UK in crosshairs: British MPs targetted by China as IDS warns of 'disaster for world'

Their comments came after the Chinese Communist Party slapped sanctions on a number of MPs, including former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith. The move was made in response to the UK placing their own measures on Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses.

Beijing has been accused of the torture and forced labour of the Uighur Muslims at internment camps in Xinjiang.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had sanctioned British MPs who “maliciously spread lies and disinformation” about the treatment of Uighurs.

Speaking to after being sanctioned, Sir Iain said China was “a bully on the world stage because they want their way and they don’t brook any dissent”.

He added they were “trying to silence free speech”.

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The senior backbench Tory demanded tougher action from the Government in dealing with Beijing’s actions, warning the future of democracy was at stake.

“China has got very rich through Western business pumping money into China,” he said.

“They are now in a very, very strong position economically.

“They are trying to be a superpower economically and militarily which would spell disaster for the free world.”

As well as Sir Iain, seven other individuals were sanctioned, including the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat.

In a statement, Tom Tugendhat warned the actions from Beijing were “profoundly sinister”.

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“If Beijing want to credibly rebut claims of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, it should allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights full access to verify the truth.”

However, Sir Iain described the statement from the minister as “weak” and urged the Government to do more to tackle Beijing’s actions.

Earlier this week the Government rejected an amendment to the Trade Bill which would have stopped the UK from signing trade deals with countries guilty of genocide, however it did agree a compromise amendment in which a parliamentary committee will alert ministers to “credible reports” of human rights abuses.

Tory Mr Loughton, who was also sanctioned, said he believed ministers were now slowly “waking up” to the need to take action.

He told this website: “The measures that we’ve had, the amendment that we got in the Trade Bill, while it doesn’t go as afar as some of us would have liked for it to have gone, it is a serious move.

“They have now extended sanctions to a few Chinese officials where there were none before.

“These are all positive steps.”

However, he called on the Government to add sanction even more Chinese officials, further restrictions on companies trading with Chinese firms, and the action through the UN.

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