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Djibouti’s Deportation of UK Lawmaker Supporting Tibet

  • 01 May, 2024
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Djibouti’s Deportation of UK Lawmaker Supporting Tibet, Sanctioned by China, Raises Diplomatic Tensions


Djibouti, situated strategically on the Horn of Africa, recently attracted international attention when it deported Tim Loughton, a British lawmaker critical of China’s human rights record and an advocate for Tibet. Loughton’s detention and subsequent expulsion from Djibouti have raised concerns about the extent of China’s influence in the region and its implications for diplomatic relations.



Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, was denied entry into Djibouti, where he had planned a brief visit. The incident occurred amid rising tensions between the UK and China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet. Loughton’s advocacy for Tibet and his support for measures challenging Chinese officials’ denial of access to the region have made him a target of Chinese sanctions.


The Incident

Upon arrival in Djibouti, Loughton was detained for over seven hours and subsequently deported. He described the experience as “lonely and frightening,” suggesting that Djibouti’s actions were influenced by its relationship with China. Loughton asserted that Djibouti is effectively a “vassal state” of China, suggesting a subservient relationship wherein Djibouti complies with Chinese interests.


Loughton’s Advocacy and Response

Tim Loughton’s work in advocating for Tibet and challenging China’s human rights abuses has drawn significant attention. As co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet and a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, he has been vocal in condemning China’s actions. His introduction of the Reciprocal Access Bill in the UK Parliament underscores his commitment to addressing Chinese officials’ denial of access to Tibet.


Perception of Chinese Influence

Loughton’s detention in Djibouti is perceived as another instance of China’s exertion of influence beyond its borders. He attributes Djibouti’s actions to pressure from the Chinese government, reflecting a broader trend of Chinese interference in countries under its sway. This incident highlights concerns about China’s expanding global influence and its implications for freedom of expression and diplomatic relations.


Response from the UK Government

The UK government has expressed concern over Loughton’s detention and deportation, stating that it has raised the issue with Djiboutian authorities. While acknowledging Djibouti’s right to refuse entry, the UK government seeks further clarification on the specifics of the case. This response underscores the importance of diplomatic engagement in addressing instances of political interference and ensuring the protection of democratic principles.



The detention and deportation of Tim Loughton in Djibouti underscore the challenges posed by China’s growing influence in strategic regions such as Africa. Loughton’s advocacy for Tibet and his criticism of China’s human rights record have made him a target of Chinese sanctions, highlighting the broader implications of geopolitical tensions. As countries navigate these complex dynamics, ensuring the protection of fundamental rights and democratic values remains paramount.