China ambassador barred from UK parliament over sanctions


China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has been banned from the British parliament because Beijing imposed sanctions on legislators after they spoke out against alleged human rights abuses.

The speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle and John McFall, the speaker of the House of Lords, said it would not be appropriate for Zheng Zeguang to speak at an event in parliament while members were subject to Chinese sanctions.

“I regularly hold meetings with ambassadors from across the world to establish enduring ties between countries and parliamentarians.

“But I do not feel it’s appropriate for the ambassador for China to meet on the Commons estate and in our place of work when his country has imposed sanctions against some of our members,” Hoyle said.

China imposed sanctions on nine British politicians, lawyers and an academic in March for spreading what it said were lies and disinformation over the treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighurs.

It imposed the sanctions after Britain, the United States, European Union and Canada took coordinated action against Chinese officials accused of engineering the crackdown on the Uighurs.

The British parliamentarians who were singled out by China took the lead in a campaign to limit British investment in China by tabling a Genocide Amendment to trade legislation that was under consideration.

Among those sanctioned were former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and Helena Kennedy, a human rights lawyer who sits in the upper house.

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