Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today said that the Tory government are taking their lead from the SNP on relations with China.
Mr Rennie called on the UK government to use the visit of the Chinese President to press their government on human rights, violence in Tibet and a range of other concerns.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond controversially failed to meet the Dalai Lama in 2012 during his visit to Scotland following meetings with the Chinese government. It was reported at the time that Mr Salmond offered assurances to the Chinese that the visit was nothing to do with the Scottish Government.
Earlier this year, Scottish Liberal Democrats urged Nicola Sturgeon to raise human rights issues during a trip to China following reports that hundreds of human rights activists and lawyers had been targeted by the Chinese authorities.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“In 2012, the Prime Minister met with the Dalai Lama along with then Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. In 2015, the Tories have made clear that they want a relationship with China focused solely on trade and investment.
“It is a shame the Prime Minister is now taking his lead on China from the SNP rather than the Liberal Democrats.This is a short-sighted approach which misses a real opportunity for open dialogue. Alex Salmond may have kowtowed to China but David Cameron should know better.
“Trade and human rights should not be mutually exclusive. The Prime Minister should take this opportunity to press the Chinese government on issues like human rights, violent oppression in Tibet, cybercrime, and militarisation in east Asia.”