Liverpool, Shanghai and human rights
Yesterday I was dispatched to the waterfront to interview the top man in a Chinese delegation to Liverpool, following on from the city's presence at the World Expo in Shanghai.
You can read my report HERE.
Council leader Joe Anderson was also present and we did a brief interview.
As we were drawing to a close he said this to me: "People have said to us 'what about the human rights issue?'
"We are able to raise this issue in a private way because of the strength of our relationship [with Shanghai]. We don't lose sight of that either."
To be clear I had not asked him about the issue, Cllr Anderson volunteered this quote.
I am aware that the issue was raised at the full council meeting earlier this month by the Greens, they put down an amendment to a motion which stated:
"Council resolves to use its fruitful relationship with Shanghai and China to lobby for trade links which avoid exploitation and encourage trade union and human rights.
"Council requests the Leader and the Liverpool Chinese Business Champion to press for the recognition of such rights and responsibilities."
The motion was defeated.
The reason I mention all this is because it is the first time I am aware of the human rights question being raised publicly.
I was discussing this today with someone who said that they were surprised political activists had not lobbied the council to raise the matter with Shanghai.
You'll remember that David Cameron came under pressure during his recent visit to China over human rights.
In Liverpool it has not been an issue in the same way. Why?