The Chinese government’s plans to relocate its UK embassy to the old Royal Mint building opposite the Tower of London is facing backlash due to its clampdown in Hong Kong and its repression of the predominately Muslim Uighur people.
China bought the old Royal Mint building in 2018 for an undisclosed sum.
The full council meeting discussed a motion titled ‘Oppose the Chinese Communist
Party’s human rights violations, agree to raise the Tibetan Flag and rename
roads near the Royal Mint site as Tiananmen Square, Uyghur Court and Hong
The Uyghur Muslim population has reportedly been detained in camps, forced into labour and banned from practicing their religion in the country.
China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming has denied the reports as “all lies fabricated by a few irresponsible politicians and media from the West” but evidence suggests that China is guilty of the accusations.
The council agreed to investigate whether roads or new buildings near the location of the proposed Chinese Embassy to could be renamed. The council is also to investigate what other actions they could take to show solidarity.
The Royal Mint was built in 1809 on the site of the Cistercian abbey of St Mary Graces, the cemetery of which contained mass graves for victims of the Black Death.
Councillor Golds wrote to Historic England to ensure a proper survey of the site was done before any work begins as building work could unearth the bodies of thousands of plague victims.
The meeting also discussed if the Tibetan Flag could be raised outside the Town Hall on 10th March. This comes after the Tibetan Community in Tower Hamlets wrote to the Mayor, Councillor Khan, Wood and Golds requesting the Flag be raised in observance of their National Uprising Day.
The National Uprising Day commemorates the 1959 rebellion against the presence of China in Tibet. The Tibetan flag is currently raised annually by Waltham Forest, Northampton, Woolwich and others around Europe.
Tibetans say their country is an independent nation but the Chinese government says it is part of China.
The request was passed to Will Tuckley, the Chief Executive who has responsibility for such matters.
Tower Hamlets said they welcome the relocation of the Chinese Embassy and its staff to the borough, but as new neighbours and friends they must continue to make clear where their own standards and principles apply.