Brussels (Brussels Morning) EU ambassadors have approved the extension of sanctions for human rights violations, according to two diplomats.
The decision, to be adopted formally in December, includes the renewal of sanctions against one Chinese entity and four Chinese officials, according to Reuters reporting.
The move puts the EU-China investment agreement signed at the end of 2020 in jeopardy since Beijing warned last week that the deal would not be ratified until the EU lifts its sanctions on Chinese entities and officials.
China describes EU sanctions for human rights violations as internal interference.
The Chinese entity in question is the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which the EU accuses of “large-scale arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment” of Uyghurs.
Among the Chinese officials targeted by sanctions for human rights violations in Xinjiang is Chen Mingguo, head of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, whom the EU accuses of severe human rights violations.
The four officials were added to the EU’s sanctions list in March because of violations of human rights in Xinjiang region. Beijing’s response at the time was to impose sanctions on EU officials.
First restrictions since 1989
EU sanctions over Xinjiang represent the bloc’s first restrictive measures against China since the arms embargo imposed in 1989 in the wake of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Last week, China’s Ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, stated that the EU-China investment pact was jeopardised by “obstacles caused by the European side”, when he pointedly reminded that the negotiations took seven years and 35 rounds.
Other individuals on the EU’s human rights sanctions list, which was drawn up at the end of last year to punish severe human rights abuses abroad, include Libyan, North Korean, Russian and South Sudanese nationals.
According to diplomats, EU ministers are to renew travel bans and asset freezes at a meeting in Brussels slated for early December.