David Milband in China

I remember the heady days of 1997 and the ushering in of a new Labour government, in fact I think there are still pictures somewhere of me casting my vote ( I lived in England then). The mood of optimism that there really could be a different way of doing things was exemplified by Robin Cook's new "Ethical Foreign Policy". Of course the realities of office meant that once in power ministers realised that they were tied into defence contracts selling planes to Indonesia and arms to Saudi Arabia.

However I think I can be forgiven for metaphorically choking on my cornflakes when I hear Mr " sometimes military intervention is necessary" Miliband trying to spin the Chinese as peace brokers in the Darfur conflict. They may indeed have sent some soldiers to bolster the UNAMID peacekeeping force, but previous to that they were the spoilers when the UN Security Council was trying to pass the resolution to send peacekeeps in the first place. The eventual resolution which was passed was watered down by… yes you have guessed it China

While it is true that China is the world's largest emerging economy and it is important for UK's economy to trade with them, but there is no excuse for compromising on human rights. As we run up to the Olympics we have a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on China and make them aware that the Olympics can either be a great celebration of Chinese culture or a human rights embarassment. Our government has a role to play in this, if Angela Merkel can bring human rights up publically so can Gordon Brown. Don't let me ( or indeed 2 billion chinese people) down Mr Brown!

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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