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EU parliament calls for China sanctions over Uighur rights violations

The European Parliament has called for targeted sanctions to be imposed against Chinese officials over the treatment of the Uighur minority, in a fresh attack against Beijing.

MEPs said tools used so far by the EU have not led to tangible progress in China’s human rights record which they said had worsened in the past year, in a resolution adopted Thursday.

eu parliament

European Parliament. Photo: Wikicommons.

“MEPs call on the Council to adopt targeted sanctions and freeze assets, if deemed appropriate and effective, against the Chinese officials responsible for severe repression of basic rights in Xinjiang,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

“(MEPs) urge the Chinese government to immediately end the practice of arbitrary detentions without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence and to immediately and unconditionally release all detained persons, including this year’s laureate of the Sakharov Prize, Ilham Tohti,” it added.

China has faced growing international condemnation for rounding up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in a network of internment camps.

Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, but now says they are “vocational training centres” necessary to combat terrorism.

Ilham Tohti

Ilham Tohti. Photo: World Uyghur Congress.

Last month, the New York Times obtained 403 documents on Beijing’s crackdown on mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in the region, including unpublished speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping who urged officials to show “absolutely no mercy” against extremists.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament presented a human rights award to the daughter of jailed Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti.

Jewher Ilham collected the Sakharov Prize on behalf of her father, an economics professor hailed by the parliament as a “voice of moderation and reconciliation” but condemned by Beijing as “terrorist”.


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EU parliament calls for China sanctions over Uighur rights violations