China’s ambassador to the UK is BARRED from Parliament in response to sanctions being imposed on UK politicians – as Beijing reacts by calling the move ‘despicable and cowardly’
- Zheng Zeguang was today told he is barred from entering Houses of Parliament
- Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lords Speaker also confirmed move
- It means he will not be able to enter the estate for scheduled talks on Wednesday
- The move is in response to seven parliamentarians being sanctioned by China
- MPs included in list have been critical of China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims
- Chinese Embassy in London tonight called the move ‘despicable and cowardly’
China’s ambassador to the UK has been barred from Parliament after MPs and peers sanctioned by Beijing expressed outrage at his scheduled visit.
Zheng Zeguang was told by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, that he could not enter the estate for a talk scheduled for Wednesday.
He was due to meet the broadly pro-Chinese All-Party Parliamentary Group on China (APPG) – a cross-party MP group aimed at ‘widening’ the parliamentary contribution to UK relations with Beijing.
But Sir Lindsay argued it would not be ‘appropriate’ for the ambassador to meet at the Commons while seven parliamentarians remain sanctioned.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and other sanctioned politicians welcomed the ‘strong principled stand’ taken by the speakers.
But Richard Graham, the Tory MP who chairs the APPG on China expressed his ‘regret’ that he would have to postpone the talk.
Meanwhile, The Chinese Embassy in London tonight condemned the move as ‘despicable and cowardly’ and one that will ‘harm the interests of both countries’.
Announcing the ban, Sir Lindsay 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’.
Zheng Zeguang was told by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, that he could not enter the estate for a talk scheduled for Wednesday
With the move likely to enrage Beijing, Sir Lindsay argued it would not be ‘appropriate’ for the ambassador to meet at the Commons while seven parliamentarians, including Sir Ian Duncan Smith (pictured right), remain sanctioned
‘If those sanctions were lifted, then of course this would not be an issue,’ he added.
‘I am not saying the meeting cannot go ahead – I am just saying it cannot take place here while those sanctions remain in place.’
What is the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China (APPG)
Established in 1997, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China (APPG) aims to widen the parliamentary contribution to the UK-China bilateral relationship.
The group’s mission is to ensure parliamentarians are kept well informed on China, and to act as a platform for discussions on all issues of importance to the UK-China relationship.
The group contains MPs from across the various UK parties, and is chaired by Conservative Richard Graham MP.
Its deputy chairs are Labour MP Catherine West, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP – who once said his family had been doing business in China since the 1920s – Liberal Democrat Lord Clement-Jones CBE, and Labour MP Sir Mark Hendrick MP.
Lord McFall’s spokeswoman confirmed that the speakers of both houses ‘are in agreement that this particular APPG China meeting should take place elsewhere considering the current sanctions against members’.
According to the Guardian, It is understood that the Speaker sought the advice of the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, but the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the decision was a matter for the Speaker, and not the government.
Hoyle, meanwhile, said he was not banning the Chinese ambassador permanently, but only while the sanctions existed.
Sir Iain and a group of his sanctioned colleagues – Crossbencher Lord Alton, Labour’s Baroness Kennedy, and Tory MPs Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani – welcomed the move, saying allowing the diplomat onto the estate would have been ‘an insult to Parliament’.
‘We the sanctioned welcome the strong principled stand made by the Speaker and Lord Speaker in standing up for freedom of speech in the mother of Parliaments by supporting those parliamentarians who have been sanctioned by China,’ they said in a joint statement.
Mr Graham had argued it was ‘very important’ for the group to engage with and hear from the new ambassador, who took on the role in June.
After the speakers’ decision, the Tory MP said: ‘I regret this long arranged event has now been postponed because the best way to discuss issues is to engage.
‘This decision is of course the Speaker’s prerogative and we will make new arrangements.’
In March, China imposed sanctions on seven parliamentarians, also including Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien.
In March, China imposed sanctions on seven parliamentarians, also including Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat (left) and Neil O’Brien (right). They are all vocal critics of Beijing, having spoken out against the treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang.
They are all vocal critics of Beijing, having spoken out against the treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang.
China made the move shortly after Britain – along with the US, Canada and European Union – placed sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses in the country’s autonomous north-west territory.
Tonight a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said of the Parliament ban: ‘The despicable and cowardly action of certain individuals of the UK Parliament to obstruct normal exchanges and co-operation between China and the UK for personal political gains is against the wishes and harmful to the interests of the peoples of both countries.’
In March, China’s ambassador to Britain was summoned to explain the revenge sanctions slapped onto MPs and academics critical of the Beijing regime.
The Government reacted with fury as nine China hawks – plus four UK institutions – were targeted by the Communist regime for speaking out on its human rights abuses.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in March he stood ‘firmly’ behind them over the tit-for-tat move, which came four days after Britain, the US, Canada and the European Union placed sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the country’s autonomous Xinjiang.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of those targeted, said in March he would wear the sanctions as a ‘badge of honour’ for speaking out against activities branded ‘genocide’ by the United States and others.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that month the Chinese ambassador would be summoned over the sanctions, branding them a ‘sign of weakness’ from Beijing.
Speaking to broadcasters in March, Mr Raab said: ‘The ambassador here will be summoned and we will explain in very clear terms the position both in relation to the MPs and other figures who have spoken out, but also that we will not be silenced in terms of speaking out about these human rights abuses.
