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Steerpike

Parliamentarians plot to ruin China’s G20

Parliamentarians plot to ruin China’s G20
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It’s a big week for fans of high politics and hobnobbing. Prior to the launch of Sunday’s COP26 shindig there is first the small matter of the G20 summit in Rome. And while the attention of many attendees – chief among them Britain’s Boris Johnson – will no doubt be on green gambits and climate diplomacy, there are fears that other crucial issues risk being overlooked in the dash towards Net Zero.

Chief among these are the various abuses committed by President Xi’s China towards the Uyghur Muslims and the effective destruction of Hong Kong. Xi himself is not expected to physically attend the summit, not having left China since the Covid pandemic began in January 2020. But his apparatchiks will represent him instead – a decision that has prompted human rights activists and various parliamentarians to plot their own protest timed to coincide with Rome’s summit.

Mr S understands that a number of mischief-making, headline-grabbing stunts are set to be held by IPAC – the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. The group, which comprises members drawn from legislatures across the free world, fears that Beijing will use the lure of future action on climate change to distract from its present belligerence in the South Pacific. Among those involved include American politicians Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate and Bob Menendez – the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, the former Tory leader, will meanwhile attend in person.

Duncan-Smith, the IPAC Co-Chair, told Mr S: ‘We can’t allow China a free pass this G20. They’ve destroyed treaties and militarily occupied the South China seas. They have persecuted the Uyghurs and continue to threaten to invade Taiwan, not to mention the Covid coverup, resulting in millions of lives lost around the world. That’s why politicians on the left and the right and from the four corners of the earth are converging on Rome.’

The protest is set to be the largest gathering of legislators to demonstrate at a G20 country in history. One source confirmed to Steerpike: ‘The purpose is to ruin China’s G20. If they thought they were going to get a free pass, they have another thing coming.’ Beijing’s ire has already been provoked by the attendance of both Penpa Tsering, the exiled Sikyong or Prime Minister of Tibet, and Joseph Wu, the Foreign Minister of Taiwan. Uyghurs and Hong Kong activists coming including Nathan Law. Four MPs attending have been sanctioned and Italy, somewhat extraordinarily, still maintains an extradition agreement with China. The potential for diplomatic incidents is considerable, to say the least. It could all add up to quite the headache for Mario Draghi, the Italian premier who has himself been subjected to recent protests by his own countrymen.

Still, when in Rome eh?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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