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Senin, 22 Maret 2021

EU, US, UK, Canada target China officials over Uyghur abuses - ABC News

The European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States have launched coordinated sanctions against officials in China over human rights abuses in the far western Xinjiang region, provoking swift retaliation from Beijing.

The EU targeted four senior officials in Xinjiang, involving a freeze on their assets and a ban on travelling in the bloc.

The 27-nation bloc also froze the assets of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which it describes as a "state-owned economic and paramilitary organisation" that runs Xinjiang and controls its economy.
 
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the measures were part of "intensive diplomacy" by the UK, the US, Canada and the 27-nation EU to force action amid mounting evidence about serious rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim people.

The sanctions came a day after Australian Parliament debated the issue.

A dozen MPs from the Coalition, Labor, and the Greens spoke in favour of a motion put forward by veteran Liberal MP Kevin Andrews which expresses "abhorrence" at "systematic" breaches of human rights in China, particularly against ethnic minorities.

'Justice for the many victims'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that "a united transatlantic response sends a strong signal to those who violate or abuse international human rights, and we will take further actions in coordination with like-minded partners."

"We will continue to stand with our allies around the world in calling for an immediate end to the PRC's crimes and for justice for the many victims," Mr Blinken said.

China responded immediately to the EU's move, slapping sanctions on 10 European individuals and four institutions that it said had damaged China's interests and "maliciously spread lies and disinformation".

Initially, China denied the existence of camps for detaining Uyghurs in Xinjiang but has since described them as centres to provide job training and to reeducate those exposed to radical jihadi thinking. Officials deny all charges of human rights abuses there. 

Xinjiang had been a hotbed of anti-government violence, but Beijing claims its massive security crackdown brought peace in recent years.

A man sits in front of a screen showing a Uyghur couple living a 'happy life'
China denies abuses and insists life for Uyghurs is improving.(

AP: Sam McNeil

)

China's Foreign Ministry denounced the EU sanctions as "based on nothing but lies and disinformation" as it issued its own retaliatory measures. 

The ministry announced sanctions against 10 individuals and four institutions, saying that they and their family members would be barred from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao and cut off from financial dealings with those areas.

Among those targeted was Adrian Zenz, a US-based German scholar who has publicised abuses against minority groups in China's regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

China has said companies and individuals have petitioned to sue Dr Zenz, but it wasn't clear who the plaintiffs were or how they would pursue legal action across borders.

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Others targeted for sanctions include five members of the European Parliament.

EU 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."

A grey-haired man presents at a lectern in front of an EU banner
Mr Borrell describes Western coordination on Xinjiang as "perfect".(

AP: Aris Oikonomou

)

"Rather than change its policies and address our legitimate concerns, China has again turned a blind eye, and these measures are regrettable and unacceptable," Mr Borrell said.

"There will be no change in European Union determination to defend human rights and to respond to serious violations and abuses," he added, and described the coordination between the EU, Britain, Canada and the US as "perfect."

The new EU sanction system is similar to the Magnitsky Act — Obama-era legislation that authorises the US government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the United States.

As part of Monday's move, the EU also imposed sanctions over repression in North Korea, "extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTIQ people and political opponents in Chechnya in Russia, and torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in South Sudan and Eritrea," a statement said. 

AP/ABC

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2021-03-22 20:02:12Z
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