Legislator confirms human rights improvement
China's human rights situation is progressing day by day, a top Norwegian legislator said in Beijing on Sunday.
Jorgen A. Kosmo, president of the Norwegian parliament, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua News Agency during his official visit as guest of Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
He said he saw the progress in China's human rights situation from "the development of legislation, the development of public administration and the way the NPC and the government make priorities."
There are three channels for Norway-China co-operation, he said.
The first is direct co-operation of the two governments in the fields of human rights, environmental protection, culture and technology.
The second is discussions between the Norwegian parliament and the NPC on common concerns and transitional challenges like peace, development and global warming.
The third is direct co-operation among industries and financial institutions between the two countries.
Over the past 20 years, China and Norway have witnessed rapid co-operation in all fields, with bilateral trade volume hitting 1.764 billion US dollars in 2003, up 21.7 per cent from the previous year, he said.
Kosmo's China visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of China-Norway diplomatic ties. He said "Norway and China have a long-standing and fruitful co-operation in human rights issues."
"Twenty years ago, it was even impossible to talk about these issues. However, these issues are now open to discussion," he said.
On his upcoming visit to the southwest China provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, Kosmo said these two provinces are specially significant to Norway.
Boasting the world's most advanced environmental protection technology, Norway has always paid great attention to pollution-infested regions like Guizhou, he said, adding that now a programme has been launched there to help prevent environmental deterioration.
Yunnan's significance lies in a scholarship founded by King Harald V of Norway during his China visit in 1997.
Some 90 students of minority nationalities there have been recipients of that fellowship at the Yunnan Institute for Nationalities.
Kosmo, 57, has been a Norwegian parliament member since 1981 and was elected president of the parliament in 2001.
"My biggest wish is that the Chinese people will live better and better lives," said Kosmo.