To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions the Government had with the Chinese government during the state visit to London in October 2015 on reducing restrictions on the Christian minority in China.
12 November 2015
Religious freedom was not raised during the recent State Visit. However, the Prime Minister my Right Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) was very clear during his wide-ranging discussions with President Xi Jinping of the importance that the UK attaches to human rights as part of our wider relationship with China.
We believe that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right. I therefore remain concerned by the restrictions placed on Christianity in China. We are aware of reports of the closure or demolition of churches, the removal of crosses from buildings, and that individuals are being harassed or detained for their beliefs.
We raise the range of our human rights concerns directly with China. We do so during the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, most recently in April 2015. We also highlight them publicly in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy (www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk). We will continue to pursue our concerns both privately and in public fora.