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Speaking up for human rights in China

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Astragal is not usually noted for its political naivete but, on this occasion, ('China syndrome' - aj 13.5.99) has excelled itself.

May I humbly point out that political regimes are notorious for changing their colours and few more dramatically than the Chinese government. In the years immediately following the Tiananmen Square massacre, there was a tangible move towards a greater liberalisation of attitude, and it was during this period, in the early 1990s, that Richard Rogers Partnership submitted its masterplan for Shanghai - a project which, as it happens, came to nought.

However, following a damning report in April by Amnesty International, citing a significant worsening of China's human-rights record, I felt obliged to raise the issue at the riba Council, prior to the proposed attendance by riba delegates at the uia Congress in Beijing.

The sensible (and unopposed) decision was taken by Council to attend the congress but to be as vocal as possible in airing the RIBA's view of the current regime.

I fail to see how this can be construed as anything other than an honest and positive position to adopt.

Marco Goldschmied, Richard Rogers Partnership

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