Fri, 16 Sep 2022 04:07 PM IST
THE UK has refused permission for a high-level Chinese government delegation to attend Queen Elizabeth's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall within the Parliament complex before the funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19, according to UK media reports on Friday.
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has refused a request for access to Westminster Hall because of Chinese sanctions imposed on five British members of Parliament and two peers for accusing Beijing of mistreating its Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang, reports 'Politico' and the BBC.
While the House of Commons stated that it would not comment on security matters, media reports claimed that China would be present at the funeral but would not be permitted to enter the Parliament building.
Westminster Hall is under the control of the Commons and Lords Speakers because it is part of the parliamentary estate. The move is likely to further strain the UK-China relationship, which has been under pressure recently.
According to reports, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to serve as Head of State of a country with which the UK has diplomatic relations. Wang Qishan, the vice-president, is expected to be sent in his place, along with a Chinese delegation.
The latest development comes after the sanctioned MPs objected to the Chinese President even being invited to the funeral.
In March of last year, China sanctioned nine individuals and four organisations in the United Kingdom in retaliation for the United Kingdom's sanctioning Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations in China's Xinjiang province.
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, as well as Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat, Neil O'Brien, Tim Loughton, and Nusrat Ghani, are among those sanctioned, with their families barred from entering Chinese territory.
"You cannot have a Golden Age, normal relations, with a country that has now been exposed as committing the sorts of atrocities it has, not least the genocide against the Uighurs, the oppression going on in Tibet for the last 60/70 years, and now what we see going on in Hong Kong as well," Loughton told the BBC.
Downing Street has stated that countries with which the UK has diplomatic relations are expected to attend state funerals. Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar have been barred from attending Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral.
Following allegations of human rights violations against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority group, several Western countries have sanctioned several senior Chinese officials.
China has detained Uighurs in camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where there have been allegations of torture, forced labour, and sexual abuse. However, China has denied the allegations.