British MP says he was deported from Africa over China criticism

British MP says he was deported from Africa over China criticism
British MP says he was deported from Africa over China criticism

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — A Conservative MP says he was deported during a trip to Djibouti because of the east African country's close ties to China.

Tim Loughton, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said he was detained for more than seven hours and barred from entry to Djibouti earlier this month.

Loughton, who was subjected to sanctions by China in 2021, described the experience as “very lonely and frightening”.

China's foreign office said the accusations were baseless.

Loughton was in Djibouti for a 24-hour visit, which included a meeting with the British ambassador.

He said when he arrived in his passport was scanned and he was asked what he did.

"I told them I was a member of parliament and then it went all very frosty," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Djibouti is effectively a vassel state of China - what China wants, Djibouti kowtows to and having a troublesome MP who has been sanctioned by China turning up on their doorstep was clearly something they didn't want to entertain."

He said he was put on the next available flight out of the country.

“This was another example of how the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Government extend far and wide, and their malign influence in sensitive parts of Africa is particularly worrying," he told BBC online separately.

“Yet the intimidation of countless others who have dared to speak out against China's industrial scale human rights abuses and who do not have the platform an MP raises serious concerns.”

In 2021, China imposed sanctions on five MPs, including Loughton, for spreading what it called "lies and disinformation" about the country.

It came in retaliation for measures taken by the UK government over human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority group.

Loughton is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, which has highlighted China’s record on human rights abuses.

In 2019, he introduced the Reciprocal Access Bill in the House of Commons which requires the UK government to take measures against Chinese officials denying access to Tibet.

He is also a leading member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party group working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China.

The former minister and member of the home affairs select committee has said he will not stand at the next general election after more than 27 years in parliament. — BBC

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