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Sajid Javid war of words with China after ambassador banned from parliament

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, have told Zheng Zeguang (pictured) that he cannot enter the estate
Sajid Javid war of words with China after ambassador banned from parliament

Sajid Javid today intensified the war of words with China as Beijing prepares to ‘take revenge’ on the ambassador being banned from the houses of parliament.

The health secretary insisted he could ‘see why’ Commons President Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his colleague in the upper house, Lord McFall, had told Zheng Zeguang that he could not enter the estate.

The diplomat was to speak today with the largely pro-Chinese party group for all parties on China (APPG).

But Sir Lindsay claimed it would not be ‘appropriate’ for the ambassador to visit, while seven British MPs are facing sanctions to fight human rights violations in Xinjiang province.

The Chinese embassy has labeled the move as despicable. And Victor Gao, vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, warned this morning that there would be ‘retaliation’.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, have told Zheng Zeguang (pictured) that he cannot enter the estate

Sir Lindsay argued that it would not be 'appropriate' for the ambassador to visit, while seven British MPs are subject to sanctions to fight human rights violations in Xinjiang province

Sir Lindsay argued that it would not be ‘appropriate’ for the ambassador to visit, while seven British MPs are subject to sanctions to fight human rights violations in Xinjiang province

Sajid Javid

Iain Duncan Smith

Sajid Javid today intensified the war of words with China as Beijing prepares to ‘take revenge’ on the ambassador being banned from the houses of parliament. Iain Duncan Smith (right) is one of the MEPs approved by the Chinese authorities

‘The decision of the two speakers to ban the Chinese ambassador was not helpful and constructive of any imagination,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

‘Do not be surprised if the Chinese equivalent will forbid the British ambassador to China to enter the great hall of the people.

‘And if any further decision is made in Britain, they will be pushed back and retaliated against.

‘Such is the reality of the world today. Anyone who wants to push China to the wall without consequences is doomed to fail. ‘

Asked about the situation during a round of interviews this morning, Javid told Sky News: ‘It is completely wrong for the Chinese government to ban British parliamentarians from calling the gross human rights violations taking place in the country.

‘I can see why Parliament, represented by the President and the Lord Speaker, may have taken this decision.’

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and other sanctioned politicians welcomed the ‘strong principled position’ taken by the speakers.

What is the parliamentary group for all parties on China (APPG)

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on China (APPG) was established in 1997 and aims to expand the parliamentary contribution to the bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and China.

The group’s mission is to ensure that parliamentarians are kept well informed about China and serve as a platform for discussions on all issues of importance to the relationship between Britain and China.

The group includes MPs from the various British parties and is led by Conservative MP Richard Graham.

Its Vice-Presidents are Labor MP Catherine West, Sir Geoffrey Clifton -Brown MP – who once said his family had been trading in China since the 1920s – Liberal Democrat Lord Clement -Jones CBE and Labor MP Sir Mark Hendrick MP.

But Richard Graham, a Tory MP who chairs the APPG on China, expressed his ‘regret’ that he should postpone the lecture.

The Chinese Embassy in London condemned this move as ‘contemptible and cowardly’ and one that will ‘harm the interests of both countries’.

After announcing the ban, Sir Lindsay said: ‘I do not think it is appropriate for the Ambassador of China to meet at the Commons property and at our workplace once his country has imposed sanctions on some of our members’.

‘If these sanctions were lifted, it would obviously not be a problem,’ he added.

‘I’m not saying the meeting cannot take place – I’m just saying it can not take place here while these sanctions remain in place.’

Lord McFall’s spokeswoman confirmed that speakers in both houses agreed that this special APPG meeting in China should take place elsewhere, given the current sanctions against members.

The chairman is believed to have consulted Foreign Minister Dominic Raab before making the decision.

Sir Lindsay said he did not ban the Chinese ambassador permanently, but only while the sanctions existed.

Sir Iain and a group of his sanctioned colleagues – Crossbencher Lord Alton, Labor’s Baroness Kennedy and Tory MPs Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani – welcomed the allegations, saying allowing the diplomat to be on the property would have been an insult to Parliament ‘.

“We, the sanctioned, welcome the strong principled position taken by the President and the Lord Speaker to stand for freedom of expression in the mother of parliaments by supporting the parliamentarians who have been sanctioned by China,” they said in a joint statement.

Sir. Graham had argued that it was ‘very important’ for the group to engage with and hear from the new ambassador who took on the role in June.

Following the speakers ‘decision, Tory MP said:’ I regret that this long-held event has now been postponed because the best way to discuss issues is to get involved.

‘This decision is, of course, the speaker’s privilege, and we will make new arrangements.’

In March, China imposed sanctions on seven parliamentarians, including Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien.

In March, China imposed sanctions on seven parliamentarians, including Tory MP Tom Tugendhat (pictured)

Neil O'Brien has also been sanctioned by China

In March, China imposed sanctions on seven parliamentarians, including Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat (left) and Neil O’Brien (right). They are all vocal critics of Beijing who have spoken out against the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

They are all vocal critics of Beijing who have spoken out against the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

China took the step shortly after Britain – along with the United States, Canada and the European Union – imposed sanctions on Chinese officials believed to be responsible for human rights violations in the country’s autonomous northwestern region.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London said of the parliamentary ban: ‘The contemptuous and cowardly action taken by certain people in the British Parliament to prevent normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Britain for personal political gains is against the wishes and detrimental to the interests of the people of both countries. ‘

In March, China’s ambassador to Britain was summoned to explain the retaliation sanctions imposed on MPs and academics critical of the Beijing regime.

The government reacted angrily when nine Chinese hawks – plus four British institutions – were targeted by the communist regime for commenting on its human rights abuses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in March that he was ‘firm’ behind them over the tit-to-tat move that came four days after Britain, the United States, Canada and the EU imposed sanctions on Chinese officials held accountable for human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in the country’s autonomous Xinjiang.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of those targeted, said in March that he would carry the sanctions as a ‘badge of honor’ for speaking out against activities labeled ‘genocide’ by the United States and others.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said that month that the Chinese ambassador would be summoned over the sanctions, which stamped them as a ‘sign of weakness’ from Beijing.

In a speech to broadcasters in March, Raab said: ‘The ambassador here will be summoned and we will very clearly explain the position both in relation to the Members of Parliament and other people who have spoken out, but also that we will not be silent in terms of to talk about these human rights violations.

‘And I think you will see – as we only saw this week with 30 countries, including Britain, united in imposing sanctions on those who abuse the Uighur Muslims and others in Xinjiang – that the pressure continues with to grow and rise. ‘

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