Peking University

Mary Lawlor on the road from Dublin to Beijing

Busy week. Started in Geneva for speech at PBI 30th anniversary conference. I really admire PBI. Their accompaniment and advocacy programme for human rights defenders is very effective. Met some old friends.

Next day went to Beijing. Plane was cancelled but managed to get rerouted. There are 66,600 taxis in Beijing, but you can never get one – ‘black’ taxis were my saviour! Was told you haven’t experienced ‘proper’ Beijing unless you go to Wangfujing Shopping Street and eat fried scorpion on a stick..hmmm….

Went to Peking University to give talk on the role of international NGOs in the protection of human rights defenders and our work to protect human rights defenders globally. The students asked loads of questions and showed great interest. Had a great lunch with our ex Peking University interns who are delightful. Went to a village outside Beijing on Saturday which was very vibrant and colourful. The population is mainly composed of rural migrant workers and their families, and a bustling market was in full swing when we were there. Off to Strasbourg early on Wednesday morning for a round table in the Council of Europe on human rights defenders.