Hongkongers in UK ask Suella Braverman to ditch ‘repressive’ anti-protest bill

Hongkongers in Britain have called on Suella Braverman to reconsider controversial measures in her public order bill, which they likened to the repressive measures used to crack down on democratic opposition in their home city. In a letter to the UK home secretary, aspects of the bill were described as “repressive measures that threaten to paralyse entire social movement” and posed a threat to their right to protest in Britain, including against Chinese communist repression in Hong Kong. “Many of us are, or represent and work with, Hongkongers who have…

China owns vast network of UK real estate, offshore records reveal

The Chinese government owns a vast network of UK real estate via offshore secrecy jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and the Isle of Man, the Guardian can reveal, raising questions about Beijing’s grip on links in the UK supply chain. Disclosures made as part of a new government register of property owned via offshore entities show that China’s investment division owns more than 250 properties across Britain via dozens of companies. They include distribution centres that are key to the flow of food and goods in multiple regions of the UK…

World Uyghur Congress loses legal challenge against UK authorities

The World Uyghur Congress has said it is disappointed to have lost a legal challenge against UK authorities for not launching a criminal investigation into the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced labour in China’s Xinjiang province but would continue to fight for accountability. The WUC took the home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA), to the high court, claiming an unlawful failure or refusal to investigate imports from Xinjiang, allegedly home to 380 internment camps used to detain Uyghurs and people from other…

Pro-democracy Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai requests Rishi Sunak meeting – report

Lawyers for the Hong Kong activist and media mogul Jimmy Lai have reportedly requested a meeting with the British prime minister to discuss his case. Lai, a dual Hong Kong and British citizen, is awaiting trial on national security charges in one of the most high-profile cases brought by Hong Kong authorities against the pro-democracy movement. If convicted he could face life in prison. According to the BBC, Lai’s international legal team has written to the British leader, Rishi Sunak, requesting an urgent meeting about “potential ways to secure Mr…

Travellers from China who test positive in UK for Covid will not need to isolate

People arriving in the UK from China will not be required to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19, the transport secretary has said. Covid cases in China continue to surge after Beijing’s abrupt decision to end most of its severe pandemic restrictions. The UK government has said airlines will be required to check that passengers from China have a negative Covid test before departure, with travellers required to show evidence of their negative result. The UK Health Security Agency will also initiate surveillance from 8 January in which a…

Covid test for travellers from China could have been avoided, says MP

The requirement for travellers from China to England to provide a negative Covid test before departure could have been avoided if Beijing was “upfront” about its data, the chair of the Commons health committee has said. Rishi Sunak announced a major U-turn on Friday by imposing checks on travellers from China from 5 January, after criticism from a growing number of Conservative MPs over his “dithering”. The prime minister’s latest reversal was welcomed by the chair of the Commons health and social care committee, Conservative MP Steve Brine, who said…

Rishi Sunak to impose Covid tests on travellers from China in U-turn

Rishi Sunak has performed a major U-turn by imposing Covid checks on travellers from China from 5 January, after criticism from a growing number of Conservative MPs over his “dithering”. After a series of seemingly mixed messages about whether the UK would follow the lead of Spain, Italy, Israel, the US and India in screening arrivals, the prime minister backed the move to bring the UK into line with its allies in a change of policy on Friday. The UK Health Security Agency will also initiate surveillance from 8 January,…

UK ministers under pressure to screen China arrivals for Covid

Ministers are coming under pressure to screen arrivals from China as the number of Covid-19 cases there continues to surge after Beijing’s abrupt decision to end most of its strict pandemic restrictions. The US became the latest country to impose controls on travellers entering the country from China on Wednesday, demanding that all such arrivals show proof of a negative Covid test. The UK government has so far refused to follow suit, although there were mixed messages on Thursday over whether that policy might change in the coming days. The…

Scotland to raise income tax by 1p for those on over £43,666 to raise money for NHS – as it happened

From 1h ago Swinney says all Scots earning more than £43,662 will pay 1% more in income tax, to raise money for NHS Swinney says the starter, basic and intermediate rates of income will stay the same. But the higher and top rate will go up, he says. (See 2.58pm.) He says this means people earning more than £43,662 pounds will have to pay an extra penny in the pound on income tax. He says the money is being raised for a specific purpose – investment in NHS. These changes…

Chinese diplomats at centre of Manchester consulate row return home

China’s consul general in Manchester and five other diplomats have returned home and will escape questioning by police for their role in the beating up of a pro-Hong Kong democracy demonstrator outside the consulate in the city on 16 October. The Chinese, citing diplomatic immunity, decided to recall the diplomats after the UK Foreign Office gave the embassy a week to make the diplomats available for questioning by British police. Conservative MPs reacted furiously, saying the diplomats should have been kicked out weeks ago, rather than allow the case to…