By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 24: The European Union levied sanctions on four high ranking Chinese officials, and one entity, for being central to the human rights violations in East Turkestan (Ch: Xinjiang) since 2019. The EU extended the sanctions as it said there have been no improvement in the region. The Coreper II committee of the EU will discuss the sanctions on Nov. 30, after which they will be approved in a ministers’ meeting from EU member states on Dec. 5.
The four sanctioned Chinese officials are Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Zhu Hailun; the Communist Party Secretary for Tibet and previously head of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Xinjiang, Wang Junzheng; Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Political and Legal Affairs Commission, Wang Mingshan; and Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, Chen Mingguo. The first time these punitive measures were announced, China hit back almost immediately with their own sanctions on ten European individuals and four entities, which include academicians, politicians and officials.
The sanctioned entity is the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which the EU said has been “responsible for serious human rights violations in China, in particular large-scale arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment inflicted upon Uyghurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities”. EU diplomats also pointed to the UN’s report on which claimed that the actions of the Chinese government “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”.
The report named four officials as the architects of a “large-scale surveillance, detention and indoctrination programme targeting Uygurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities” in East Turkestan (Ch: Xinjiang), where the Beijing government has allegedly detained over a million Uyghurs in detention camps. The EU’s sanctions on China are the first significant “restrictive measures” since an EU arms’ ban in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy crackdown.