China delegation visit to Scotland is opportunity to raise human rights issues
Ahead of a visit tomorrow (Tuesday 24 April) by a delegation from China's Shandong province to Scotland, Amnesty International has called on the Scottish Government to raise concerns about human rights abuses in China - including the country's continuing crackdown on freedom of expression and use of the death penalty.
The delegation, which includes Shandong's Vice Governor Jia, will be met by Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP and they will visit the Scottish Agricultural College and the Roslin Institute to learn more about Scotland’s expertise in agricultural research.
Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director for Amnesty International Scotland, said:
"This is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to share more than its expertise on agriculture. It is an opportunity to share its commitment to upholding human rights everywhere, as a vital part of a responsible and fair society. We urge Mr Stevenson to raise fundamental concerns about human rights violations in China including the use of torture, execution - in which China is world leader - excessive use of force in public order policing and repression of dissent. As the Scottish Government continues to grow its relationship with China, building both cultural and economic links, we must ensure that it does not do so at the expense of human rights and the lives of people in China."
In its recently published annual report on global death sentences and executions, Amnesty International highlighted China's use of the death penalty which sees it lead the way in executing more people than the rest of the world put together. Due to its secretive practices surrounding capital punishment - data on the death penalty in China is a state secret - the true extent of China's judicial killing is unknown although it is believed to be in the thousands.
During their time in Scotland, Vice Governor Jia and his delegation will meet with Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and visit the Scottish Agricultural College and the Roslin Institute to learn more about Scotland’s expertise in agricultural research. The visit to Scotland follows the First Minister’s trip to China last December. Read the full statement from the Scottish Government, including a statement from Stewart Stevenson Scottish Government's website
The death penalty in China
Thousands of people were executed in China in 2011, more than the rest of the world put together. Precise figures on the death penalty are a state secret. Amnesty has stopped publishing figures it collects from public sources in China as these are likely to grossly underestimate the true number. The organisation renewed its challenge to the Chinese authorities to publish data on those executed and sentenced to death, in order to confirm Chinese claims that changes in law and practice have led to a significant reduction in the use of the death penalty in the country over the last four years.