Chinese ambassador defends rights record

The discussion taking place in the Netherlands about human rights in China is upsetting the Chinese people, says the country’s ambassador Xue Hanqin in Thursday’s Volkskrant.

It is unacceptable that the image of China in the western world is damaged by ‘unsubstantiated statements’ in the run up to the Olympic Games in Beijing, says the ambassador in an opinion article written for the paper.
The ambassador’s article is in reaction to an article by caberet performer and comedian Erik van Muiswinkel on New Year’s Eve in which he said he hopes that athletes would boycott the games because of China’s human rights record.
Hanqin says that the Dutch arm of Amnesty International recognises the efforts China is making in this area and the improvements that have been made.
Amnesty confirms it has talked to the Chinese ambassador but tells the Volkskrant: ‘China has made improvements on the socio-economic level… but if it is being suggested that there are improvements in the area of traditional human rights than that’s just not the case.’
The cover story of today’s is also about human rights in China and claims that the country’s dissidents are still put into work camps or even executed.
Meanwhile the Volkskrant reports that foreign minister Maxime Verhagen – who has made human rights one of the pillars of his policy – is due to have talks later today with the Chinese ambassador, the sports minister, the head of the Dutch Olympic organisation and Amnesty.

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