Economic progress over justice – How Britain remains silent and submits to human rights abusers

Britain has recently done a deal with the devil, as far as some are concerned. They have struck a notable deal with China,; allowing them to build a nuclear plant in the South West of England, in partnership with France’s EDF Energy. A nightmare for environmentalists, but a blessing to both the British and Chinese establishments. Of course, most people by now must have also heard about how China’s vast steel industry has been churning out incomprehensible amounts of steel, and “dumping” it into Britain. Steel imports from China into Britain have increased from 2% to 8% in the last three years.

The Prime Minister David Cameron attends a Bi-lateral meeting with the President of China Xi Xinping during the PMs visit to The Hague.
The Prime Minister David Cameron attends a Bi-lateral meeting with the President of China Xi Xinping during the PMs visit to The Hague.

Many of Britain’s steel manufacturers have closed after being made redundant. This is done at the peril of around 1,200 workers, who have been pushed into unemployment; as well as several small business owners – who feel their businesses, located near the steel industries, will also suffer as a consequence.

After being plastered over the media, this appears to have generated much frustration and opposition – not only by those immediately affected by the deals, but also by those critical of the Chinese regime. Protests have been carried out in London recently, those taking part are unhappy that their country is selling itself to a nation which actively breaches human rights; not only because of the treatment of Tibet at the hands of China, but China’s not-so-great track record of treatment of its own civilians.

Free Tibet protesters urging David Cameron to speak out for justice
Free Tibet protesters urging David Cameron to speak out for justice

“Xi Jinping [China’s president] does not deserve to be wined and dined by the Queen and by David Cameron, because he shows no respect for human rights and for values that British people stand for” says Padma, a Free Tibet student activist, “It’s really important that the UK government starts speaking out on Tibet and not let China bully them into silence over the topic they don’t want to discuss, and that’s Tibet.”

Of course, while this has caused an uproar, far less people in the past have criticised Great Britain’s insidious relationship with Saudi Arabia; which hosts perhaps more astonishingly barbaric policies towards its own citizens than any nation in the world. Laws range from lashing bloggers who criticize the government, and executing homosexuals, to prohibiting women from driving; yet anything remotely like this being suggested in Britain would be deemed completely unacceptable. So why does Britain work with them?

It’s simple. To maintain the flow of the West’s favorite asset – oil. It’s also quite hypocritical that the Conservative government has called for clamping down on Islamic extremism, but supports and turns a blind eye to a state which not only has these laws in its society, but is one of the biggest sponsors of extremism in the world. While Islamic extremism is a growing problem that needs to be dealt with, Britain seems to have a mixed agenda on it – calling for it to cease, while supporting and investing in a country which supports it.

But as the West is dependent on oil, Britain is truly under the thumb of Saudi Arabia. It’s not hard to spot the corruption here.

It gets worse – Britain was one of the main powers of the P5+1 that lifted sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas development. According to Barclay Capital analysts, as many as 400,000 barrels of oil were estimated to be flooded into the West after the deal – strongly suggesting this is perhaps the main motive for the deal being enacted.

Like Saudi Arabia, Iran is the personification of extremism. The notorious revolution of 1979 gave way to a profound change in the nation; with economic circumstances changing for the better, but human rights plummeting as the result of the new regime’s policies. And it still remains this way today. According to Amnesty International, 694 people had been executed by the government between January 1st and July 15th. The country is run under strict Sharia Law, meaning people can be prosecuted and even put to death for “crimes” such as homosexuality, drug possession, and blasphemy, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW)..

As a direct result of the deal, Iran can flood money and arms to extremist organisations such as the turbulent group Hezbollah, who it supports according to Hezbollah’s own leader Hassan Nasrallah. So, that’s two more big sponsors of terrorism and adversaries of human rights sort the UK government supports. Seems that Britain cares so much about extremism, that it even works with those who promote it!

Of course, China’s record on human rights is not superb either. At least 607 executions were carried out in 2014, compared to 778 in 2013. But for reasons we’ve established, Britain is turning a blind eye to this type of conduct once again. While it will likely to be economically bountiful for the nation, it shows that Britain has all but abandoned its tolerance for universal human rights; for the sake of its own interests.

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