Sir Iain Duncan Smith welcomes announcement on global human rights sanctions regulations

6th July 2020

Following the Foreign Secretary’s statement on the global human rights sanctions regulations and the announcement of the first individuals and organisations to be sanctioned under them, Sir Iain Duncan Smith urges the Government to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong Government officials complicit in stripping away the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

I unreservedly congratulate my right hon. Friend. As my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat) and others have said, he has personally been an advocate of this for some considerable time, so he will have the right to satisfaction on that. I also commend him for naming all those to do with the Magnitsky case and in Saudi Arabia.

Following the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling, I again raise the issue of China, because this is where big business will start to lean on the Government quite hard. Last week started with an exposé from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China regarding the involvement of Chinese officials and Government in the Uyghur suppression, sterilisation and forced encampment, and it ended with their involvement in the stripping away of the rights and freedoms of the people in Hong Kong, all the way up to the top.

I do not expect my right hon. Friend to answer specifically, but I ask him a simple question. Given the announcement in the papers today, many in Hong Kong have said that it should go to whatever highest level the evidence takes it. Would he be prepared, therefore, to follow through with the measures no matter who the individuals are, no matter how high they go, and even if it meant starting with Carrie Lam, whose family, I understand, have the privilege of British passports?

I thank my right hon. Friend. He is absolutely right that, with these regulations and this legislation, there will of course be a whole range of suggestions and proposals from inside this House, from civil society and from non-governmental organisations about potential names. We will, of course, want to ensure that we proceed in a rigorous way. We want it to be based on evidence, but the advantage that we have is that the measures—this is one of the reasons I have always been a fan, champion and supporter of them—allow us to continue to engage bilaterally with countries that, frankly, we need to, while having targeted sanctions, the visa bans and the asset freezes, on the individuals who may be responsible. Where the evidence shows that that is the case, we have the mechanism to deliver that.

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