Commenting on the decision to impose sanctions on five UK Parliamentarians today, David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool), said:
The CCP’s attempts to silence its critics – including Uyghurs in Xinjiang, democrats in Hong Kong, and dissidents across the Mainland, now includes UK Parliamentarians, lawyers and the BBC.
The imposition of tit for tat sanctions is a crude attempt to silence criticism. But the CCP needs to learn that you can’t silence the whole world and that the first duty of a parliamentarian is to use their voice on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced.
British Parliamentarians will go on speaking truth to power, and truth to tyranny, using their freedoms and raising their voices on behalf of those who are denied such rights and privileges.
These sanctions demonstrate the stark contrast between a country in which Parliamentarians are free to speak about genocide and gross violations of human rights, and a country which perpetrates such crimes with impunity and seeks to silence anyone who dares to speak out. We who are free will go on speaking on behalf of those who are not.
I greeted the news of sanctions by reminding myself of some of those who are victims of the CCP’s brutal authoritarianism and why silence in the face of this can never be an option.
Keep in mind today the people who are truly suffering at the hands of the CCP.
Two years ago I was one of the international team which monitored Hong Kong’s last free elections.
All of the courageous pro democracy leaders are now incarcerated in jail, under arrest or in exile.
I have personally interviewed or appeared on platforms with Uyghurs who have described what is an unfolding genocide.
I have met dissidents and activists hunted down, intimidated, and bullied, by the CCP, hosted the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng – who spent 4 years in CCP prisons – and hosted a visit to Liverpool by the Dalai Lama – who has spent 60 years in exile.
Xiaobo Liu understood the nature of the CCP’s ideology and rightly asserted that “Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth.”
And freedom of expression remains the purpose and point of our Mother of Parliaments.
The CCP assumes that trading with a State credibly accused of Genocide will be more important to the UK than defending the values we cherish. They are fundamentally mistaken.
Lord Alton has served in the UK Parliament since 1979. He is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Uyghurs, Hong Kong, and Tibet, and co chair of the APPG on North Korea. He has traveled in China, Tibet, Hong Kong, North Korea and Taiwan. He is a Patron of Hong Kong Watch.