China's new consulate in Belfast will be focus of human rights protest Amnesty promises

Amnesty International has said that a new Chinese government consulate in Northern Ireland will become a focus of protest for those concerned with China's atrocious human rights record. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Belfast today to open the consulate.

The human rights organisation called on the Northern Ireland Executive to raise concerns about human rights abuses in China - including the country's continuing crackdown on freedom of expression and religion and the widespread use of torture and the death penalty.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director for Amnesty International said:

“The opening of the Chinese consulate should be an opportunity for the Northern Ireland Executive ministers to share concerns about human rights violations in China including the use of torture, execution - in which China is world leader - repression of religion and dissent.

“As the Northern Ireland Executive continues to grow its relationship with the Chinese government, it would be a betrayal of ordinary Chinese people if it does so at the expense of human rights.

“Even if Northern Ireland politicians are unwilling to speak out in defence of basic human rights, then at least ordinary people may be able to make the consulate a focus to demonstrate concern at China's atrocious human rights record.”

In its recently published annual report on global executions, Amnesty highlighted China’s use of the death penalty which sees it execute 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 and the true extent of China's judicial killing is unknown, but Amnesty believes thousands are executed and sentenced to death there every year.

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