Blair's foreign policy mocked

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR'S whirlwind love-in with China was interrupted yesterday when he arrived in Hong Kong and was confronted by Martin Lee, the leader of the Democratic Party, the largest party in the former British colony.

Mr Lee told Mr Blair that Hong Kong democrats did not object to foreign leaders voicing their views in China but were upset when their activities in Peking, made "our work more difficult".

He mocked Britain's new "ethical foreign policy'' as being nothing more than an "economic foreign policy" and said that although he understood Britain had to pursue business interests in China "this mustn't be at the expense of human rights or the maintenance of the rule of law in Hong Kong".

Mr Lee compared Mr Blair's visit to China unfavourably with that of President Bill Clinton who he said had raised the questions that needed raising.

A visibly exasperated Mr Blair said he had frequently raised human rights issues. "I can't make it any clearer," he said. However, he favoured creating good relations with China, which he believed would also be good for Hong Kong. "If people want me to say we're going to wreck relations with China, I'm not in favour of that."