A major European Union-China investment deal has been thrown into question after China resorted to aggressive diplomacy in response to EU sanctions.
The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada on March 22 unveiled coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) oppressive policy in the far-western Xinjiang region. The EU sanctioned four Chinese officials under the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, which went into effect in December last year.
The CCP is committing genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, subjecting them to forced sterilization, forced abortion, torture, forced labor, and the removal of children from their families. Additionally, more than one million Uyghurs are being detained in internment camps—facilities the communist regime has defended as “vocational training schools.”
The Chinese regime’s apparent retaliation angered the European governments, with at least nine countries—including Belgium, Denmark, France, and Sweden—summoning China’s ambassadors in their countries to voice protests.
Chinese embassies in the European Union also took countermeasures. According to Chinese state-run media Guancha, Chinese embassies in 15 European countries have lodged complaints about the Xinjiang sanctions at the countries’ foreign ministries as of March 25.
The strained relations between China and the EU now put the bilateral investment deal—which was inked in December last year after seven years of negotiations—on the brink of collapse. The deal, which has yet to be ratified by the European Parliament and approved by the EU Council, has long been criticized over China’s continued human rights abuses and poor labor conditions.
On March 27, Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, said the investment deal isn’t going anywhere at the moment, according to the German daily newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine.