Chinese Leader Set to Unveil Trade Deal with Britain

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao continued his European tour Monday, meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The two were expected to announce trade deals worth up to $1.6 billion.

Mr. Wen visited the central English city of Birmingham Sunday, where he visited the Chinese-owned Longbridge MG car factory. He unveiled the first new MG car model in 15 years, calling it a potent symbol of friendship between London and Beijing.

Outside the factory gates, a group of protesters demanded freedom for Chinese-ruled Tibet. Some of the protesters' placards read “Cameron and Wen: Human rights before trade.”

Later in the day, Mr. Wen attended a brief performance at the Shakespeare Center in Stratford-upon-Avon, the playwright's birthplace.

After the meeting with Mr. Cameron, the Chinese leader will travel to Germany, where German officials say the issue of human rights will be discussed during a Cabinet meeting.

China is demonstrating a growing interest in Europe, but Beijing's human rights record remains an important issue for European leaders. The Chinese government has faced fierce criticism for cracking down on dissidents and investing in African countries with authoritarian governments.