Dissatisfaction with China’s counter-sanctions European Parliament temporarily cancels consideration of China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement

EU and European Parliament leaders have expressed support for a number of members of parliament sanctioned by China, while the European Parliament cancelled a deliberative session on the China-EU investment agreement.

On Monday (March 22, 2021), in a rare move coordinated with the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, the European Union announced on the same day sanctions against Chinese officials suspected of abusing the human rights of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang, China.

The Chinese Communist authorities quickly responded by announcing sanctions against 10 individuals and four entities in Europe, including several members of the European Parliament and leading European think tanks and academics. They have all been active voices on human rights issues in China.

We stand firmly with MEPs @gahler_michael, @MiriamMLex, @bueti, @rglucks1, @ilhankyuchyuk and the @Europarl_EN’s Subcommittee on Human Rights who have been sanctioned by China.

I reiterated my support to them and to the other EU individuals and bodies hit by these sanctions. pic.twitter.com/q2kpOu0UXy

  • David Sassoli (@EP_President) March 22, 2021
    European Parliament President David Sassoli issued a statement via social media on Monday expressing his “firm support” for the five MEPs and the European Parliament’s human rights group that have been sanctioned by China, “I reiterate my support for them and to the other EU individuals and bodies hit by these sanctions. “

So I am on the Chinese sanction list: banned from entering China (my Family too!), from having contacts with Chinese officials or companies,… companies,… All of this because I stand for Uyghurs and human rights. Let us be clear: these sanctions are my Medal of Honour. The fight continues! pic.twitter.com/mfU6kmvDtM

  • Raphael Glucksmann (@rglucks1) March 22, 2021
    Raphael Glucksmann, an MEP from France, is on the list of China’s sanctions. He tweeted, “I’m on China’s sanctions list, can’t enter China (and my family too!) ) and cannot have contact with Chinese officials or companies, all because I am a voice for Uighurs and a voice for human rights. Let’s be clear: these sanctions are a badge of honor for me. The resistance will continue!”

Meanwhile, Beijing‘s sanctions against the EU could affect the EU’s economic and trade relations with China and the European Parliament’s approval of a key investment agreement.

I stand in full solidarity with my fellow MEPs and European institutions targeted by today’s unfair & inacceptable sanctions by China!@gahler_michael @rglucks1 @bueti @ilhankyuchyuk @MiriamMLex

The EU is about values & principles, equally at Home as well as on the global stage!

  • Winkler Gyula (@IuliuWinkler) March 22, 2021
    The European Parliament decided to cancel a meeting scheduled for Tuesday on the signing of the China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) “in light of the latest developments in EU-China relations today, in particular the unacceptable sanctions”, said Winkler Gyula, vice president of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, in an email on Monday. The European Parliament decided to cancel a deliberative meeting scheduled for Tuesday on the signing of the CAI. He also tweeted that “the EU is about values and principles, both within the EU and globally.”

Last December, China suddenly made major concessions to the EU in a number of key areas that had long eluded it, leading to a China-EU comprehensive investment agreement in principle with the EU.

Beijing’s move was seen as a major measure by China to draw European countries together to break up the new U.S. Biden administration’s anti-China alliance with its allies, and came under fire from Washington for doing so.

The comprehensive investment agreement between China and Europe must also be approved by the European Parliament. Some analysts say Beijing’s rare sanction against members of the European Parliament at this critical moment is tantamount to throwing stones at its own feet.