On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the Speaker of the Commons and the Speaker of the Lords banned the Chinese ambassador from entering the British Parliament when he was to participate in a meeting with other parliamentarians, reported the Daily Mail.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, was scheduled to meet with the Parliamentary Group on China on Wednesday, Sept. 15, but was told by Parliamentary authorities that he could not enter the property.
The coordinated decision by Parliament authorities follows sanctions imposed by the Chinese Communist Party on a group of parliamentarians in March this year after the UK, along with Canada, the United States, and the European Union, slapped economic sanctions on Chinese officials for their involvement in the genocide against Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
The CCP is accused of committing genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
There is abundant evidence that the Chinese regime subjects Uighurs to forced labor to produce goods for export.
Recently a non-profit organization sued five German companies for profiting from Uighur slave labor.
The Center for Constitutional and Human Rights sued Hugo Boss and supermarket chains Lidl, Aldi, and C&A clothing stores because part of their production chain involves slave labor from Xinjiang province.
The CCP-sanctioned Conservative MPs—Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Tom Tugendhat, Nusrat Ghani, Neil O’Brien, and Tim Loughton—wrote to the Speaker expressing concern about the possible presence of the Chinese ambassador in Parliament.
“The sanctions imposed by the Chinese government represent an attack not just on members directly targeted but on Parliament, all parliamentarians, select committees, and parliamentary privilege,” the MPs wrote.
“It is unthinkable therefore that parliamentarians should have to suffer this infringement on our liberties whilst the prime representative of the Chinese government in the UK is still apparently free to come to Westminster and to use facilities here as a mouthpiece for his regime,” the lawmakers claimed.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord McFall, the Lord President of the House of Lords, agreed that the Chinese diplomat should not enter the Westminster building.
“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,” Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.
The spokesman for the Speaker of the House of Commons clarified that the meeting with MPs could take place elsewhere but not in Parliament, at least while the CCP sanctions remain in force.
Richard Graham, chairman of the parliamentary group on China, expressed his disagreement with the situation: “I regret this long arranged event has now been postponed because the best way to discuss issues is to engage.”
The Chinese embassy called the decision ‘cowardly and despicable.’
Sanctioned parliamentarians react to the decision
Nusrat Ghani welcomed the ambassador’s “unprecedented” ban, telling BBC News, “Sanctioning MPs is a direct threat to Parliament and our democracy.”
“We will not be silenced nor intimidated by any regime, and our Parliament will not become a tool of propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party’s absurd sanctions,” he added.
Another sanctioned MP, Tim Loughton, tweeted, “If the genocidal Chinese regime thinks they can shut down free speech by parliamentarians in a democracy there are consequences and in this case, it is that the Chinese regime must not have a platform in the Mother of Parliaments.”
Despite the diplomatic impasse, China is the UK’s second-largest trading partner.
According to The Guardian, in the first quarter of 2021, due to demand for Chinese textiles and electronics, China exported a total of $23 billion to Britain.