In reaction to the Chinese government’s decision to apply penalties against British MPs, legislators have barred China’s new ambassador Zheng Zeguang from attending the UK Parliament.
Zheng Zeguang was scheduled to speak in both houses of the UK Parliament, but British MPs led by Duncan Smith wrote to Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, requesting that Zheng be denied entry.
‘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. If those sanctions were lifted, then, of course, this would not be an issue,’ Hoyle said in a statement, adding, ‘I am not saying the meeting cannot go ahead – I am just saying it cannot take place here while those sanctions remain in place.’
The United Kingdom has already imposed penalties on Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations in the restive Xinjiang province, where Communist Party officials are said to have imprisoned hundreds of Uyghurs.
The UK lawmakers at the centre of the diplomatic row slammed China’s policies, particularly its treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Sanctions were also placed on Chinese officials by the European Union, Canada and the United States for their alleged participation in human rights violations in Xinjiang.
The Chinese embassy slammed the UK Parliament’s decision to ban Zeguang from entering the building, calling it a ‘despicable and cowardly action of certain individuals of the UK parliament.’