The Chinese administration has recently sanctioned more than 20 officials, politicians and researchers in the UK, EU, Canada and the United States in retaliation for coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
“I think this is unprecedented,” said Dobili Shakarien, a member of the Lithuanian parliament sanctioned by China, online. panel discussion On April 8, “sanctions were applied for the first time to protect human rights, not to violate them.”
Blacklisted officials and their families are prohibited from doing business with Chinese companies or traveling to China.
But sanctions haven’t helped China’s administration, said Miriam Rexman, another member of the sanctioned EU Parliament, at the same event. It only allows more people to see what China can do, she said.
Around 1 million Uighurs It was held in a secret camp in the northwestern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to UN experts. Residents of the administration are also subject to strict surveillance and forced sterilization. The US government estimates that China’s 100,000 Uighurs and other Muslim minorities could be targeted. Forced labor After detention in a re-education camp.
“No one should be trampled on their dignity. No one should be forced to work against their will. In cotton fields, they should not be sterilized anywhere because of their ethnicity.” Šakalienė said.
The Chinese Communist Party “shot themselves with both feet,” she said. “By first sanctioning 10 EU individuals and groups, and then extending the sanctions to more European countries.”
“They completely ignore the difference between authoritarian regimes and democracies, and they feel that they are completely arrogant and superpowers that can completely ignore us.”
Šakalienė said that both the United States and Europe are large markets and can be used to put pressure on the Chinese administration.
Mr Rexman said Western nations need to move their business and cooperation from China to other democracies. By supporting economic cooperation between democracies, they can at least ensure that their money does not support human rights abuses or undermine our democracy.
She also pointed out that democracies need to see developing countries being exploited by Beijing.
The Chinese administration is using a large-scale global infrastructure investment program called the “Belt and Road” initiative to increase interest in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and South America.
If the West does nothing to counter this initiative, the administration will be able to scoop up the strategic infrastructure of these countries, creating “a tremendous negative impact,” Rexman said.
When asked, “How can we criticize China when we have our own problems?” Šakalienė replied that in democracy, despite the human rights issues they face, they acknowledge and try to resolve them. However, totalitarian regimes either deny their problems or try to move the spotlight elsewhere.
Šakalienė said the tactic was used by the Soviet Union against the United States during the Cold War. “”[The] The Soviet Union would say [the] The United States says that there is racial discrimination there. So how can we talk about human rights? “She said.
Reinhard Butikofer, a member of the European Parliament and chair of a parliamentary delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China, rejected the underlying premise of the question.
“I disagree with the statement that you can only criticize the devil if you are an angel,” Bütikofer said.
Šakalienė hoped that the Western partnership would be further leveraged to counter the invasion of the Chinese administration, such as against Taiwan.
“I’m worried about the rising levels of aggression, imperialism, and arrogance,” she said.