US 'told UK which Chinese officials to target on human rights abuses'

US has handed the UK intelligence showing which Chinese officials should be targeted with sanctions over human rights abuses, ‘Mike Pompeo tells MPs at private meeting’ as pressure grows on Boris Johnson to take action

  • Mike Pompeo apparently told MPs the US had shared its intelligence with the UK
  • Intelligence sets out which officials to target over Chinese human rights abuses
  • Boris Johnson is now under mounting pressure from MPs to impose sanctions 

Boris Johnson is facing mounting pressure to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses after Mike Pompeo apparently told MPs the UK has been provided with US intelligence on who to target.  

The US Secretary of State is said to have told a private meeting yesterday that American intelligence had been handed to the UK relating to violations committed against Uighur Muslims.

Tory backbenchers and the Labour Party have called on ministers to impose sanctions on any Beijing officials who have played a role in persecuting the group in Xinjiang, north west China.

Mr Pompeo’s alleged remarks will heap further pressure on the Government to take action, with China having already warned that imposing sanctions would prompt a ‘resolute response’. 

Meanwhile, Mr Pompeo also allegedly told the meeting of MPs that British coronavirus victims have died because the head of the World Health Organisation was ‘bought’ by China.

He is said to have claimed that Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had struck a bargain with the communist regime to secure his election to the post of WHO director-general.

A WHO spokesman said last night it ‘strongly rejects any ad hominem attacks and unfounded allegations’ against its leadership, in comments reported by Politico. 

Mike Pompeo, pictured with Boris Johnson in the Downing Street garden yesterday, is said to have told MPs that the US has shared intelligence with the UK about who to target over Chinese human rights abuses

Earlier this month Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, set out the UK’s new post-Brexit sanctions regime, with Russian and Saudi nationals among the first wave of people to be targeted.  

The Government faced criticism for failing to name any Chinese officials in the first wave of sanctions as Mr Raab suggested it takes time to build cases against people and that he would not pre-empt potential future action.

But The Times said that Mr Pompeo had told the meeting with MPs ‘the intelligence has now been shared’ setting out who should be targeted over Chinese human rights abuses.

Mr Pompeo used a press conference alongside Mr Raab yesterday to indicate that more action was needed from US allies, including the UK, to respond to an increasingly assertive China. 

‘We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country – including China – behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order,’ he said. 

‘You can’t go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You can’t threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You can’t engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organisation.’

Mr Pompeo’s comments came amid rising tensions between the UK and Beijing after rows over Huawei, Hong Kong, coronavirus and human rights abuses. 

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the UK Government needed to adopt a ‘wider strategic approach to dealing with China’. 

She said: ‘The Government should accelerate the timetable for Magnitsky sanctions to be imposed on Chinese officials involved in the persecution of the Uighur people in Xinjiang.’        

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