Fourteenth Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

10 July 2012

The 14th round of the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue was held on Tuesday 10 July at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.

The Dialogue began as an officials-only meeting between foreign ministries and has evolved to become a wide-ranging discussion between delegates including parliamentarians, senior officials from a range of agencies, and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Through the Dialogue, both governments have an opportunity for a frank and constructive exchange of views at a senior level on a range of human rights issues, including progress on human rights technical cooperation.

The Australian delegation raised a range of ongoing human rights concerns in China, including freedom of expression, the treatment of political activists, freedom of religion, the use of the death penalty, as well as Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Australian delegation, led by Dr Heather Smith, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, includedthe Hon Laurie Ferguson MP, chair of the Australian Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee,representatives from the Australian Human Rights Commission and officials from other Government agencies that handle human rights-related matters.

The Chinese delegation was led by Mr Cui Tiankai, Vice Minister of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and included delegates from a range of organisations, including the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the All China Federation of Trade Unions, the All China Women's Federation, the State Council Information Office and the State Administration of Religious Affairs.

A meeting between Australian non-government organisations and the Chinese delegation took place yesterday in advance of the formal part of the Dialogue.