DHARAMSALA, 15 Sept: China’s ambassador to the UK has been barred entry into both the chambers of the British parliament over Chinese sanctions on British lawmakers.
Zheng Zeguang, the new ambassador was due Wednesday to address a group of members drawn from both the Houses of Commons and Lords who work on promoting UK-China relations but after a letter from MPs who were subjected to sanctions by China, a ban was put in place on Tuesday, pending the lifting of Chinese sanctions on several British MPs, including former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons has stated in a statement that “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.”
The Speaker issued the statement after MP Duncan Smith and four others on the sanctions list wrote to him last week, demanding he bans Zheng from speaking on parliamentary premises.
“If those sanctions were lifted, then of course this would not be an issue. I am not saying the meeting cannot go ahead — I am just saying it cannot take place here while those sanctions remain in place,” he has said.
Lords John McFall, the Speaker of the House has reportedly issued a similar statement.
MP Tim Loughton who was also sanctioned by China lauded the decision to bar the Chinese envoy from entering the Parliament and tweeted “The right decision by the Speaker & Lords Speaker. 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.
The Chinese embassy has called the decision despicable and cowardly.
“The despicable and cowardly action of certain individuals of the UK parliament to obstruct normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the UK for personal political gains is against the wishes and harmful to the interests of the peoples of both countries,” a spokesman from the Chinese embassy has said.
Meanwhile, China also blacklisted MEPs in Brussels in revenge for EU sanctions over its abuse of the Uighur minority, prompting the European Parliament to freeze ratification of a landmark China-EU investment treaty earlier this year.