Tom Tugendhat lashed out at China’s ambassador after the Beijing official accused Britain of cooking up “lies and slander” about the country and of getting too involved in its affairs. The chair of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee said the country’s recent behaviour was “hugely damaging, not just to the UK but to everyone”.
Britain and China have had a number of political disputes in recent months. Technology firm Huawei has been banned from involvement in the UK’s 5G mobile network over spying fears and Britain has been unhappy at the new security law imposed in Hong Kong.
Referring to a press conference on Thursday, at which Liu Xiaoming said the relationship between the UK and China had been “seriously poisoned”, Mr Tugendhat said: “It’s hard not to hear the press conference that the Chinese ambassador gave today and not feel that he’s attempting to bully us. This is not the correct attitude for someone who is supposed to be building relations.
“I know this guy came from North Korea as his last posting, and so maybe he’s forgotten that actually, we’re not another Communist dictatorship.
“But it certainly does feel as though we’re just here to be bullied by him, and I’m afraid we’re not.”
Mr Tugendhat said that he believed Chinese state-sponsored hackers were behind a series of cyber attacks against him, including email impersonations and hacking attempts.
He also hit out at Russia following the release of a report which revealed attempts by the Kremlin to influence British politics were “the new normal”.
He added: “It’s extremely sad.The entire country has been taken hostage by a small clique of mafia dons who have quite literally raped it blind, leaving Putin one of the richest men in the world.