Tory MPs are calling on the British government to re-evaluate its relations with Beijing in view of reported human rights violations in China under President Xi Jinping. The ministers are set to launch a new report on Tuesday (28 June) that will highlight the worsening human rights conditions in China since Xi came to power in 2012.
Titled, the Darkest Moment, the report sheds light on China's attacks on its lawyers, forced confessions of its detained bloggers and journalists opposing the communist regime, restraining freedom of speech and expression, detention of Hong Kong book sellers, and its political stake in Tibet, Hong Kong and other Asian countries.
The report comes days after China criticised UK's decision to vote for Brexit although it vouched to stand by the Sino-British "golden age" ties. Despite the fact that economic ties between the two countries have grown stronger in the past years, the Conservative MPs are urging the government to rethink its friendship with China in the light of "severe deterioration in human rights," the Guardian reported.
"China is not what it was five years ago. It has undergone a 180-degree turn in its political ethos," said Christopher Hancock, a China expert in a statement issued by the report's authors.
He said that other countries who try to transform the political or social trend of China are likely to fail. "However, British citizens can, and must, attempt to change their government's hitherto misguided response to it."
The Tory human rights commission said in a statement: "In light of [Xi's crackdown], we believe it is time for the UK government to rethink its approach to China, to speak out publicly and consistently on human rights, and consider ways it can more effectively promote and protect basic rights that are being gravely violated in mainland China and in Hong Kong."
The statement also added that it recognises "the strategic and economic significance of China" but the UK must speak out "on human rights in light of such a grave deterioration."
The report will be launched by Lord Chris Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong.