As Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives in London on Monday on a high-profile four-day visit, the Chinese ambassador here said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – known for raising human rights issues in China – will be expected to ‘behave’ during the visit.
Corbyn will meet Jinping during the banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, and on other occasions. A Labour spokesperson said Corbyn would be using the opportunity to raise his concerns about human rights in China.
Corbyn’s posture during Jinping’s visit is likely to provide an indication of his approach to the November visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Corbyn has been severely critical of the 2002 riots in Gujarat and of India’s caste system.
Speaking to BBC, China’s ambassador Liu Xiaoming said Corbyn should ‘know how to behave’ when he sits down with the president, who, he said, was not coming to London for a debate on human rights.
He said: “I think the State Banquet is for Her Majesty – it’s her show. Either Jeremy Corbyn or others are her guests. I think the British people are very gentlemenly, very smart. They know how to behave on occasions like this.”
Xiaoming added: “You think Labour Party will raise human rights at a state banquet? I don’t think so. We all know China and the UK differ very much because we have different history, different culture, we are in different stage of development”.
Relations between China and Britain have warmed up in recent years, with chancellor George Osborne recently completing a trade and business visit to China. Britain has invited China to invest in nuclear energy, which has raised some concerns.