Chinese officials ‘banned from attending Queen’s lying in state’

Chinese officials ‘banned from attending Queen’s lying in state’

MPs have stepped up their campaign to ban Chinese officials from attending the Queen’s state funeral as a delegation from the country was told they would not be permitted to see the monarch lying in state.

A contingent from China has reportedly been prevented from viewing the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall after an intervention by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Some Conservative MPs have also raised concerns about Chinese representatives attending Monday’s funeral.

Senior Tories Tim Loughton and Sir Iain Duncan Smith wrote to the Sir Lindsay calling it “extraordinary” that representatives from China should be invited after human rights abuses in the country and the state sanctioning of seven MPs and peers, including security minister Tom Tugendhat and business minister Nusrat Ghani.

Mr Loughton, who is one of the MPs sanctioned by Beijing, said it was “wholly inappropriate” to invite dignitaries from a country which has been accused of committing genocide against Uighur Muslims in an international court.

“China has been condemned by our Parliament 100 yards away from where the Queen’s funeral is going to take place on Monday,” Mr Loughton told TalkRadio today.

“It’s wholly inappropriate that China is being invited. They should be on the same banned list as Russia, Belarus and Myanmar who certainly have not been invited and there are certainly other restrictions on other countries as well, but China clearly stands out.”

Members of the public have been queuing for hours to pay their respects to the late monarch, starting from 5pm on Wednesday after her coffin was taken to the hall from Buckingham Palace.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is not scheduled to attend the funeral in Westminster Abbey, instead sending his deputy, Wang Qishan.

In a letter to Sir Lindsay earlier this week, Sir Iain and Mr Loughton, along with crossbench peer Lord Alton and Labour’s Baroness Kennedy, warned against giving Chinese delegates access to Westminster Hall.

“We are greatly concerned to hear that the Government of China has been invited to attend the state funeral next week, despite other countries Russia, Belarus and Myanmar being excluded,” they wrote.

Sir Lindsay reportedly told colleagues he had declined a request for a delegation from Beijing to be allowed access to Westminster Hall.

The UN recently published an assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang region of China and concluded "serious" violations have been committed there linked to Beijing's so-called counter-terror and counter-extremism policies.

The Government has increasingly signalled a willingness to take a harder line against China and, as foreign secretary, Liz Truss was seen as a key voice pushing for a tougher stance.

Invitations to the Queen's state funeral have not been sent to Russia, Belarus or Myanmar, while Iran will only be represented at an ambassadorial level, it is understood.

On Friday, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said: “Admission to Parliament is a matter for Parliament.”