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First Time in Thirty Years EU Sanctions Chinese



The financial sanctions imposed on Monday punish some officials responsible for the Uyghur genocide in East Turkistan, Xinjiang.

The European Union imposed sanctions on Monday on four Chinese Communist Party's officials, including a top security director, for human rights abuses in East Turkistan, Xinjiang, the first sanctions against Beijing since an arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Accused of mass detentions of Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China, those targeted with sanctions included Mr. Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau. The EU said Mr. Chen was responsible for “serious human rights violations.”

In its Official Journal, the EU accused Mr. Chen of “arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment inflicted upon Uighurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities, as well as systematic violations of their freedom of religion or belief”.

Others hit with travel bans and asset freezes were: senior Communist China's officials Mr. Wang Mingshan and Mr. Wang Junzheng, the former head of China’s Xinjiang region, Mr. Zhu Hailun, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau.

Communist China denies any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

While mainly symbolic, the sanctions mark a significant hardening in the EU’s policy towards Beijing regime, which Brussels long regarded as a benign trading partner but now views as a systematic abuser of basic rights and freedoms.

"Sanctions very important the first concrete action"

World Uyghur Congress, the group which represents the nation's political refugees, called the sanctions very important the first concrete action was taken by the EU to address the Uyghur genocide.

The introduction of today’s sanctions do not justify for the EU to take a weaker approach to other China-related policy areas such as the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and European-wide mandatory due diligence legislation, the author of the statement said.  Only a consistent human rights-based approach, in cooperation with international allies, will make concrete advances in ending the Uyghur genocide, the author emphasised.

All 27 EU governments agreed to the punitive measures, but Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, called them harmful and pointless, reflecting the bloc’s divisions on how to deal with China’s rise and to protect business interests.

But the EU, which sees itself as a champion of human rights, is deeply worried about the fate of the Uighurs. Britain, Canada and the United States have also expressed serious concerns.

Researchers and U.N. rights experts say at least 3 million Muslims are being detained in not less than 350 camps in the remote western region of East Turkistan, Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations.


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