China slaps retaliatory sanctions on EU officials

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Beijing immediately hit back against EU sanctions imposed today over its abuses against the Muslim minority in Xinjiang and slapped retaliatory measures on a host of EU officials, potentially including 27 ambassadors as well as and other political targets.

The most prominent entity on China’s hit-list is the European Council’s Political and Security Committee. The Chinese statement did not immediately specify whether the new sanctions directly targeted the 27 ambassadors who make up the PSC. Neither the EU Council nor the Chinese mission to the EU could immediately clarify this.

Five members of the European Parliament are on the list, including the prominent head of the Parliament’s China delegation Reinhard Bütikofer, as well as as Michael Gahler, Raphaël Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann. The subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament is also sanctioned.

The Chinese list was announced moments after the EU approved a list of four Xinjiang officials to be sanctioned, including the region’s No. 2 Communist Party leader.

“The EU’s move, based on nothing but lies and disinformation, disregards and distorts facts, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely undermines China-EU relations,” a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The individuals concerned and their families are prohibited from entering the mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau,” the spokesman said. “They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.”

“The Chinese side urges the EU side to reflect on itself, face squarely the severity of its mistake and redress it. It must stop lecturing others on human rights and interfering in their internal affairs. It must end the hypocritical practice of double standards and stop going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions,” he added.

Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma of the Dutch Parliament, who called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, Lithuanian lawmaker Dovilė Šakalienė, and Belgian lawmaker Samuel Cogolati, who attempted to put up a genocide bill in the legislature, were also sanctioned by Beijing.

German scholar Adrian Zenz, whose works on Xinjiang’s camps have been widely cited, and Swedish scholar Björn Jerdén are also in the list, alongside the prominent Berlin-based China research center, the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany.

Beijing also targeted the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Denmark, led by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Jacopo Barigazzi contributed reporting.

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