On human rights we’re equal opportunities hypocrites.

Iain Macwhirter

IMAGINE the scene: the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, clinking glasses with the Queen, riding in the gold coach down Whitehall, knocking back pints with the Prime Minister in a typical English pub.

Outrageous. Unthinkable. The very idea. Putin is a deeply authoritarian figure who has threatened the security of neighbouring countries like Ukraine, exploited tensions in the Middle East and rigged elections at home.

But at least Russia is a democracy, albeit a flawed one, and Putin was elected by universal franchise. President Xi of China, who got the full royal treatment last week, isn’t elected by anyone. The Chinese military build-up and sabre-rattling at Japan and Taiwan, is a more sinister threat than Putin’s in eastern Europe.

Xi Jinping is the head of an oppressive, communist dictatorship responsible for countless breaches of human rights, oppression of religious minorities, illegal occupations, industrial-scale cybercrime and the censorship of electronic media and…

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