U.K. Parliament Bans Chinese Ambassador
The British Parliament banned China’s ambassador from attending its meetings after the Chinese government sanctioned leading China hawks in the U.K. government.
A group of British lawmakers led by Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat sanctioned Chinese ambassador Zheng Zeguang from events in Parliament. The move completes a tit-for-tat exchange between the United Kingdom and China, which began after Beijing slapped restrictions on five members of Parliament in March. Zheng was set to attend a reception in the House of Commons Wednesday. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said extending continued invitations to Zheng after sanctions on British officials would not be “appropriate.”
“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,” Hoyle said. “If those sanctions were lifted, then of course this would not be an issue.”
The move comes as the United Kingdom takes a tough stance toward Beijing over its aggression in the South China Sea. London dispatched a fleet of British warships to the region in July in an effort to uphold freedom of navigation, a principle regularly violated by Chinese vessels.
U.S. lawmakers, however, have yet to endorse a similar policy even after sanctions from the Chinese Communist Party on members of Congress. China slapped sanctions on Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) in July 2020, citing their criticism of Chinese human rights abuses. The regime also issued sanctions on ongoing Trump administration officials for similar reasons in January.
China’s new ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, has taken an aggressive approach toward American foreign policy. In his first major speech as ambassador, Qin threatened “disastrous consequences” for the United States if it continues to pursue hawkish policies against Beijing. He also demanded Americans who do not think differences with China can be resolved should “please shut up.”