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West imposes coordinated sanctions on Chinese officials over Xinjiang abuses, China hits back

(TibetanReview.net, Mar23’21) – Several Western countries – the European Union, UK, US and Canada – have made a coordinated move to impose sanctions on officials in China over rights abuses against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority group. China has responded with its own sanctions on European officials.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the treatment of Uighurs amounted to “appalling violations of the most basic human rights”, reported the bbc.com Mar 23.

The report noted that the EU had not imposed new sanctions on China over human rights abuses since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, when troops in Beijing opened fire on pro-democracy protesters.

The sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, target senior officials in Xinjiang who have been accused of serious human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.

Those targeted by the sanctions are:

Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, the local police force

Wang Mingshan, a member of Xinjiang’s Communist Party standing committee, who, the EU says, “holds a key political position in charge of overseeing” the detention of Uighurs

Wang Junzheng, party secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a state-owned economic and paramilitary organisation

The former deputy Communist Party head in Xinjiang, Zhu Hailun, who is accused of having held a “key political position” in overseeing the running of the camps

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which is in charge of implementing XPCC policies on security matters, including the management of detention centres

The report said Mr Raab called the abuse of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang “one of the worst human rights crises of our time”.

“I think it’s clear that by acting with our partners – 30 of us in total – we are sending the clearest message to the Chinese government, that the international community will not turn a blind eye to such serious and systematic violations of basic human rights and that we will act in concert to hold those responsible to account,” Raab was reported to have told fellow parliamentarians.

In its tit-for-tat move, China has on Mar 22 announced sanctions against 10 individuals and four entities on the EU side, saying they had severely harmed China’s sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation.

Citing a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 22 named the individuals and entities to be sanctioned as Reinhard Butikofer, Michael Gahler, Raphael Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann of the European Parliament, Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma of the Dutch Parliament, Samuel Cogolati of the Belgian Federal Parliament, Dovile Sakaliene of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, German scholar Adrian Zenz, Swedish scholar Bjorn Jerden, Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union, Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Denmark.

The report said the individuals concerned and their families were prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. Besides, they and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.

France’s foreign ministry on Mar 22 denounced the sanctions and decided to summon Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye over it as well as for his “unacceptable comments”, including “insults and threats toward lawmakers and a French researcher.”

Lu had called Antoine Bondaz, a China specialist at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) think-tank, a “small-time hoodlum,” a “crazed hyena” and “ideological troll” with “anti-Chinese” stances after he complained about Chinese pressure on French lawmakers hoping to visit Taiwan.

The AFP quoted the foreign ministry as saying it would remind Lu of “the elementary rules as set out by the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations… the embassy is requested to conform strictly with them.”

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