According to two diplomats, the European Union (EU) approved the blacklisting of a Chinese entity and 24 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Hong Kong officials on Wednesday for their human rights abuses. Their names will be withheld until EU foreign ministers issue formal approval on March 22, where a broader rights sanctions list will be released.
The EU has also demanded the release of Uyghur economics professor and 2019 European Parliament’s Human Rights Prize recipient Ilham Tohti, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the CCP in 2014.
The only previous sanctions imposed by the EU on the communist Chinese regime were the EU 1989 arms embargo following the Tiananmen Square massacre. These previous sanctions remain in place. The upcoming sanctions will include travel bans and asset freezes.
The adoption of these social controls represents a substantial hardening in EU-China relations and policies. Once regarded by Brussels as a harmless trading partner, the CCP has now revealed its true nature; a cunning perpetrator of crimes against humanity.
EU diplomats told Reuters the Union accused the sanctioned Chinese officials of human rights violations towards China’s Uyghur Muslim minority. The sources stated this move reflected the EU’s profound concerns regarding the Uyghurs imprisoned in China and those who have fled the country.
Approximately 1 million Uyghur Muslims are locked in concentration camps across the rural western province of Xinjiang. The CCP is allegedly inflicting torture, forced labour and sterilisations on these Uyghur prisoners.
The Dutch parliament has recently condemned the communist regime’s genocide of the Uyghur people, following in the United States and Canada’s footsteps. China continues to reject these accusations, claiming its camps are simply vocational training centres necessary to fight so-called extremism from the Uyghur people.
Zhang Ming, the ambassador of the CCP to the EU, tweeted Beijing refused to change its policies regardless of the sanctions. The China mission to the EU retweeted these comments:
“Sanctions are confrontational. We want dialogue, not confrontation. We ask the EU side to think twice. If some insist on confrontation, we will not back down, as we have no options other than fulfilling our responsibilities to the people.”
Although Beijing has invited EU ambassadors to view the Uyghur situation in Xinjiang, envoys cannot visit under the CCP’s strict conditions and monitoring.
Reuters. (March 17, 2021). EU envoys agree first China sanctions in three decades.