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David Cameron promotes democracy in China keynote speech

The PM is advocating democracy and free speech as guarantors of political stability to the Chinese p

Although David Cameron has been urged to address China's human rights record during his visit to the country, he insists that he will not place the UK in a position of moral superiority. Instead, in a keynote speech given to students in Beijing, he advocated that the rule of law and free speech are the best path to to stability and prosperity.

He praised British institutions such as Prime Ministers' Questions, the House of Commons, and an official opposition, for forcing leaders to shape policy in light of criticism. He also claimed that the existence of a juridical mechanism that punishes illegitimate official actions "make our government better and our country stronger", and that our free press gives a platform to those who disagree with our government. He reasoned that the more well-informed a society is about issues that affect it, the more likely it is that its government will reach sensible decisions that command the confidence of the people.

He praised China for its rise in economic prosperity and its contribution to the world economy and requested a stronger, more transparent relationship between the two nations based upon the "spirit of tolerance and mutual respect".

BBC political editor, Nick Robinson, said that Mr Cameron was said to have brought up the issue of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, that evening, although it was unclear to what extent this was discussed. In order to side-step the matter, the Prime Minister will be prioritizing trade matters over human rights, naming the trip a "vitally important trade mission".