Chinese ambassador to UK barred from Parliament over sanctions column

China’s ambassador to Britain has been barred from Parliament and told he was unable to enter the structure for a discussion he was booked to give on Wednesday.

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said Tuesday it was not “fitting” for the Chinese ambassador, Zheng Zeguang, to enter Parliament since China forced sanctions against seven British parliamentarians over their analysis of Beijing’s human rights record.

Zheng was expected to go to a reception in the House of Commons coordinated by a cross-party parliamentary group on China.

John McFall, Hoyle’s counterpart in the upper chamber, the House of Lords, agreed that the booked meeting “should happen elsewhere, considering the current sanctions against members.”

China forced sanctions on seven British legislators in March, including senior Conservative lawmakers Iain Duncan Smith and Tom Tugendhat, who have stood in opposition to China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority in the far-west Xinjiang region.

The move came soon after Britain, the US, Canada and the European Union endorsed Chinese officials over Xinjiang.

The endorsed parliamentarians welcomed the boycott, saying permitting Zheng in the Parliament building would have been “an affront.”

The Chinese Embassy in the UK condemned the move and said it will hurt the interests of the two nations.

“The despicable and cowardly activity of specific people of the UK Parliament to block ordinary trades and co-activity among China and the UK for personal political additions is against the desires and destructive to the interests of the people groups of the two nations,” the embassy said in a statement.

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