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China sanctions UK over ‘lies’ about human rights abuses

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China has sanctioned organisations and individuals in the United Kingdom over what it called “lies and disinformation” about Xinjiang, after Britain imposed sanctions for human rights abuses in the western Chinese region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that it sanctioned four entities and nine individuals, including the former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith and the Conservative party’s own Human Rights Commission.

Other individuals named were MPs Tom Tugendhat (who chairs the foreign affairs select committee), Neil O’Brien, Nus Ghani and Tim Loughton; as well as two members of the Lords, David Alton and Helena Kennedy QC. The barrister Geoffrey Nice and a Uighur expert at Newcastle University, Joanne Nicola Smith Finley, were also on the list.

The entities included the China Research Group, established by a group of Conservative MPs, independent research group Uyghur Tribunal and Essex Court Chambers, a leading London law firm.

Mr Duncan Smith said early on Friday that he would wear the sanction like a “badge of honour”.

“It’s our duty to call out the Chinese Govt’s human rights abuse in #HongKong & the genocide of the #Uyghurs,” he said on Twitter. “Those of us who live free lives under the rule of law must speak for those who have no voice. If that brings the anger of China down on me, I’ll wear that badge of honour.”

Ms Smith Finley also responded on Twitter, saying: “It seems I am to be sanctioned by the PRC (Chinese) government for speaking the truth about the #Uyghur tragedy in #Xinjiang, and for having a conscience.

“Well, so be it. I have no regrets for speaking out, and I will not be silenced.”

Under the sanctions, targeted individuals and their immediate family members were prohibited from entering Chinese territory, the ministry said, adding that Chinese citizens and institutions would be prohibited from doing business with them.

The move is a retaliation to a co-ordinated set of sanctions imposed by the United States, EU, Britain and Canada against Beijing, citing human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing had already applied retaliatory sanctions against the EU.

Activists and UN rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and leaders in the west accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations.

China has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism. “China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the UK side not to go further down the wrong path,” the Chinese ministry said. “Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions.”

Retaliation from Beijing was expected after the British ambassador to China, Caroline Wilson, was summoned this week by the Chinese foreign ministry to hear “solemn representations” about the UK sanctions imposed for the mass detention of Muslim minorities.

The Chinese deputy foreign minister Qin Gang said after the meeting that China would take appropriate steps in response.

China acted immediately against the EU after its foreign affairs council on Monday imposed sanctions on the same four Chinese officials and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau.

China had advance warning that the bloc was about to act, so may have prepared its countermeasures in advance. By contrast there had been no prior warning the UK was going to end its resistance to imposing sanctions over human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. – Guardian/Reuters

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IHG to open new hotel in Brussels (BE)

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IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) announced the signing of voco Brussels City North, marking entry into a new market. Due to open in autumn 2023, the 92-key voco Brussels City North property will be operated by Prem Group, a strong partner for IHG in the region. The state-of-the-art hotel will feature a restaurant and conference centre and will adjoin the Innovation Centre, which is already open on the site, to create a hub for hospitality innovation and a truly stimulating environment.

 

Located to the north of the city, the hotel will feature a striking 50-metre tower with huge glass windows providing panoramic views of the Brussels skyline. The site itself will be Europe’s largest experimental lab for creating ideas and a vision for the future. In line with voco hotels ethos, voco Brussels City North will stand out from the crowd and give guests a different choice.

 

Willemijn Geels, VP Development Europe, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “I’m delighted to announce that we are partnering with Living Tomorrow to bring voco hotels to Belgium. We know that Brussels is a strong market for branded properties, and we are confident that the voco hotels’ brand will fit well with the goal of creating a truly innovative hub on this unique site.”

 

Yin Oei, CEO, Living Tomorrow, said: “Living Tomorrow is focused on driving the future and we’re excited to partner with IHG to develop this exciting hotel – the first voco in Belgium. The values of voco hotels fit well with our desire to innovate and push boundaries and we know that the strength of the IHG systems will provide a stable platform from which to innovate.”

 

 

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Mitheridge and London Green unveil plans for Lambeth mix-use scheme (GB)

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Mitheridge Capital Management and London Green have unveiled plans for a residential-led, mixed-use development in Lambeth, south London. The project will make use of a former industrial site in Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, while also protecting the adjacent intersecting Victorian railway viaducts which remain a rich heritage asset.

 

Managing Partner of Mitheridge William Yerburgh said: “London desperately needs more homes. We believe strongly in an approach to housing provision that is affordable but also enhances the character and vibrancy of local communities. Our partnership with London Green will show that new housing provision can deliver for everyone.”

 

Daniel Rastegar, Investment Director at Mitheridge commented: “We are excited to work with London Green to deliver a scheme that will contribute positively to this area of Lambeth, both by providing highly sustainable, high-quality homes as well as new industrial space for SMEs.”

 

Harry Green, Director at London Green added: “This represents yet another opportunity to develop an underutilised site into a mixed community of sustainable homes and workplaces. We look forward to working with best-in-class consultants and contractors to deliver the vision that we share with Mitheridge Capital Management”.

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IIProp grows its presence in Spain

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IIProp (International Industrial Properties) has successfully delivered the initial phase of its built-to-suit project in the Spanish city of Murcia. The joint venture has also launched a new development project at a prime location in Nadarzyn, Warsaw South, Poland. The scheme is located in Murcia’s San Andres industrial park and offers 22,346m². The project is set to add another building of over 23,000m², bringing the total development area to 46,600m² GLA. Construction of a 23,000m² follow-on component is under way and scheduled for completion in January 2023. The project marks an important milestone for the IIProp’s expansion in Spain, where the platform has secured pipeline for development of some 63,000m² GLA in the Murcia and Barcelona regions. The development comes with excellent connectivity and visibility as it sits alongside the A7 highway, part of the Mediterranean transit corridor that links Spanish and Portuguese ports with mainland Europe. The project is set to obtain “Very Good” BREEAM certificate, which will be supported by green solutions such as solar panels, charging stations for electric cars, power sockets for electric bicycles and scooters as well as bicycle parking space and a bee shelter.

 

Nebil Senman, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, said: “The logistics market in Europe experienced an unprecedented growth during the pandemic and despite the geopolitical turmoil the tenant demand remains strong. We selectively are developing projects in Murcia and Warsaw with highest ESG standards and securing highest tenant covenants to fulfill core investor’s requirements. We plan to continue to build up carefully our European logistics footprint by selectively adding projects in core European markets as well as through converting our well-positioned land bank into standing assets.”

 

Maciej Dyjas, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, commented: “The projects in Murcia and Warsaw are another success stories in our strategic partnership with Panattoni. We continue to screen new European markets for entry and already begun working on potential development projects in countries like France, Italy, and Austria. In parallel, the IIProp’s pipeline stands at ca. 430,000m² GLA, despite latest disposals completed in Germany.

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