BRUSSELS The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of responsibility for abuses against Uighur Muslims in a series of measures targeting human rights violators around the world, despite warnings that Beijing could retaliate.
four are senior officials in the northwest Xinjiang region.
Sanctions include freezing their assets in the EU and banning them from traveling to the bloc. European citizens and companies are not allowed to provide them with financial assistance.
China initially denied the existence of Uighur detention camps in Xinjiang but has since described them as centers to provide job training and re-educate those exposed to radical jihadist thought. Officials deny all allegations of human rights abuses there.
Xinjiang had been a hotbed of anti-government violence, but Beijing claims its massive security crackdown has brought peace in recent years.
Last week, China’s ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, suggested that Beijing retaliate.
We want dialogue, not confrontation. We ask the EU side to think twice. If some insist on confrontation, we will not back down, as we have no choice but to fulfill our responsibilities to the people in our country, he said.
The new EU sanctioning system is similar to the Obama-era Magnitsky-era law authorizing the U.S. government to sanction those it sees as human rights violators, freeze their assets, and bar entry their in the United States.
EU foreign ministers, as part of Monday’s move, also imposed sanctions on repression in North Korea, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTI people and political opponents in Chechnya in Russia, and “torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in South Sudan and Eritrea,” the statement said.
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