Cameron to urge China for democracy, free media and independent courts

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Beijing, Nov 10 (ANI): British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is on a high-profile state visit to Beijing, would reportedly use a public speech to urge China for organising democratic elections, a free media and independent courts, which are vital for a modern economy.

"If I were not in Beijing, I would be preparing for my weekly session of Prime Minister's questions in the House of Commons, where MPs question me freely about the whole range of government policy. All the time the government is subject to the rule of law," he would reportedly say.

According to the Daily Mail, he would insist that greater economic freedom for China must go hand in hand with greater political freedom for its people.

His speech has not been reportedly cleared in advance with the Chinese, and will not be shown on state TV because of the fear that a negative response could threaten Cameron's aim of persuading China to help drag Britain out of the economic crisis by doubling bilateral trade to 62 billion pounds by 2015.

He would also stress that China's astonishing economic rise, which is likely to see it overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy by 2040, should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.

"People ... can try and shut China out, or welcome China in, to a new place at the top table of global affairs. Britain wants a relationship with China that is 'strong on trade, strong on investment, strong on dialogue," Cameron will say.

His remarks come at a particularly sensitive time for the one-party Chinese state.

On Tuesday, officials had barred the lawyer of Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who has been jailed for 11 years for calling for political reform, from travelling to the UK.

Although Cameron avoided talking about the Liu's plight directly with the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, he is expected to raise his concern at a lavish banquet thrown in his honour at Beijing's Great Hall, the paper said.

On his last visit to China, as leader of the opposition in 2007, Cameron had prompted anger among Communist Party officials by making a similar but more measured call for democracy.

The Prime Minister's decision to use today's speech to students at Beida University in Beijing to proclaim the virtues of democracy is likely to cause similar tensions, the paper added. (ANI)

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