China’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Zheng Zeguang has been barred from attending a reception in Westminster after speakers from both houses of parliament said his presence would be inappropriate given Beijing’s sanctions against lawmakers.
Zheng was scheduled to attend the Sept. 15 summer reception at the Commons Terrace, which hosts the All-Party Parliamentary China Group (PG) and the China-Britain Business Council.
After five MPs and two peers blacklisted by China earlier this year complained, speakers from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords said the ambassador was not welcome on the premises.
But Sir Lindsay Hoyle told PG: “I do not think it is appropriate for the Ambassador of China to meet at the Commons property and at our workplace once his country has imposed sanctions on some of our members.”
– James Landale (@BBCJLandale) September 14, 2021
“The speakers in both houses agree that this special PG China meeting should take place elsewhere, given the current sanctions against members, including two members of the Lords,” said a spokesman for Lord McFall according to the BBC.
“I do not feel it is appropriate for the Ambassador of China to meet at the Commons property and at our workplace once his country has imposed sanctions on some of our members,” said House Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
Their decision was prompted by complaints from two members of the Lords and five MPs who found themselves sanctioned by China in March due to proliferation “Disinformation” about Xinjiang, where they claimed that Beijing committed “Genocide” of the Muslim Uighurs.
Among those sanctioned were Baroness Helena Kennedy and MPs Tom Tugendhat, chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith.
The Chinese embassy responded by saying to “Contemptuous and cowardly action by certain persons in the UK Parliament to prevent normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the United Kingdom on personal political gains is against the wishes and detrimental to the interests of both countries.”
Beijing’s sanctions are without reproach, as they represent “Justified responses to the unilateral sanctions by the UK against relevant Chinese individuals and entities based on disinformation and under the pretext of so-called human rights violations in Xinjiang,” added the embassy.
China’s sanctions against British parliamentarians followed the decision of Britain, the EU, Canada and the United States to blacklist a number of Chinese officials, both in Xinjiang and Beijing, claiming that they violated the human rights of Uighurs.
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