For a long time, the EU only responded with calls for the oppression of the Uyghurs in China. That’s the end now – despite clear warnings from the Chinese EU ambassador.
Brussels (dpa) – For the first time in more than 30 years, the EU has re-imposed sanctions on China for human rights violations.
Foreign ministers of the 27 member states decided to take punitive measures in Brussels against those responsible for the oppression of the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region. The German news agency learned this from EU circles.
The sanctions provide that all assets of the natural or legal persons concerned are frozen. In addition, they may no longer be made available to money or economic resources. They are now also prohibited from entering the EU. The names of those affected will be published in the Official Journal of the EU shortly.
It is eagerly awaited how China will respond to the decision. Chinese EU ambassador Zhang Ming recently sharply criticized the EU’s plans. “Sanctions are confrontational,” he said. His country wants dialogue, but will not back down when others push for confrontation.
The EU last imposed sanctions against China for human rights violations following the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989. They include an arms embargo that is still in place. Hundreds of people were killed in the bloody crackdown on the democracy movement when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed against peaceful protesters. The exact number is unknown to this day.
Last year, Beijing was “deeply concerned” about EU sanctions imposed on a company and two hackers from China for cyber attacks. According to the EU, those affected attacked information systems of multinational companies around the world.
The new sanctions must now be decided because of China’s way of dealing with the Uyghurs. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui and members of other minorities have been sent to re-education camps in Xinjiang. Germany has long criticized China’s dealings with the Uyghurs. China, however, rejects the allegations and speaks of training centers.
Uyghurs are ethnically related to the Turks and feel oppressed by the Han Chinese ruling Xinjiang. After coming to power in Beijing in 1949, the communists incorporated the former East Turkestan into the People’s Republic. Beijing accuses Uyghur groups of terrorism.
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