Tory MP hit with sanctions by China says his daughter is being barred from visiting Hong Kong – amid new calls for ministers to boycott Winter Olympics in Beijing
- Tim Loughton was one of nine people slapped with revenge sanctions by China
- Move by Beijing back in March targeted MPs and academics critical of China
- MP said the sanctions likely stop daughter travelling to Hong Kong for a wedding
- Came as ministers face renewed pressure to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics
A Tory MP who was slapped with revenge sanctions by China has said his daughter has been barred from visiting Hong Kong for a friend’s wedding.
Tim Loughton, a former minister, was one of nine MPs, peers and academics who were targeted by Beijing for speaking out over human rights abuses.
The move was in response to the UK, the US, Canada and the EU placing sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region.
The sanctions mean Mr Loughton cannot travel to China but he has now revealed he believes the rest of his family has also been caught up in the ban.
Despite the disruption, Mr Loughton said the action taken against him and his colleagues is a ‘badge of honour’ which has acted as a ‘huge recruiting sergeant’ to the cause of opposing Xi Jinping’s regime.
Mr Loughton has also renewed pressure on the Government to impose a diplomatic boycott on the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to deny China a ‘propaganda coup’.
Tim Loughton, a former minister, was one of nine MPs, peers and academics who were targeted by Beijing for speaking out over its human rights abuses
Mr Loughton said the action taken against him and his colleagues is a ‘badge of honour’ which has acted as a ‘huge recruiting sergeant’ to the cause of opposing Xi Jinping’s regime
The group of nine MPs, peers and academics were hit with sanctions by Beijing in March of this year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time that he stood ‘firmly’ behind the group which included Tory former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
Mr Loughton was asked about the impact of the sanctions during an interview with former Labour MP Gloria De Piero on GB News.
He said: ‘In practical terms – it means that the five of us, plus two members of the Lords, and there’s also an academic and a QC – we can’t travel to China.
‘All our assets in China have been frozen – none of us have any there. We also can’t do any business things with China.
‘So, for all practical reasons, actually – it doesn’t affect our day to day lives. It does also mean supposedly – although we’ve never actually had a formal notification from the Chinese government saying, “you cannot do this”, or whatever – this is just what we’re told, that it also involves close family.
‘So, I’m in the doldrums with one of my daughters, who’s got a friend in Hong Kong, who’s getting married – which means that she won’t be able to go there.
Mr Loughton said the sanctions imposed on him by Beijing are a ‘badge of honour’ and have acted as a ‘huge recruiting sergeant’.
He said: ‘Now, so many people have come to our aid. It’s raised the whole profile of what the Chinese regime is doing against its own people – in Xinjiang, in Tibet, in Hong Kong now, with the suppression of free speech and freedoms they’ve had for so long.
‘So it’s really been counterproductive for the Chinese government, and it’s made us even more vociferous.’
Mr Loughton said Beijing had ‘picked on the wrong targets’ as he raised the issue of a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics next year.
The House of Commons has previously agreed a non-binding motion calling for ministers, other politicians, members of the Royal Family and VIPs to stay away from the games.
The Tory backbencher said: ‘That’s what the Chinese want, you know, this is a great way for China to grandstand and show the world, aren’t we fantastic? So, we mustn’t let them have that propaganda coup.’
Mr Loughton said the Government had been ‘making the right noises’ on the boycott but a final position is yet to be set out.
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