Question / China: Foreign Relations

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
UIN HL14876, tabled on 13 April 2021

Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for blocking (1) the government of China, and (2) Chinese companies, from acquiring British infrastructure in view of that government’s (a) oppression of the Uighur people in Xinjiang, (b) breaches of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, and (c) tactics in relation to Taiwan and elsewhere.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Answered on
28 April 2021

As the Integrated Review sets out, the UK as an open economy needs to engage with China. We will continue to pursue a positive economic relationship while at the same time increasing protection of our critical national infrastructure, institutions and sensitive technology, and strengthening the resilience of our critical supply chains, so that we can engage with confidence. In November 2020, the Government introduced the National Security and Investment Bill to Parliament, which represents a significant upgrade to the UK’s powers to intervene in transactions from any country that would undermine national security.

The UK has responded to China’s actions in Hong Kong by creating a new immigration route for British Nationals (Overseas) and their eligible family members and dependents, suspending the extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extending the arms embargo applied to mainland China to include Hong Kong.

In respect of Xinjiang, the UK has announced measures to help ensure that no British organisations, whether government or private sector, deliberately or inadvertently, are profiting from or contributing to China’s human rights violations in the region and, in March, we imposed Global Human Rights sanctions on four Chinese officials and an entity responsible for those violations, alongside the EU, US and Canada.

We are clear in our discussions with China that our longstanding policy on Taiwan has not changed: we consider the Taiwan issue one that should be settled peacefully by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait through constructive dialogue. We have made clear our concern at any activity by China and Taiwan that risks destabilising the status quo.