China’s investment agreement with Europe is in tatters as major parties in the European Parliament are considering withholding support to the trade deal after Beijing imposed sanctions on EU officials.
The South China Morning Post reported that three of the four biggest parties of the EU have already said that they cannot support the deal until sanctions are lifted.
“China is trying to intimidate us by silencing MEPs [Members of European Parliament] because they denounced the human rights abuses against Uygurs in China,” said EPP Chairman Manfred Weber in a video posted on social media.
The trade deal requires ratification by the European Parliament – a process slated to begin next year, SCMP reported.
This comes after Beijing imposed retaliatory sanctions on the EU officials following the European Council’s decision to impose sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity.
On Tuesday, the MEPs had reiterated their serious concerns regarding human rights abuses in China, particularly the persecution of the Uyghur minority in the province of Xinjiang.
Condemning the retaliatory sanctions, the MEPs had slammed the Chinese government’s attempts to “interfere in the democratic life of our nations and our European Union”.
Amid mounting pressure from the US and its allies, China has continued to deny the charges of both forced labour and genocide in Xinjiang.
European Union landmark trade deal — the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with China, which was signed in December last year, may prove to be a dangerous move for Europe.
Since the signing of the deal by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, there is a mounting concern in the European Parliament over China’s human rights record on issues, including alleged forced labour camps and a crackdown in Hong Kong against anti-government protestors, reported Greek City Times.