While the Chinese government’s sanctions on five British MPs and two Lords members remain in place, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang feels the sting of rising tensions between London and Beijing.
Zeguang was advised on Tuesday that he would be unable to attend a reception held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China in the House of Commons.
After hearing from the sanctioned MPs, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord Speaker Lord McFall decided to cancel Zheng’s invitation.
Conservative MPs Iain Duncan-Smith, Tom Tugendhat, Nusrat Ghani, and Tim Loughton wrote to the Lord Speaker last week.
The Chinese government’s penalties, they said, “directly target” Parliament, legislators, select committees, and parliamentary privilege.
“It is unthinkable therefore that parliamentarians should have to suffer this infringement on our liberties whilst the prime representative of the Chinese government in [Britain] is still apparently free to come to Westminster and to use facilities here as a mouthpiece for his regime,” their statement read.
Sir Lindsay said that if sanctions against British members of Parliament were lifted, there wouldn’t be any issues.
China imposed sanctions after the British government imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.