The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 7th February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what recent assessment they have made of the Chinese surveillance companies (1) Dahua, and (2) Hikvision; what assessment they have made of any links between those companies and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province; and what assessment they have made of whether they constitute a security threat to the UK.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 31st January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Somalia regarding their involvement in China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con): China is a significant partner for many countries, including through the Belt and Road Initiative. The Somali Government pursues its international trading, development and political relations as it chooses. The UK’s focus is on working closely with the Somali Government to support its ambitious programme for a more stable and peaceful Somalia. This includes the provision of humanitarian relief and crucial support for the fight against Al-Shabaab.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 25th January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on countries in the Horn of Africa.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): China is an important source of aid, finance and investment for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including in the Horn of Africa. This includes activity under the Belt and Road Initiative. We are working with partners including the G7 to ensure low and middle income countries have an alternative to strategic dependence on China or any other country. The UK offers wide-ranging partnerships to African countries that support a freer, safer, healthier, greener and more prosperous continent. Through British Investment Partnerships, we are providing honest, reliable investment that creates jobs, boosts economic growth and draws countries closer to major free-market democracies.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question regarding government response to suppression of journalists by the Chinese authorities on 1st December 2022, during a debate on a Commons Urgent Question concerning the arrest of BBC journalist Edward Lawrence while he was covering protests in Shanghai, China:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, what attempts are His Majesty’s Government making to work with our partners in the UN to build an international consensus, so that China, which is seeking to raise its profile as an international power, hears from all quarters that suppressing journalists, not least those who are doing their duties, and arresting people for these demonstrations is simply unacceptable in the modern world?
The Bishop of St Albans tabled a question for short debate in Grand Committee on 17th November 2022, concerning reports of human rights abuses in China:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of allegations of human rights abuses in China.
My Lords, I approach this debate with a great deal of reticence and, indeed, almost reluctance. I have long admired China and the Chinese people, although one should of course acknowledge that the population of China is made up of 56 different ethnic groups. I have long admired their ancient civilisation. Not only is China a country of great natural beauty; it is the nation that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper, moveable-type printing, kites, fireworks, silk, tea and porcelain, to name a few. I will perhaps omit noodles from my list of admirable inventions. My Chinese friends are among some of the most educated, industrious and cultured people I know. China is the fourth-largest country by land mass and has the largest population of any country in the world. Over many decades, we have developed extensive trade links with China, and it is in its interests and ours for us to share in commerce and seek to find common cause for the good of the world.
Yet I feel I cannot remain silent in the face of such a wide range of human rights abuses. Lying behind our profound differences is a vast cultural gulf that was laid bare most recently for me when I read President Xi’s speech at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party last month. He said:
“We will … continue to take the correct and distinctively Chinese approach to handling ethnic affairs … We will remain committed to the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt to socialist society.”
He also said:
“We have effectively contained ethnic separatists, religious extremists, and violent terrorists”.
To those here who are familiar with China’s history of human rights abuses, these are worrying words.
The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 16th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to introducing an import ban on (1) all products produced by forced labour, and (2) on products produced by all Chinese companies listed as exploiting forced labour.
The Bishop of Guildford received the following written answer on 31st October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Guildford asked His Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding recent reports that at least 10 leaders from unregistered Protestant churches were arrested and charged with fraud over normal church financial activities in 2021, including Zhang Chunlei, Yang Xiaoguang, and Hao Ming.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that crimes have been committed against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China; and what steps they are taking in response to ensure that the perpetrators of any such crimes are brought to justice.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 10th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of crimes being committed against (1) Uyghurs, (2) Kazakhs, and (3) other Turkish Muslim minorities, in Xinjiang in China; and what discussions they have had with international partners about taking steps to investigate, and if necessary prosecute, any such crimes.
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