Amnesty International: PM has a duty to raise human rights

Tim Hancock, campaigns director at Amnesty International UK, implores Cameron to raise human rights issues:

"Trade between the UK and China is a fact but from our perspective Amnesty International thinks it's vital that Cameron continues to keep up pressure on the Chinese authorities over their human rights record. The visit is against the backdrop of a significant crackdown on dissidents that has been taking place since February following some concerns about a repeat of the 'Arab spring' in China.

"There's always a concern when trade deals are on the table that human rights take a backseat so we'll have to see what Cameron says. We hope the prime minister does make sure that human rights are on the table alongside trade.

"It's encouraging that a number of individuals have been released in the run up to this visit including Ai Weiwei and three of his associates but they were really four people who are well known whilst many others who are less well known have been detained or disappeared or otherwise harassed over the past five months."

"It's important that we recognise and welcome the releases but it's also important that the prime minister does not think that's job done. Many others still remain in situations that we're concerned about."

"Over 130 bloggers, lawyers and government critics have been detained, intimidated and silenced, since February this year.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg and David Cameron should ensure that the pressure on the Chinese government to improve their human rights record is maintained.

"The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the Chinese constitution and the people who have been targeted in this crackdown, have done nothing more than peacefully express an opinion which happened to be disagreeable to their government.

"They must be released immediately, and without conditions. Online calls for protests in China inspired by the 'Arab Spring' have made the authorities nervous and impulsive. The ensuing onslaught of human rights abuses and disregard for due legal process has been to their shame and David Cameron has a duty to raise the issue.

"The prime minister has got to make a stand, we as a nation should set out that human rights are important to the UK. It's important that world leaders in the UK and the European Union and elsewhere continue to pay attention to individuals in China whose human rights have been violated. It's about making a stand but it does have an impact as well because China is conscious of its standing in the world."