Alton recently led an unsuccessful attempt to introduce an amendment to a trade bill that would have allowed genocide victims to seek a High Court ruling on whether a U.K. trading partner is guilty of genocide.
The government narrowly defeated the amendment, which gained significant support as it passed back and forth between the lower and upper houses of parliament.
Alton, the vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Uyghurs, Hong Kong, and Tibet, said: “I greeted the news of sanctions by reminding myself of some of those who are victims of the CCP’s brutal authoritarianism and why silence in the face of this can never be an option.”
“Keep in mind today the people who are truly suffering at the hands of the CCP. Two years ago I was one of the international team which monitored Hong Kong’s last free elections. All of the courageous pro-democracy leaders are now incarcerated in jail, under arrest, or in exile.”
“I have personally interviewed or appeared on platforms with Uyghurs who have described what is an unfolding genocide.”
“I have met dissidents and activists hunted down, intimidated, and bullied, by the CCP, hosted the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng -- who spent four years in CCP prisons -- and hosted a visit to Liverpool by the Dalai Lama, who has spent 60 years in exile.”
The eight other individuals named in the sanctions include the Conservative MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Tom Tugendhat, who are also Catholics. Duncan Smith, a former Conservative party leader, described the penalty as “a badge of honor.”
The four entities targeted for sanctions are the China Research Group, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, the Uyghur Tribunal, and Essex Court Chambers.
Concluding his statement, Alton said: “The CCP assumes that trading with a state credibly accused of genocide will be more important to the U.K. than defending the values we cherish. They are fundamentally mistaken.”