Hong Kong Arrests: U.K. Minister describes arrest of Cardinal Zen as obscene.

May 12, 2022 | News

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, I declare my interest as a patron of Hong Kong Watch and vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Hong Kong.

Is it not outrageous that this has happened to a venerable and holy 90 year-old man, with immense global moral authority, and his fellow trustees?

Is it not a terrible indictment of the CCP, illustrating the fear that has led it to criminalise most forms of dissent under the national security law, which was introduced by Carrie Lam and John Lee?

I say to the House that as someone who, along with the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, has been sanctioned by the CCP, I find it passing strange that Carrie Lam and John Lee have not already been indicted under Magnitsky sanctions, even though the Minister cannot name them as people who will be, given their responsibility for the destruction of “one country, two systems”.

I agree with what was said about the need for an asset audit, which I have previously called for, on CCP apparatchiks who own property assets in London.

I hope that the Minister, who has said that he will take this back to the department, will do so as a matter of urgency.

Given that the UK trade and economic deals through JETCO and EDF were suspended in response to the national security law, and with human rights in freefall, does the Minister agree that there can now be no possible reason to suspend the prohibitions on those trade arrangements?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)

My Lords, again, I strongly endorse the noble Lord’s comments on Cardinal Zen. Arresting a 90 year-old person of any standing, but particularly someone of his standing, is obscene. It has been condemned, and rightly so, across both Houses and the world. I suggest that the noble Lord wears his own proscription by the CCP as a badge of honour. I cannot go into any more details around the sanctions regime but I assure him, and others here today, that I will convey the strong feelings of the House to colleagues in the FCDO.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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