One of the most powerful figures in the Chinese government, who was accused of human rights abuses when he last visited Europe, arrived in Birmingham yesterday.

Jia Qinglin, the fourth most senior member of China's Communist Party, was welcomed by a host of wellwishers and city council leader Mike Whitby as he landed at Birmingham International Airport.

Mr Qinglin spent Sunday in Birmingham as part of his first official trade visit to Britain, after an invitation from Coun Whitby (Con, Harborne).

During his 24-hour trip he attended a gala dinner at which Nanjing Automotive became the newest members of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

During his last European trip, to Spain in 2004, Mr Qinglin was pursued by protesters who accused him of genocide and torture against practitioners of an exercise and meditation system known as Falun Gong in China.