EU member states summon Chinese envoys for sanctions | Political news

Several European countries, including France and Germany, have summoned Chinese envoys, escalating a diplomatic dispute sparked by the Western powers’ decision to impose sanctions on Beijing for its alleged human rights violations against Uyghurs.

The move came on Tuesday after China sanctioned a number of European officials in what was a retaliatory measure for punitive measures rolled out the day before by the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. .

China’s sanctions targeted several European nationals – five of whom are members of the European Parliament – and four institutions which it said had harmed the country’s interests and “maliciously spread lies and disinformation.”

Belgian lawmaker Samuel Cogolati and French MEP Raphael Glucksmann were among the 10 people selected.

In response to China’s decision, EU members Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany all called Chinese ambassadors on Tuesday.

France gives notice of disapproval

The Chinese envoy to Belgium was scheduled to attend a meeting on Tuesday, an anonymous government source told AFP news agency.

France also summoned the Chinese ambassador on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reported, citing an anonymous source from the French Foreign Ministry.

The decision underscored the unacceptable nature of the insults and threats directed at French lawmakers and a researcher, as well as Beijing’s decision to sanction some European officials, the source said.

Ambassador to France Lu Shaye was told of France’s disapproval of its decision to impose retaliatory sanctions at the meeting, the source added.

Shaye was previously summoned by the Foreign Ministry in April last year for messages and embassy tweets defending Beijing’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and criticizing its handling by Western countries.

The Chinese embassy last week warned against French lawmakers meeting with officials on an upcoming visit to Taiwan, which sparked a rebuff from France.

Since then he has had an argument on Twitter with Antoine Bondaz, an expert on China at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, in which the embassy described him as a “little thug” and a “mad hyena. “.

“This continues to be unacceptable and has crossed the boundaries of a foreign embassy,” the French official said after Lu was received by the head of the Asia department of the foreign ministry.

The Foreign Ministry source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Lu’s behavior created an obstacle to improving relations between China and France.

The source added that Lu was “visibly shocked at the extremely bluntness of what he was told” at Tuesday’s meeting and tried to change the conversation to discuss Taiwan, which China considers to be a renegade province to resume with the use of force if necessary.

Germany and Denmark are also taking action

Germany also called on the Chinese ambassador for “urgent talks,” the country’s foreign ministry said.

“Chinese Ambassador Wu Ken has been called for urgent talks with Secretary of State Miguel Berger,” the ministry said.

Berger “made clear the view of the German government that the Chinese sanctions against MEPs, scientists and political institutions as well as non-governmental organizations represent an inappropriate escalation which unnecessarily puts the ties between the EU and China “, he added.

Denmark also summoned the Chinese ambassador following Beijing’s sanctions, which included punitive measures against an organization founded by a former Danish prime minister, the country’s foreign ministry said.

The Chinese envoy met with officials from the Danish Foreign Ministry and was briefed on Denmark’s dissatisfaction with the measures, the ministry said.

“When China sanctions free and critical European politicians, institutions and dissidents just for criticizing China, it is a clear attack on the freedom of expression of citizens in Europe and Denmark,” the minister said. Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod in a statement.

Kofod also pointed out that the Chinese sanctions are different from those of the EU.

“Let me stress that EU sanctions only affect Chinese officials, who are directly responsible for gross human rights violations,” Kofod said.

Germany also called on the Chinese ambassador to the country over Beijing’s imposition of sanctions, AFP reported, citing a foreign ministry source.

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