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Call for President Trump to tackle religious freedom in China

by Eno Adeogun

US and Chinese companies have signed business deals valued at nine billion US dollars (£6.84 billion) during a visit by President Donald Trump in a traditional move aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing's trade practices.

However, religious freedom campaigners hope he will put pressure on President Xi Jinping to ease restrictions on churches.

Spokesman for Release International, Andrew Boyd told Premier's News Hour he hopes Mr Trump won't stay silent during a time where cases of things like officials removing crosses from churches are rising.

He said: "He's the kind of character who might just speak out, given that he has a lot of advisers behind him who will be lobbying for Christianity and lobbying for human rights and we're really hoping he makes the best of the opportunity."

Rao Aimin/Xinhua via AP

China's biggest online retailer said it pledged to buy American beef and pork worth $1.2 billion (£912 million), but no other details were released of the 19 agreements signed at a ceremony attended by US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

Such contract signings are a fixture of visits by foreign leaders to China and often involve agreements negotiated weeks or even months in advance which Beijing have saved to showcase its importance as a market.

Mr Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar US trade deficit with China a priority for his administration.

He is due to hold talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

They claim cases of things like officials removing crosses from churches are rising.


Boyd told Premier this meeting of the two leaders is significant.

He said: "It's a remarkable state visit that's going on.

"It reminds you a little bit of when Nixon went to China years ago because they are strong and dynamic leaders whatever you may think of them. They are in a position to have some influence."

Listen to Andrew Boyd speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe:

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