Chinese government refused entry to the lying-in-state

The Chinese delegation has been refused permission to attend the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

Senior parliamentary sources told Politico that the  Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle passed on the news.

This may mean that the Chinese delegation attends the funeral at Westminster Abbey but is barred from entering the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects.

It comes after some Conservative MPs including Tim Loughton and Sir Iain Duncan Smith wrote to foreign secretary James Cleverly to express their concern about the Chinese attending the funeral.

They described the invitation as “extraordinary”  and referred to the Chinese as the “architects” of genocide against the Uyghur minority.

The House of Commons declared last year that a genocide was taking place against the Uyghurs in north-west China, with more than a million people estimated to have been detained at camps in the region of Xinjiang.

China repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming the camps are “re-education” facilities used to combat terrorism.

However, Conservative MP Richard Graham hit back at those attacking China. He said on LBC that it would be “extraordinary” for the president of China, Xi Jinping not to be invited to the queen’s funeral like other heads of state. He also claimed the row was “a huge distraction from what is a period of national mourning, when there is a ceasefire on all political issues.”

Those who signed the letter sent to Cleverly about the withdrawal of the countries invitation had been sanctioned by China last year as a result of their vocal criticism of the country, especially with regards to its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority group.

In response to the sanctions, the Commons and Lords speakers decided to ban the Chinese ambassador from entering parliament, saying that the ban will last as long as the sanctions remain.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said it was for the Palace to set out the guest list and the convention was that countries with whom the UK has diplomatic relations were invited to send representatives.

Around 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries, including US President Joe Biden, are expected to attend the funeral.

However, representatives from Russia and Belarus have not been invited because of the invasion of Ukraine. Similarly, neither has anyone from Myanmar owing to a breakdown in diplomatic relations following last year’s military coup.