Brussels is taking a stand against China: Sanctions against members of the European Parliament should be dropped, or an investment treaty abolished

Steel coil in the transhipment port of Shenyang, Northeast China.Photo of the Environmental Protection Agency

China, which the European Union regards as the main culprit of the diplomatic crisis, is refusing to backtrack on the sanctions. Due to this stalemate, the investment treaty between Beijing and Brussels has been suspended indefinitely.

The China European Investment Treaty (CAI) was signed at the end of last year and is awaiting ratification by the European Parliament. Before that measure began, in March the European Union imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials that Brussels held responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang. An estimated one million Uyghurs and other Muslims are in re-education camps, and this is said to be the case forced labour.

China, which denies the allegations as “lies and misinformation,” immediately responded with unprecedented sanctions. In addition to the dozens of European Parliament members and diplomats, the European Union Human Rights Commission, European think tanks and individual academics have been banned.

The largest trading partner of the European Union

China overtook the United States last year as the largest trading partner of the European Union. Last year, 586 billion euros were spent in Sino-European trade. The investment treaty does something about the unfair treatment of European companies in China. For China, the agreement is less urgent economically, because open European markets already give Chinese companies access. CAI is of political importance to Beijing because such an investment agreement contributes to China’s image as an honest and reliable partner.

However, since the sanctions, the CIA has been suspended by a thread. European Commissioner Valdes Dombrowski recently stated that “due to diplomatic tensions”, it is now pointless to seek political support for CAI.

Difficult language of Brussels

Although the resolution is not binding, and in the end the Commission decided, harsh language at the Brussels summit is revealed, especially since 599 members of the European Parliament support the resolution – only 30 voted against it and 58 abstained. The European Parliament is dissatisfied with the lack of “tangible progress in human rights” in European policy towards China. The fact that the heads of the Council of Europe and the European Commission have not even clearly stated that “ Chinese sanctions against democratically elected members of the European Parliament will not be tolerated ” upsets the European Parliament, as does the slowdown in taking practical steps to reduce Brussels’ discontent. With hollow autonomy. To Hong Kong. Hungary recently thwarted an attempt to impose sanctions on Hong Kong.

As far as the European Parliament is concerned, the European Union is more assertive against China. That is why Brussels should accelerate initiatives to combat forced labor in European companies’ production chains. The European Parliament also wants the 10 member states that have extradition treaties with China to suspend them. With these treaties, China is trying to send back Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong citizens and Chinese dissidents residing in Europe for trial in China.

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