China has today issued sanctions against 10 EU citizens, including five MEPs, accusing them of “gross interference” in Chinese internal affairs and “maliciously spreading lies and false information.”
The Chinese leadership has let me know that I will not be allowed to visit the mainland, Hong Kong or Macao. But then there is Taiwan. 🙂
— Reinhard Bütikofer (@bueti) March 22, 2021
The move came hours after the EU imposed its first sanctions on China in over 30 years. The sanctions targeted Chinese Communist Party officials in China’s Xinjiang province who are believed to be involved in the administration of the detention camp system which over 1 million Uyghurs have been imprisoned within. Reports from inside the region have detailed involuntary detainment, torture, involuntary sterilisations, and forced political indoctrination. Experts have increasingly taken to saying that the situation in Xinjiang meets the formal legal criteria to be considered a genocide.
The #EU sanctions as well as earlier #US sanctions were a principled response to fast-deteriorating human rights situation in #Xinjiang. I’m sad to see that instead of addressing the point of the sanctions #China is engaging in threats & counter-sanctionshttps://t.co/zq7aPw7nQx pic.twitter.com/dyI6JGmeSk
— Miriam M. Lexmann (@MiriamMLex) March 22, 2021
Five of the 10 individuals sanctioned, including two of the MEPs, are associated with the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China [IPAC]. Adrian Zenz, a researcher who has done considerably work on highlighting human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, is amongst the 10 people sanctions. Zenz is an advisor to IPAC.
IPAC have released a statement saying that it “deplores these attempts by the Chinese Government to intimidate and silence our parliamentary members and advisors.”
The organisation says that it “will not be distracted from its mission, which is to defend the principles of a fair and rights-respecting world order…we will not bow to attempts to suppress free speech in our legislatures, universities or other public spaces”
The group also said that that move, which they classed as “public intimidation of foreign politicians and researchers”, would only serve to “undermine and discredit” the Chinese Communist Party.
We deplore these attempts by to intimidate and silence our parliamentary members and advisors.
Full statement ???? pic.twitter.com/qW416iKMz0
— Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (@ipacglobal) March 22, 2021
The full list of the individual sanctioned is: the German MEP Reinhard Bütikofer; German MEP Michael Gahler; French MEP Raphaël Glucksmann; Slovakian MEP Miriam Lexmann;, Bulgarian MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk; Belgian parliamentarian Samuel Cogolati; Lithuanian parliamentarian Dovile Sakaliene; Dutch parliamentarian Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma; and researchers Björn Jerdén and Adrian Zenz.