Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 398f. Updated Friday, 28 February 2014

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Human rights on table in China

The 15th officials-only meeting of Australian and Chinese diplomats has been held in Beijing.

The Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue was held at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

Beginning in 1997 as an officials-only meeting between foreign ministries, the dialogue has evolved into a wide-ranging discussion between parliamentarians, senior officials from a range of Government Agencies, and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The dialogue allows senior representatives of both Governments to discuss human rights issues, including progress on technical cooperation.

Australian concerns raised

As in the past, the Australian delegation raised ongoing human rights concerns in China, including freedom of expression, assembly and religion, the treatment of political activists, press freedoms, use of the death penalty, as well as Tibet and Xinjiang, DFAT said.

Deputy Secretary of DFAT, Gillian Bird led the Australian delegation for the talks, which were held on 20 February 2014.

Other delegates included the chairman of the Australian Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee, Luke Simpkins; the Deputy, Senator Anne McEwen; President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs; and other representatives of the Commission and a range of Australian Government Agencies.

The Chinese delegation was led by Vice-Minister of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Baodong and included delegates from the State Administration of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Council Working Committee on Child and Women.

The Australian delegation and Chinese non-government organisations and human rights and legal academics met the next day in Beijing.

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