Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

China Locks out British MPs; Shockwaves as Hong Kong Tells Foreign Affairs Committee It's Not Welcome to Visit

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

China Locks out British MPs; Shockwaves as Hong Kong Tells Foreign Affairs Committee It's Not Welcome to Visit

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES LEGGE The Independent

CHINA has banned a senior parliamentary committee of MPs from entering Hong Kong in a move that will escalate diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The unprecedented move to bar members of the Foreign Affairs Committee from Britain's former colony was communicated to the chair of the committee, Sir Richard Ottaway, by China's deputy ambassador.

He accused Chinese authorities of acting in an "overtly confrontational manner" in threatening to deport them if the group entered the country and said the move was a "very serious matter". He said he would call for an emergency parliamentary debate.

The Foreign Office also said it had raised the issue at "the most senior levels" in Beijing and said banning the MPs was "not consistent" with the positive trend in UK-China relations.

This is the latest diplomatic clash between the UK and China after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg summoned the ambassador to meet him over concerns about how the protests in Hong Kong were handled.

The Chinese government has been attempting to suppress activists who are demanding free elections for the city's next leader in 2017, not a vote between pre-screened candidates that Beijing has said it would allow. …

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