Beijing: Veteran Chinese pro-democracy campaigners have protested Britain's treatment of an activist detained during Chinese President Xi Jinping's pageant-filled visit to Britain.
Shao Jiang was arrested in London on Wednesday after scaling barriers and standing in front of Xi's motorcade holding placards. His home was searched and computer equipment taken away.
Wang Dan and Wu'er Kaixi said in a statement today that Britain appeared to have jettisoned human rights concerns in favour of securing business deals.
"Britain is sadly lending legitimacy to a regime with no rule of law, no freedom of speech, and with geopolitical ambitions that threaten the security of its neighbouring nations and perhaps the world," the statement said.
"Trade takes priority over basic human rights, and exiled protesters with legitimate grievances with the Beijing government are now no longer safe even the democracies that gave them refuge," it said, describing Britain's actions as "shameful."
Wang and Kaixi were top student leaders of the 1989 pro-democracy movement centred on Beijing's Tiananmen Square that was brutally suppressed by China's Army. Like Shao, also a veteran of the movement, they now live in exile.
Xi's state visit sparked a series of protests over China's human rights record and other issues. Two Tibetan activists, Sonam Choden and Jamphel Lhamo, were also arrested for attempting to unfurl Tibetan flags as Xi's motorcade passed.
All three were released on bail.
Xi returned to China yesterday after a carefully orchestrated visit that included a stay at Buckingham Palace and an address to Parliament.
Organised crowds waving Chinese flags greeted Xi throughout, outnumbering pro-Tibet and human rights protesters concerned about the lavish welcome accorded to Xi.
The two countries signed more than USD 46 billion in economic agreements during the trip.