Daily US Times: China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom Zheng Zeguang has been told he can’t come to the British Parliament while sanctions remain in place against a number of MPs and peers.
Ambassador Zheng Zeguang was due to attend a Commons reception on Wednesday, which is hosted by the all-party group on China.
But after protest, Lord Speaker Lord McFall and Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ruled this out.
The Chinese embassy said in a statement that the decision was a “despicable and cowardly” decision that would harm both countries’ interests.
The ban comes at a time when tensions between China and the UK are high.
In March, China imposed asset freezes and travel bans on five British MPs and two peers whom it accused of spreading lies about the country.
It came after Britain’s decision to impose its first sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Despite the ban, the China parliamentary group still decided to invite ambassador Zheng to its summer party on the Commons terrace pavilion overlooking the Thames.
Last week, the five Conservative MPs who were sanctioned – Nusrat Ghani, Neil O’Brien, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Tom Tugendhat and Tim Loughton – wrote to the Speaker voicing their concerns.
The two sanctioned peers – Labour’s Baroness Kennedy and crossbencher Lord Alton – wrote to the Lord Speaker.
“The sanctions imposed by the Chinese government represent an attack not just on members directly targeted but on Parliament, all parliamentarians, select committees, and parliamentary privilege,” they said.