` Five MPs and two members of the House of Lords were sanctioned by China in March for spreading slanderous rumours and disinformation about the situation in the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang. They were singled out after the Johnson government imposed asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese government officials as well as a Xinjiang security body for alleged “gross human rights violations” against Uyghurs and other minorities in the Chinese region.
Zheng Zeguang was set to speak in both Houses of Parliament, but Peers and MPs led by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Lord Alton and Baroness Kennedy, campaigned to bar the Chinese diplomat from entering the Palace of Westminster. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said: "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."
The Chinese embassy has rightly dismissed this as “a short-sighted, reckless and cowardly move. We despise and strongly condemn this”.
So do we. This petty and vindictive act, done to ingratiate themselves with the Biden administration, can only make things worse. Instead of crawling to the USA, the British government should take advantage of the economic freedom that came with Brexit to expand our trade with China, and indeed everyone across the world, without strings and without the blessing of Washington.