Switzerland: China’s third largest trading partner raises concern over Tibetan rights

Switzerland’s State Secretary Krystyna Marty held political dialogue via videoconference with China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang. The talk focused on economic relations, human rights situation in China as well as Covid-19 pandemic situation.

During the dialogue, Switzerland, China’s third largest trading partner, expressed concerns about the “lack of respect for human rights in China” especially the treatment of Tibetans by the Chinese authorities.

This comes in the backdrop of Beijing based Swiss Ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni’s visit to Tibet between this September which was the first official Swiss visit since 2017.

In a statement on the visit, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs noted that the Swiss Ambassador along with other ten diplomatic missions visited Lhasa and Shigatse and took the opportunity to address important issues such as human rights situation with the local government.

In terms of trade relations, China is Switzerland’s third-largest trading partner with CHF 36 billion. Switzerland has also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on trade, investment and finance for projects in third countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019.

However, China has indefinitely postponed the Human Rights Dialogue with Switzerland due to be held in 2019 after Switzerland co-signed a letter to the UN along with 21 other countries criticizing China’s concentration camps in East Turkestan.


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