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Dr Eva Pils (King’s College), Matteo Mecacci (International Campaign for Tibet), Isabel Hilton (, Corinna-Barbara Francis (Independent Consultant), Ellen Bork (Henry Jackson Society), Dr Dibyesh Anand (University of Westminster) 

The Centre for the Study of Democracy (Department of Politics and International Relations), invites to you a roundtable discussion with a panel of experts. Chinese President Xi Jinping is making a state visit to the UK and there has been an unprecedented bonhomie in China-UK relations at the inter-governmental level. British leaders have gone out of their way to re-assure China that they want to be the most favoured partner on the European continent and even welcomed Chinese investment in a strategic sector like nuclear power. Contentious issues of Hong Kong, human rights, and Tibet have been ignored. What is the significance of this for the British people in terms of economy and foreign policy? Does this relation have an impact on the position of the UK via-a-vis USA and Europe? Where do the issues of human rights and democracy for people inhabiting People’s Republic of China fit it? Is this a new dawn of cooperation based on promotion of business interests at the cost of human interests?

Attendance is free, online registration required.

About the Speakers

Dr Dibyesh Anand is Head of the Department and a Reader in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations. His research areas include majority-minority relations in China and India, Tibet issue, and China-India relations. He is the author of Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination, Tibet: A Victim of Geopolitics, Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear and several articles and papers on security, identity, and Asian politics. He is currently working on a project on China-India border dispute and on colonial practices of postcolonial states of Asia.

Ellen Bork is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) and an Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She has also worked for Freedom House where she directed projects assisting activists and dissidents around the world. She previously served as deputy director of the Project for the New American Century, adviser to the Chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, professional staff member for Asia and the Pacific at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She has published extensively in prominent newspapers and has degrees from Yale University and Georgetown University Law Centre.

Corinna-Barbara Francis is an independent consultant on international advocacy projects, EU and international rights mechanisms, NGO fund-raising and capacity-building training. She has also been a Fulbright-Hays Research Fellow and an Assistant Professor researching and publishing on China’s politics, emerging civil society and property rights in emerging third sector.

Isabel Hilton is currently the Editor and CEO of and is a prolific writer and commentator on issues relating to China and the environmental challenges faced by Asia. Her columns regularly appear on The Guardian, New Yorker, The Economist and several other magazines and newspapers. 

Matteo Mecacci is the President of International Campaign for Tibet and a defender of human rights and democracy. He is a former Italian member of Parliament and served as a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and was a member of the Italian delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He has served in various capacities in different organisations campaigning for democracy and human rights.

Dr Eva Pils is a Reader in Transnational Law at the Dickson Pool School of Law at King’s College London and an expert on human rights, law and society in China. She was earlier an associate professor at the faculty of law of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She studied in Heidelberg, London and Beijing, gaining a PhD in law from University College London. Her current scholarship focuses on human rights and law in China and her book China’s human rights lawyers: advocacy and resistance was published in 2014.

Organiser: Dr Dibyesh Anand