Monday, 22 March 2021

 

EU Imposes Sanctions Against China Over Human Rights Abuses

Updated on 
  • Measures aimed at four Chinese nationals and one entity
  • Beijing denies that any personal freedoms have been restricted
 Uyghur Turks living in Istanbul, some who cannot contact their relatives in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, protest outside the Chinese Consulate-General in Istanbul, on Feb. 16.
Uyghur Turks living in Istanbul, some who cannot contact their relatives in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, protest outside the Chinese Consulate-General in Istanbul, on Feb. 16. Photographer: Elif Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The European Union signed off on a slate of punitive measures over human rights abuses including sanctions aimed at China.

“The violations targeted today include the large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China,” according to an EU statement on Monday. “The sanctions signal the EU’s strong determination to stand up for human rights and to take tangible action against those responsible for violations and abuses.”

The EU move to sanction the officials is likely to be mostly symbolic. While the U.S. has imposed sanctions on a number of Communist Party officials -- including two Politburo members -- the measures haven’t impacted China’s economy or changed its behavior.

The measures are aimed at four Chinese nationals and one entity, according to the regulations posted in the EU’s official journal. The broader sanctions would also target violations in Libya, Russia and Eritrea.

The EU action is part of a new human rights violation regime targeting abuses in different countries and regions. The new sanctions will affect 11 individuals and four entities. The bloc first used this approach against Russia earlier this year over the jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Last week, China’s ambassador to the EU warned the bloc not to interfere in its national security affairs, saying sanctions could fuel a confrontation. Beijing has denied that any personal freedoms have been restricted and has touted the benefits to people living in the region.

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