Relations with China: Xi Jinping Presidency — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 16 March 2023.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 1:30, 16 March 2023

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the matter of relations with China during the presidency of Xi Jinping.

I place on the record my thanks to the Backbench Business Committee for granting this debate. It was put in for at short notice; we wanted to do it as quickly as we could, so we thank the Committee for agreeing to it. It is important that we have the opportunity to discuss the last 10 years under China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and how his time in office has seen a drastic rise in nefarious activities inside and outside China, many of which have been used to attack human rights, freedom of speech and media, and freedom of religion and belief. I declare an interest as chair of the all-party parliamentary group for international freedom of religion or belief. That topic is very close to my heart. It is one of the reasons why I am here and it is ultimately and initially the reason why I asked for this debate.

We speak up for those with a Christian faith across the world, for those with other faiths and, indeed, for those with no faith, so I am pleased to see right hon. and hon. Members here today, to see the shadow spokespersons and to see the Minister in his place. When it comes to speaking up for freedom of religion and belief in China, we could write a book on the number of occasions when China has disregarded it, has discriminated, has persecuted and has used actions that are illegal in any democratic society against those of Christian faith and, indeed, other faith. I am speaking here of the genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang., which Sir Iain Duncan Smith and others in the House and here today have brought to the attention of MPs on regular occasions.