Xi Visits Britain Amid Human Rights Criticism

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Britain for a four-day visit that the British government is touting as an opportunity for the two countries to boost trade and investment, while human rights advocates urge questions about China’s human rights record.


Xi was greeted by Queen Elizabeth Tuesday at Buckingham Palace during a lavish welcoming ceremony. Later in the day, Xi will address Britain’s parliament and attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. His trip also includes talks Wednesday with Prime Minister David Cameron, dinner at Cameron’s country retreat and visits to businesses.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, talks with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond after arriving at Heathrow Airport, London, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

Cameron’s office said this week some $46 billion worth of deals will be completed, and that Britain and China will also discuss cooperation related to the threat of terrorism and extremism.

Human rights advocates are planning protests throughout Xi’s visit and calling for Cameron to address China’s human rights record with the Chinese leader.

A spokeswoman for Cameron said Monday that “nothing is off the table.”

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia pose in this undated photo released by his family on October 3, 2010.

The group Freedom Now, which represents detained Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, released a letter Tuesday written by 12 fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners urging Cameron to call on China to set the pair free.

The laureates, including Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, also ask that Cameron push for Liu Xia to be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.