‘And I think you’ll see – as we saw only this week with 30 countries, including the UK, united in imposing sanctions on those abusing the Uighur Muslims and others in Xinjiang – that pressure continue to grow and to rise.’
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in March the Chinese ambassador would be summoned over the sanctions, branding them a ‘sign of weakness’ from Beijing
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of those targeted, said in March he would wear the sanctions as a ‘badge of honour’ for speaking out against activities branded ‘genocide’ by the United States and others. Pictured: Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
The sanctions were declared in March after Mr Raab announced a package of travel bans and asset freezes against four senior officials and the state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau (XPCC PSB).
He said the abuse of Uighur Muslims was ‘one of the worst human rights crises of our time’ and the global community ‘cannot simply look the other way’.
But China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Mr Raab’s move was ‘based on nothing but lies and disinformation, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and severely undermines China-UK relations’.
The Ministry said it had sanctioned nine people and four British institutions ‘that maliciously spread lies and disinformation’.
In March, Tory MPs Sir Iain, Neil O’Brien, Tim Loughton, Nusrat Ghani and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat were sanctioned, along with crossbench peer Lord Alton, Labour’s Baroness Kennedy, barrister Geoffrey Nice and academic Jo Smith Finley.
Huawei ‘infiltrates’ Cambridge: Calls for inquiry into Chinese tech giant’s links to three out of four directors at university research centre
By Katie Feehan for MailOnline
Chinese tech firm Huawei has ‘infiltrated’ a Cambridge University research centre, critics have claimed.
There are calls for an ‘urgent inquiry’ into the UK’s dependency on China as it is revealed three out of four of the directors at the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management (CCCM) have ties to Huawei.
According to the Times, the CCCM’s chief representative is also a former senior Huawei vice-president who has been paid by the Chinese government.
The university insists that one former Huawei executive has never delivered services to the centre while the firm itself has said any suggestion of impropriety is absurd.
Critics have claimed that the Huawei ties is demonstration that the university has allowed the CCCM to be infiltrated by the Chinese company which has been banned from joining Britain’s 5G network.
Johnny Patterson, policy director of the Hong Kong Watch campaign group, told the newspaper the university should investigate the relationship between Huawei and the CCCM.
Critics called for an inquiry after it was revealed three of the four directors at the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management (pictured inside Judge Business School) have ties to Huawei
Meanwhile, Ian Duncan Smith described Cambridge University as ‘one of the worst offenders’ when it came to relying on money from China.
He told the Times that British companies and universities had grown ‘far too dependent on Chinese money’ in recent years and added: ‘The government needs to urgently set up an inquiry into the UK’s dependency on China across a range of institutions and companies.’
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who is head of the China Research Group and chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, told the newspaper: ‘Perceived academic influence is clearly an issue and just as universities would never take money from tobacco companies to investigate links with cancer so institutions need to be very careful about where they accept their money.’
Earlier this year, it was revealed that 20 leading universities collectively accepted more than £40million in funding from China.
The Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management forms part of the university’s judge business school and describes itself as ‘an academic research institute dedicated to the study of the management practices and strategies of Chinese enterprises’.
The centre’s website describes how its ‘chief representative in China’ is Yanping Hu who is a former senior vice president at Huawei.
Chinese tech giant Huawei is banned from the UK’s 5G network amid security concerns
The Times reports that in response to a freedom of information request, Cambridge University said that Hu ‘is not currently and has never provided anything towards or delivered any services to Cambridge Judge Business School or the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management’.
The newspaper claims additional references to Hu were removed from the website after their enquiries were made.
The centre was founded by Prof Christopher Loch, Prof Peter Williamson, Dr Eden Yin and Tian Tao who is described on the site as a senior adviser for Huawei Technologies.
The site also describes how he has written a book on the company titled Huawei: Leadership, Culture, and Connectivity which analyses the company’s growth.
According to the Times, Williamson has written articles for Chinese state papers and backed Huawei when critics have hit out at the company.
Meanwhile Yin, who , co-authored a paper with Tian, Huawei: How Can We Lead The Way?
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith (pictured) has previously accused Jesus college at Cambridge University of becoming a ‘mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party’
Huawei said: ‘We are incredibly proud of our relationships with UK universities and any suggestion of impropriety is absurd and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of academic partnerships with businesses from around the world.’
The university is facing mounting scrutiny over its ties to China with Jesus College being found to have taken a £155,000 grant from Huawei and later ruled positively on the telecom giant.
The college also received a £200,000 grant from the Chinese government in 2018.
In July, it was reported that a professor at the college said students should avoid discussions of human rights abuses in China because it would lead to ‘unhelpful’ and ‘contentious’ outcomes.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has since accused the college of becoming a ‘mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party’.
An estimated 1 million people or more – most of them Uighurs – have been confined in re-education camps in Xinjiang in recent years, according to researchers.
Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents.
Earlier this year, the Chinese Research Group found that twenty leading UK universities have collectively accepted more than £40 million in funding from Huawei and selected state-owned Chinese companies in recent years.
The research found that Imperial College London has accepted between £3.5million and £14.5million from Huawei while the company gave £1.1mimllion to Lancaster University for research.
York University and King’s College London were also among the institutions to receive money from the Chinese tech giant.
Cambridge University has been contacted for comment.
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