China inflicts retaliatory sanctions on European Union officials


China has summoned the European Union's ambassador to protest against the sanctions imposed on Chinese officials over the human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The EU imposed sanctions against four Chinese officials over the crackdown on the Uighur people in China's western Xinjiang region.

The U.S. last week sanctioned 24 officials in mainland China and Hong Kong for planning an electoral system overhaul that Washington calls an "assault on democracy".

The sanctions blacklisted former and current officials in the Xinjiang region - Zhu Hailun, Wang Junzheng, Wang Mingshan and Chen Mingguo - for alleged abuses, which have sparked global outrage. Stuff Circuit's Deleted documentary last week revealed connections between some businesses which had received Government funding and a Chinese tech company, iFlytek, which provided voice recognition technology used in human rights violations against Uyghurs.

The outspoken government backbencher George Christensen said: "The road to Auschwitz was paved with indifference, and if we remain indifferent to the Chinese Communist party's treatment of ethnic and religious groups we will forever wear the shame of having stood by and watched when we could have acted".

The move comes shortly after the European Union agreed to sanction China for human rights abuses against the Uyghurs at a foreign ministers' meeting earlier on Monday in Brussels.

The EU imposed travel and economic sanctions on four of China's officials in response to the imprisonment of hundreds of Uyghur Muslims.

A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018.

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He said often when an officer makes an arrest, crowds of people will circle the police and challenge the detainment. One commissioner asked whether a toll could be levied on non-residents to discourage visitors.

Human rights groups allege more than one million Uyghurs have been placed in internment camps, but Beijing claims they are training centres created to help stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.

China has denied the allegations, claiming the camps are "re-education" facilities being used to combat terrorism.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting of foreign ministers, expressed dismay at China's reaction and said the EU's sanctions respect the "highest standards of rule of law".

German politician Reinhard Butikofer, who chairs the European Parliament's delegation to China, was among the most high profile officials on China's list. Adrian Zenz, a leading expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, and Swedish scholar Bjorn Jerden were also targeted.

Together with the listing of four Russian individuals earlier this month, these 15 designations are part of the first broader package of listings under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

"Let this be an encouragement to all my European colleagues: Speak out!"

"China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this", said the spokesperson, adding that the Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.