West sanctions PRC over Xinjiang abuses, Beijing hits back at EU
Britain, Canada, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the first such coordinated Western action against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under U.S. President Joe Biden.
The PRC hit back immediately with punitive measures against the EU that appeared broader, including targeting European lawmakers, diplomats, institutes and families, and banning their businesses from trading with China.
Western governments are seeking to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for mass detentions of Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China, where the U.S. said the CCP is committing genocide.
Chinese officials deny all accusations of abuse.
The coordinated effort appeared to be early fruit in a concerted U.S. diplomatic push to confront the PRC in league with allies, a core element of President Biden’s still evolving China policy.
Senior U.S. administration officials have said they are in daily contact with governments in Europe on China-related issues, something they call the “Europe roadshow.”
“Amid growing international condemnation, [the PRC] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in statement ahead of meetings with EU and NATO ministers in Brussels.
Canada’s Foreign Ministry said: “Mounting evidence points to systemic, state-led human rights violations by Chinese authorities.”
Activists and United Nations rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse the CCP of using torture, forced labor and sterilizations. CCP officials said its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.
The EU was the first to impose sanctions on four Chinese officials, including a top security director, and one entity, a decision later mirrored by Britain and Canada.
Those also targeted by the U.S. were Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and another senior official in the region, Wang Junzheng.
The foreign ministers of Britain and Canada issued a joint statement with Blinken, saying the three were united in demanding that the CCP end its “repressive practices” in Xinjiang.
Evidence of abuses was “overwhelming,” including satellite imagery, eyewitness testimony, and the Chinese government’s own documents, they said.
Separately, the foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand issued a statement expressing “grave concerns about the growing number of credible reports of severe human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang” and welcoming the measures announced by Britain, Canada, the EU and the U.S.
IMAGE CREDIT: ISTOCK