IRISH LEADERS MUST be ‘forceful’ about human rights abuses when the Chinese vice president visits Ireland this weekend, Amnesty International has said.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has promised that the issue of human rights abuses will be raised during the visit by Xi Jinping.
The vice prseident, who is widely predicted to take over as leader of China from president Hu Jintao later this year, is due to arrive at Shannon Airport on Saturday afternoon.
Human rights group Amnesty International has welcomed Gilmore’s assurance that human rights issues will be raised and urged the government to be “clear and forceful” in delivering the message.
“China’s human rights record is appalling,” said Noeleen Hartigan, programmes director of Amnesty International. “It is the world’s number one executioner”.
“A minimum of 190,000 people are in ‘administrative detention’, many of them in forced labour camps. Human rights activists are targeted for harrassment, arrest, and some have even disappeared, while the use of torture is endemic”.
It is obviously important that we build and maintain trading relations with a country like China. But even in the midst of a recession we cannot let trade opportunities blind us to our responsibility to support courageous Chinese human rights activists risking their freedom and their lives every single day.
Xi Jinping is due to visit Croke Park on Sunday afternoon before attending a performance of Riverdance in Belvedere College. He is scheduled to meet president Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday morning before visiting the Dáil.