§ Mr. Maples
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on China's human rights record since 1 July 1997. 
§ Mr. Hoon
Since July 1997 China has taken several positive steps which will bring about closer co-operation with UN human rights mechanisms. These include signature of the international covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil and Political Rights, and agreement to report to the UN under those covenants in respect of Hong Kong. It has received visits by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN working Group on Arbitrary detention, as well as allowing a visit to Tibet by EU Troika Ambassadors. It has also extended an invitation to visit to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. We have been able to discuss issues of serious concern including the death penalty, religion, Tibet and individual cases in our EU and UK/China dialogues. China has also begun to work 57W with the UK and EU on human rights co-operation programmes. Through dialogue we are pressing for further positive steps, including early ratification and implementation of the international covenants, changes on the death penalty and detention regimes.