PRESS RELEASE: WUC WELCOMES EU SANCTIONS ON CHINA OVER UYGHUR HUMAN RIGHTS ATROCITIES
The World Uyghur Congress applauds the decision of the European Union (EU) to sanction four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity over their complicity in the atrocities against the Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan.
The sanctioned officials are Zhu Hailun, former Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee and current Deputy Secretary of the Xinjiang People’s Congress; Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB); Wang Junzheng, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) and Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Uyghur Region; and Mingshan Wang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of the Uyghur Region, and Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the XUAR. Finally, the blacklisted entity is the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC, also known as Bingtuan) , a state-owned paramilitary organization responsible for operating the camps and the ‘forced labour transfer schemes’.
“These sanctions send a clear message from the European Union to the CCP that they can no longer commit a genocide against the Uyghurs with impunity”, WUC President Dolkun Isa said. “We thank the European Union for this vital step and urge the rest of the international community to follow suit. Only through concrete action like this can we stop the Uyghur genocide and end the suffering of the Uyghur people.’’
After an agreement between EU ambassadors was reportedly reached last week, the sanctions were formally approved by EU foreign ministers today, as part of a wider list that also includes officials from Russia, Libya, South Sudan, and North Korea. The sanctions will be applied under the recently introduced EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, and will include asset freezes and travel bans. Moreover, it forbids persons and entities from the EU to make funds available, directly or indirectly, to those listed.
By applying these sanctions to China, the EU follows the United States, which in July 2020 blacklisted Zhu Hailun and Mingshan Wang under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The EU sanctioning China is its first concrete action by means of an autonomous mechanism to hold China accountable for its genocidal campaign against the Uyghurs and other Turkic people. Indeed, the targeted officials have all played a crucial role in the organization and execution of the ongoing Uyghur Genocide. It is expected that the United Kingdom will follow suit, and blacklist Chinese officials and entities under its own sanctions regime this afternoon.
In retaliation of the EU sanctions, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson announced sanctions on ten European individuals, including MEPs Reinhardt Bütikofer, Raphaël Glucksmann, and Belgian MP Samuel Cogolati, as well as four entities, including the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI).
While the new EU sanctions are very important as the first concrete action taken by the EU to address the Uyghur genocide, the EU must apply this position consistently to its relations with China. The introduction of today’s sanctions do not justify for the EU to take a weaker approach to other China-related policy areas such as the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) and European-wide mandatory due diligence legislation. Only a consistent human rights-based approach, in cooperation with international allies, will make concrete advances in ending the Uyghur genocide.