Diplomats from China will not be permitted to attend the lying-in-state vigil for Queen Elizabeth II inside Westminster Hall on the British parliamentary estate.
The decision stems from the tension between the two nations regarding China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority, and sanctions issued against the British government.
According to new reports, several members of parliament also express concerns about inviting a representative of China to the late Queen’s funeral service.
“Given that the United Kingdom Parliament has voted to recognise the genocide committed by the Chinese Government against the Uighur people it is extraordinary that the architects of that genocide should be treated in any more favourable way than those countries who have been barred,” Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative MP who was banned from China, wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
The governments of Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar were not invited to attend the queen’s funeral. Iran, North Korea and Nicaragua have been asked to only send a senior diplomat.
Last year, China sanctioned five MPs and two peers for alleged “lies and disinformation” after Conservative MPs condemned the nation’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China has denied committing any crimes against the Uyghur and other Muslim communities, including forced labor, torture, and sexual abuse. China has said it uses “re-education” facilities to combat terrorism, per the BBC.
Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords imposed a one-year ban on Chinese Ambassador Zheng Zeguang from entering parliament in September of 2021 in response to the sanctions.
“The ban remains in place while sanctions remain,” notes The National.
“A spokesman for Prime Minister Liz Truss has said it is for Buckingham Palace to set out the guest list after taking advice from the foreign office, which, according to convention, invites representatives from nations with which Britain has diplomatic relations,” per Reuters.
While the Chinese delegation will not attend the vigil, the UK ultimately did invite Chinese representatives including President Xi Jinping to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19. Xi is not expected to attend. Vice President Wang Qishan, who observed a minute of silence and signed a book of condolences for the queen at the British embassy in Beijing this week, will represent China at the service according to Politico.
Over 500 foreign dignitaries and heads of state are expected to attend the service.
As of Sept. 16, the line of mourners hoping to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth had reached a wait time of 22 hours.