Chinese President arrives in London for talks

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Britain on Tuesday for three days of talks on economic relations, climate change and security issues, prompting peaceful demonstrations against China's human rights record.

Hundreds of protesters lined the Mall the wide road that leads to Buckingham Palace as Hu, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw rode past in a horse-drawn carriage for a banquet dinner with Queen Elizabeth II.

Some protesters waved Tibetan flags and wore bandanas that said: "Free Tibet."

"He is a world leader with an appalling human rights record," said Alice Speller, national coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet U.K. "He is the guy who congratulated (former President) Jiang Zemin on Tiananmen Square."

Hundreds of supporters of Hu also stood along the procession route, some of them cheering and holding Chinese flags.

In a speech at the palace banquet Tuesday evening, Hu said China was working hard to build a more prosperous society, "featuring a more developed economy, improved democracy, advanced science and education … and higher living standards for the entire 1.3 billion people." The queen said China's growth brought difficult challenges and great opportunities.

"It matters to all of us what kind of country China's people will build, and what role they will play in the world of the 21st century and how this will be perceived by others," she said in her speech. Neither the queen nor Hu made direct reference to China's human rights record.

Blair's official spokesman said the British leader would raise human rights concerns during private talks with Hu, which Amnesty International had urged him to do. The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy, rpeorts the AP. Photo: AP I.L.

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