Friday, 25 May, 2001

Foreign ministers from Europe and Asia are holding their main round of talks on forging closer political and economic ties in Beijing on Friday. It follows a series of bilateral meetings, notably between the European Union and China.

Speaking on behalf of the EU, the Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, concentrated on human rights issues with her Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan.

Officials said Mrs Lindh had welcomed the dialogue China has had with the EU on human rights, but voiced concern over Beijing's use of the death penalty and suppression of religious freedoms, directly naming the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Reports say Mr Tang defended China's execution policy, saying criminals had to be controlled and law and order maintained.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

Category: April 25 Events