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CrazyFruits » WORLD NEWS AND SPORTS FROM SKY » CHINA CANCELS UK HUMAN RIGHTS SUMMIT AFTER AKMAL SHAIKH EXECUTION

CHINA CANCELS UK HUMAN RIGHTS SUMMIT AFTER AKMAL SHAIKH EXECUTION

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China cancels UK human rights summit after Akmal Shaikh execution


China has abruptly cancelled a diplomatic summit with Britain on the subject of its human rights in a further sign of Beijing's displeasure at being publicly censured over the execution of Akmal ShaiKH




The UK-China Human Rights Dialogue is jointly organised by the Foreign Office and the Chinese Foreign Affairs ministry and has been running since 1997.
The meetings, which take place twice a year, are a key part of Britain's "comprehensive approach" to human rights in China, according to the Foreign Office.


They offer a rare chance for British and Chinese academics, lawyers, judges and non-governmental organisations to meet and "increase understanding of human rights issues".
The latest summit was scheduled to begin in Beijing on Monday.
However, the Foreign Office confirmed it had been "postponed" by the Chinese. A spokesman said: "Postponement of our human rights dialogue, scheduled for January, was extremely unfortunate. We are pressing for new dates."
"Diplomatically, this is the forum where the UK and China discuss human rights, so this is important as a signal," said Nicolas Becquelin, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong.
The move is widely thought to be a rebuke to the UK for its public criticism of China over the execution of Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old British citizen who was caught with four kilograms of heroin at Urumqi airport in the far-western province of Xinjiang.
Britain had petitioned China not to execute Mr Shaikh and to conduct a mental health evaluation on him after his family claimed he suffered from bi-polar disorder. However, he was put to death by lethal injection just after Christmas.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said at the time that he was "appalled and disappointed" by China's decision. Ivan Lewis, a junior Foreign Office minister, went further, saying he was "sick to [his] stomach" and that "China cannot expect to receive the respect they yearn [for] from the international community until they abide by minimum standards of human rights."
China responded furiously, and is thought to have cancelled the meeting within 48 hours of Mr Shaikh's execution.
"We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the British reaction," said a spokesman for the Chinese government at the time.
"We hope the British side will face this case squarely and not put new obstacles in the way of relations between Britain and China."
China has cancelled diplomatic summits with the West in the past in order to punish countries that have upset Beijing. In 2007, China cancelled the annual German-China human rights dialogue meeting shortly after Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, met with the Dalai Lama.

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