News article

Statement to mark Human Rights Day

Today is UN International Human Rights Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948.

Britain and China were represented on the committee that drafted the Declaration and both our countries sit on the Human Rights Council.

China’s progress on social and economic rights deserves recognition. In 2014 alone, more than 12 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty, and the government continues to expand access to healthcare, education and social services.

China has taken strides to better protect civil and political rights by abolishing re-education through labour. Current reforms aim to produce a more transparent and professional justice system. But as President Xi said during the joint press conference with Prime Minister Cameron in October, “there is always room for improvement”, and the UK will continue to work closely with China to this end.

This year, the visit of the Magna Carta to China and China’s Constitution Day on 4 December have allowed pause to reflect on how far our two countries have come, and how we can engage in meaningful dialogue and cooperation in future. In this new golden era for UK-China relations, we want to deepen our cooperation to enhance rule of law based on the universal principle of equality under the law.

Read Baroness Anelay’s speech for International Human Rights Day