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King Harald: “I want to discuss human rights issues with China”

His Majesty King Harald answered questions from the Norwegian press during the second day of the royal state visit to China. He was then asked question on his views on the human rights in China. King Harald says China has made economic progress, but there is still a way to go with human rights. “We will have a dialogue with China about this,” said His Majesty to Norwegian state television NRK.

“Economically, there is progress in China, and then there are other areas where they may not have such great progress. We who come from the West are especially concerned with human rights. We will have a dialogue with China about this, and we will certainly be given an opportunity to address this later,” said King Harald to NRK.

“We have not taken it up for now, because we have not met the right people”, added the King who is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday of next week.

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The royal couple was also asked a question regarding the UN report which shows that one million people from the Uighurgur minority are in rehabilitation camps in the country. “I did not know this before I saw it in the newspaper, but I certainly think that’s the case,” said King Harald. The last time King Harald was on a state visit to China, in 1997, he also took up the human rights in the country. Then he told Chinese authorities: “It is necessary that people have the freedom to form interest organisations representing their interests.”

Another question was whether the King thought it would be fair for Norway to get stronger ties with a nation that has a negative view of human rights. His Majesty replied: “It depends on what ties we make, we must remember that this is and will become one of the world’s leading economies. The train will leave us if we are not at the station to the right time.”

King Harald and Queen Sonja are this and next week on a state visit to China. Follow Royal Central for the latest updates.

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