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

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:59 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 1:59 pm, 16th March 2023

That is the problem: the Chinese constantly test and push the parameters. They literally push the borders in that case to test the resolve of the west and those around them to stand up, take issue, object, call out and do something about their abuses of the international rule of law and the basic human rights that we all take for granted. That was one of many incidents. I am sure that many more have gone unreported.

The hon. Member for Strangford did a fine job of outlining Hong Kong as the latest hotspot for China’s oppression of all liberties. There are the ongoing 47 primary national security law cases. The trial of the 47 people charged with conspiracy to subvert state power in the Legislative Council, launched by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy campaign in 2020, officially began on Monday 6 February. The 47 people were charged with conspiracy to subvert state power and organising and planning acts to undermine the Government. That may well be what my right hon. Friend Sir Iain Duncan Smith and I are guilty of under the terms of our sanctions, but we have never actually been fully told. None of the very nice people in the Chinese Communist party head office have written to tell us why we have been sanctioned and on what basis we might be unsanctioned.

All 47 defendants were denied bail and have been held in custody for more than 700 days. The prospect of a fair trial is, of course, derisory. In August 2022, the Department of Justice directed that the case would be heard without a jury and would instead be adjudicated by a bench of three national security judges, who were appointed by Hong Kong authorities.