Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott today warned the First Minister that actions speak louder than words as he called on Nicola Sturgeon to raise human rights concerns during a forthcoming trip to China.
Mr Scott’s call comes as reports suggest that more than 200 human rights activists and lawyers have been targeted in a nationwide crackdown in China that began earlier this month.
In 2012, Alex Salmond was criticised for refusing to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to the UK. It was reported at the time that Mr Salmond offered assurances to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK during a meeting that the visit was nothing to do with the Scottish Government.
Commenting, Tavish Scott MSP said:
“SNP MPs have talked a great deal about protecting the Human Rights Act at home in recent weeks. But our commitment to protecting freedoms should not stop at the UK border.
“In 2012, Alex Salmond faced a storm of criticism for kowtowing to the Chinese and refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama. Instead of taking a principled stance he chose to snub a global spiritual leader and activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Nicola Sturgeon now has the chance to do the right thing and ensure that human rights, not just business deals, are on the agenda during her meetings with Chinese officials.
“We have seen reports that more than 200 human rights activists and lawyers have been targeted by the Chinese authorities this month alone. While the First Minister is jetting off to gala dinners she should remember that when it comes to human rights, actions speak louder than words.
“Nicola Sturgeon should take this chance to act and press the Chinese Government on their dubious record on human rights during her trip next week.”