Boris Johnson and Joe Biden last night condemned China after it sanctioned British MPs for exposing what the prime minister called ‘gross human rights violations’.
Mr Johnson and the US President spoke on the phone to “voice their concerns” about Beijing’s move after Britain and the United States imposed sanctions on China.
The prime minister said he “stands firmly” behind the MPs and other British citizens affected by economic sanctions, including travel bans, after criticizing China’s mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims.
US President Joe Biden, left, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, condemned Beijing’s decision to sanction several MPs for their criticism of human rights violations against Chinese Uyghur Muslim population.
Iain Duncan Smith, pictured, said being on the sanctions list to stand up for human rights was ‘a badge of honor’
A spokesman for No. 10 said: “ On China, the Prime Minister and President reflected on the important measures the UK, US and other international partners had taken earlier this week to impose sanctions on human rights violators in Xinjiang, and expressed concerns. about retaliation by China. ‘
President Biden said, “ Well, we’ve talked a lot about climate change, we’ve talked a lot about the need for Britain and the United States to stand together and address the whole idea of whether or not NATO stands together. , whether we stand united, and whether or not I would be able, and I hope I can, to the NATO meeting – I think it’s the end of June. So we talked about plans and when I came by ‘
“One of the things I envisioned is – we talked about China and the competition they are participating in in the Belt and Road Initiative. And I suggested that essentially we should have a similar initiative, coming from the democratic states, to help those communities around the world ‘
In a further exchange of hostilities, the UK and China called on each other’s ambassadors.
Rebellious former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said being sanctioned was “ a badge of honor, ” and fellow conservative Tom Tugendhat, who was also targeted, accused China of a “ direct attack on British democracy. ”
Last week, Mr. Johnson was accused of softening the Chinese after his government described Beijing as “an increasingly important partner” rather than an adversary in the Integrated Review of Defense, Security and Foreign Policy.
But yesterday, his stance was hardened when he tweeted: ‘The MPs and other British citizens sanctioned by China today play a vital role, shedding light on the gross human rights violations being perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims. The freedom to speak up against abuse is fundamental and I support them. ‘
Secretary of State Dominic Raab said, “The [Chinese] ambassador here will be summoned and we will explain in very clear terms the position both towards the MPs and other figures who have spoken out, but also that we will not be silenced in terms of statements about these human rights violations. ‘
China has received international criticism over the internment camps used to detain Uihur Muslims, which Beijing insists are for vocational training
China’s charge d’affaires in London hit back, tweeting, “China was not the first to shoot, nor will it be passive or submissive to outside threats.” The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim, non-Chinese ethnic group living in the supposedly autonomous province of Xinjiang, in northwestern China.
According to the UK government, survivors’ testimony shows that more than a million people have been detained without trial, with widespread claims of torture, rape and sterilization in prison camps, where Uyghurs are forced to denounce their cultural heritage, language and religion.
Tory MPs Neil O’Brien, Tim Loughton and Nus Ghani, colleagues Lord Alton and Baroness Kennedy, lawyer Geoffrey Nice QC and Newcastle University academic Jo Smith Finley were also punished.
They will now be banned from traveling to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, while any property or assets they own in the country will be frozen. Chinese citizens and institutions are also prohibited from doing business with them.
Four British institutions accusing China of ‘maliciously spreading lies and disinformation’ have been hit with the same sanctions: the China Research Group of Tory MPs, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, the Uighur Tribunal and the Essex Court Chambers legal practice.
The move has been interpreted as retaliation for the UK, US, Canada and European Union for imposing similar sanctions on Chinese officials they believe responsible for human rights violations.
Beijing has also imposed sanctions on a number of EU officials and European academics.
China expert Charles Parton, who spent more than 20 years as a British diplomat in Beijing, warned: ‘The exchange of economic sanctions is sending us to new territory in the relationship between the UK and China.
‘We have to prepare for further turbulence.’