Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has rejected allegations that the Swiss government acted subserviently to the visiting Chinese president, Xi Jinping, by not addressing human rights in bilateral talks.
Burkhalter said Switzerland proposed a visit to China by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner and suggested “improvements in the field of freedom of expression and personal freedoms”.
“The president reacted positively [to the suggestion],” he told the Tages-Anzeiger and Bund newspapers in a syndicated interview.
On Monday, Swiss President Doris Leuthard told journalists that human rights, including the situation in Chinese prisons, were among other issues discussed.
Amnesty International said human rights have been coming under increased pressure in China over the past few years. Critics also accused the Swiss police of harsh treatments of anti-Chinese Tibetan protestors during the state visit to the Swiss capital, Bern, earlier this week.
Xi’s visit to Switzerland, including participation in the annual meeting to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a stop in Geneva, is taking place amid very tight security.