King pushes human rights agenda in China

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King Willem-Alexander made a point of speaking about human rights during a speech to future senior officials and managers in the Chinese industry. He stressed the importance of a constructive dialogue on the issue.

"It is important that this dialogue continues. We can disagree on the issue, but friends must never avoid issues on which they do not always agree", he said during his speech at the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong in Shangai, AD reports.

The King continued that in the Netherlands the government listens to the citizens and builds on initiatives taken in society. "We call that a participation society. This strengthens the foundations of all levels of governments."

According to him, an essential element of the Dutch governing culture is respect for the legal institutions. "They are the guarantee that people are treated honestly and in accordance with the law. That human rights are respected and that officials maintain their integrity."

King Willem-Alexander's speech greatly impressed Amnesty International. "If you compare this to what recently happened in England. There the Chinese president was visiting and beforehand it was agreed that now word should be said about human rights. Then what the king has done is very important", Eduard Nazarski, director of Amnesty Nederland, said to newspaper AD.

Nazarski believes that the King has created a precedent for the business world to follow - it is normal to raise human rights issue during trade missions.