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Foreign Affairs

Britain bans Chinese ambassador from British Parliament

Chinese Ambassador

The new Chinese ambassador to Britain has been barred from parliament by the Speakers in the Commons and Lords. The imposition of sanctions on British MPs by Beijing.

The new ambassador, Zheng Zeguang, was due to attend a meeting of the broadly pro-Chinese all-party group on China, but after a letter from MPs who were subjected to sanctions by China, including the former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, has said the meeting is not appropriate.

A similar decision has been endorsed by the Lord’s Speaker, John McFall.

Hoyle met a group of the MPs targeted by China last week and afterward in a letter they urged him to consider “the implications of the visit for all parliamentarians who need to be able to speak out as part of their duties in the democratic system we all cherish”.

They urged him to ban the ambassador from the parliamentary estate until the sanctions are lifted.

It is understood that the Speaker sought the advice of the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, but the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office said the decision was a matter for the Speaker, and not the government.

Hoyle said he was not banning the Chinese ambassador permanently, but only while the sanctions existed. China says it imposed sanctions on MPs and academics in March after the UK government imposed sanctions on Chinese officials that it had identified as responsible for the suppression of the rights of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang. In their letter, the MPs argued: “The Chinese government has so far made no attempt to reverse the sanctions, which are a tool to criminalize individuals and limit their freedom internationally. Indeed the Chinese government has taken steps to give legal force to the sanctions rendering us potentially vulnerable to prosecution by the Chinese authorities.”
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