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

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 2:42 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 2:42 pm, 16th March 2023

I am grateful for the question. It is a good opportunity for me to highlight the fact that the Minister for the Indo-Pacific has met the family of Jimmy Lai. I think, therefore, it would be right for me to give my right hon. Friend the reassurance that that Minister will write to him with an update and an answer to that question.

On Monday, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary set out how we will protect our national security, align with partners and engage with China where it is in our national interests to do so. First, we have already taken robust action to protect UK interests and values since the last integrated review. That includes new powers to protect our critical industries under the National Security and Investment Act 2021; and in relation to Hong Kong, we have acted quickly and decisively to introduce a bespoke immigration route for BNO status holders and family members.

Secondly, we will align and deepen our co-operation with core allies to influence China. That includes being the first country to lead a joint statement on human rights violations in Xinjiang, and sustaining pressure on China by broadening the range of countries speaking out. Thirdly, we will engage with Beijing on key global issues such as climate change and the war in Ukraine. We will continue to press China to join the UK in pushing Putin to cease all hostilities and withdraw his forces from Ukraine.

Under the integrated review refresh, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has set the direction across Government for a consistent, coherent and robust approach to China that is rooted in the UK’s national interest and aligned with our allies. I commend this strategy to the Chamber today.