Targeting four officials and one entity . . .
Global Affairs Canada, along with its counterparts in the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, announced sanctions against four Chinese government officials and one entity on Monday for their role in human rights violations in Xinjiang. This is the first time Canada and the EU have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The sanctions impose an asset freeze and travel ban against the targeted officials and prohibit any Canadian entity from providing them with financial services. The sanctions target government and party officials in charge of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the region’s Public Security Bureau. They also apply to the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, a government-run security and policing organization.
Chinese countermeasures . . .
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson denounced Europe’s sanctions, warning that the EU’s latest move will “severely [undermine] China-EU relations.” In a tit-for-tat response, Beijing immediately imposed sanctions against ten officials and four entities from the EU, including members of the European Parliament. A number of European civil society organizations and think-tanks are also in Beijing’s cross-hairs, including the Germany-based Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Denmark-based Alliance of Democracies Foundation. The sanctions prohibit European officials and family members from entering mainland China, Macao, and Hong Kong, or doing business with China.
EU-China investment agreement in jeopardy . . .
While China and the EU reached an agreement in principle on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) last December, the agreement’s adoption and ratification by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament must now be questioned. Some European legislators have already criticized the CAI’s labour chapter for not being stringent enough in light of the forced labour allegations in Xinjiang. With the new tit-for-tat sanctions, it is unclear whether there will be sufficient support within the European Parliament for ratification. Asia Watch will continue to follow developments.
- CBC: Canada sanctions 4 Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang
- The Globe and Mail: China responds angrily to Canada’s sanctions over human-rights abuses in Xinjiang
- South China Morning Post: Xinjiang: EU ready to ‘cross a threshold’ with China sanctions, but unlikely to match hardline US approach