Britain’s top diplomat raises human rights concerns with China but stresses “pragmatic” relationship

BEIJING (AP) — British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says he has raised concerns over China’s human rights record during a visit to Beijing on Wednesday. He also stressed the importance of maintaining a “pragmatic” working relationship with China and reopening channels of communication. The trip is the first by a U.K. foreign secretary to China in more than five years. It’s an attempt to thaw relations that have grown increasingly frosty in recent years over issues including Beijing’s crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong, a former British colony, abuses against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, and China’s support for Russia. The visit divided opinion in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, and some lawmakers criticized it as a form of appeasement.