Iain Duncan Smith attacks ‘operation kowtow’ as China’s Xi is invited to Queen Elizabeth funeral

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II hosts a State Banquet for Chinese President Xi Jinping at Buckingham Palace in London,on the first official day of Xi's state visit - DOMINIC LIPINSKI/ AFP
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II hosts a State Banquet for Chinese President Xi Jinping at Buckingham Palace in London,on the first official day of Xi’s state visit – DOMINIC LIPINSKI/ AFP

A decision to invite Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, to Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral has sparked a backlash from Tory MPs who were sanctioned by Beijing last year.

President Xi has been invited to the funeral on Monday September 19 but he is not expected to attend, with Beijing considering sending a delegation in his place.

But some Tory MPs have questioned why China has been handed an invitation at all amid ongoing strained relations between the two countries, claiming it is evidence of “project kowtow all over again”.

The heads of state of all countries with which the UK has full diplomatic relations have been invited to the funeral. Only three national governments have been banned from attending: Russia, Belarus and Myanmar.

China sanctioned nine individuals and four organisations in the UK in March last year in retaliation after Britain imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party, as well as Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat, Neil O’Brien, Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani were among those sanctioned as they and their families were banned from entering Chinese territory.

Sir Iain has now expressed anger and concern at China being invited to the Queen’s funeral.

He reportedly told Politico it was “astonishing” that Chinese representatives had been invited and suggested it was “project kowtow all over again”.

He said: “How can they ban Belarus, Russia and Myanmar and not say no to China?

“They have a huge record of human rights abuses, including what we believe to be genocide, smashing churches and persecuting Christians.”

Mr Loughton echoed a similar sentiment as he said it was “inconceivable that at such an important and sombre occasion as the state funeral of the Queen, that representatives of the Chinese Communist Party should be invited to attend on the same basis of other nations who have not been condemned for their genocidal acts”.

The sanctioned MPs have sent a letter to the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords seeking assurances that Chinese officials will not be allowed on to the parliamentary estate.

The public file past the Lying-in-State of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Westminster. - Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
The public file past the Lying-in-State of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Westminster. – Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

It remains unclear who will represent Beijing at the funeral. China’s foreign ministry has said it is “actively considering” sending a high level delegation.

President Xi made his first overseas trip since the Covid-19 pandemic only this week, as he visited Kazakhstan.

Some 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Published by anthonyhayble

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