic showed that the international community was not prepared for this kind of phenomenon. We had different approaches to quarantine restrictions, vaccination, and border closures. Within the G7 framework we will develop a multilateral agreement on combating pandemics,” the prime minister said.

As Bloomberg noted earlier, Johnson expects to hold a meeting of G7 leaders by videoconference in late February. The virtual summit should take place in addition to the face-to-face summit, which is scheduled, according to preliminary information, for mid-June.

On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the kingdom would impose restrictions on doing business with the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC because of alleged violations of Uyghur rights by Chinese authorities. A review of trade relations with China would ensure that London would not export goods to the region that could contribute to human rights abuses.

Organizations that deviate from these rules will be fined for violations of the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act of 2015. In addition, Chinese companies found to have violated human rights in the autonomous region and to have used forced labor will not be allowed to bid for government contracts.

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