Revealing the devilish details of China-EU investment agreement

Recently, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to freeze the China-EU investment agreement. According to some media, the Chinese Communist Party has worked for nearly seven years to negotiate this agreement, with incredible “devilish details” hidden in it. But in the end, Xi Jinping’s work was in vain.

On May 20, the European Parliament voted 599 to 30, with 58 abstentions, to freeze discussion and ratification of The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and Europe. until the Chinese Communist Party lifts sanctions against European Union political figures.

Following the EU’s March 22 announcement of sanctions against CCP officials and entities for human rights violations in Xinjiang, the CCP announced sanctions against European parliamentarians, academics and think tanks. The move sparked strong discontent in the EU. At the time, some lawmakers said they wanted to block the China-EU investment agreement.

The EU-China investment agreement has been under negotiation for seven years and had been at an impasse for years. The negotiations were finally completed late last year under German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s EU presidency. At that time, Xi Jinping intervened directly and the two sides announced the completion of the negotiations after the Chinese Communist Party suddenly made major concessions in several key areas such as market access and fair competition.

Now the EU-China investment agreement is set to be frozen under a vote, showing that the signs of a recent regression in EU-China relations have become even more heated due to differences in values.

Nikkei: Xi Jinping’s Frustration

The Nikkei Asian Review says the postponement of the investment agreement by the European Parliament is seen as a setback for Xi Jinping. Newtalk, a new headcase, says Xi Jinping had a busy day for nothing!

Outsiders believe that the Chinese Communist Party wanted to pull European countries together and isolate the US through this agreement. At the same time, the agreement has been criticized for its lack of human rights norms. However, the final implementation of the agreement will require the European Parliament’s consideration and approval.

Some analysts say the prospect of a comprehensive investment agreement between China and Europe is overshadowed by a deterioration in relations at this crucial moment.

Reinhard Buetikofer, a member of the European Parliament from the German Green Party, said that the Chinese side is keen to reach an investment agreement between China and Europe, but they have made a mistake and underestimated the determination of the European Parliament to defend European interests and values.

Lotte Leicht, director of the EU branch of Rights Watch, also said that Beijing has retaliated and imposed sanctions on EU parliamentarians and organizations. And today, the European Parliament said it had had enough of the bullying by the Chinese Communist Party and froze the European-Chinese investment agreement.

RFE/RL: Beijing has lifted a stone to smash its own feet

China has not reflected on why the agreement reached at the “Europe-China Summit” a few months ago ended so badly, says the French broadcaster. And the EU has already foreseen difficulties in the parliament. But it was Beijing itself that accelerated the “bankruptcy” of this principled agreement. In other words, Beijing has lifted a stone and smashed its own feet.

The mass repression of the Uighurs has been an issue of great concern to Western public opinion in recent years, and Beijing has been asked by the United Nations, Europe and the United States to allow an international independent investigation mission to go to Xinjiang, but Beijing has refused.

The U.S. has announced sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials related to human rights in Xinjiang, and the European Union has done the same, the first time in 30 years since the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen massacre that the EU has imposed sanctions on the Chinese Communist Party over human rights issues.

When the EU sanctioned the CCP, it expected that the CCP would counter-sanction, but what it did not expect was that the CCP would sanction the EU’s parliamentarians and scholars, while parliamentarians are elected representatives and scholars speak and criticize as freedom of speech. The Chinese Communist Party has treated the elected representatives and scholars of the EU countries as it has suppressed its own scholars, lawyers and journalists, which finally made the EU realize how “different” China is.

Observers say that the Chinese side has been foolish in wanting the European Parliament to pass the EU-China investment agreement, but at the same time sanctioning the members of the parliament, which is certainly a slap in the face. It is easy to understand why the European Parliament has made the removal of sanctions against MEPs a prerequisite for revisiting this agreement.

The devilish details of the European-Chinese agreement

Another important reason for the EU’s resistance to the EU-China investment agreement is that the EU later discovered that the EU-China investment agreement, which was hastily pushed by Merkel, contains many unbelievable details.

The French newspaper Le Monde editorialist Sylvie Coffman wrote in an article titled “The European Investment Agreement”. In an article titled “The wind has changed, Europe’s illusions about China”, Ms. Coffman writes: What infuriates Berlin the most is that they have fallen into Beijing’s trap.

Germany, the largest exporter to China among EU countries, had been hoping to maintain the momentum and, encouraged by Xi Jinping, Merkel urged the EU countries to reach an agreement with Beijing, but since then, the devil has been found in the details.

For example, a sentence was found in Article 9 of Annex II of the draft agreement: “The leaders of non-profit organizations authorized to conduct business in China shall be Chinese citizens.”

Then again, when the Annexes to the EU-China Investment Agreement were released in March, a closer reading revealed that the concept of reciprocity, once touted by the parties involved, was also strangely unbelievable.

For example: the investment provisions in the audiovisual sector stipulate that no European film or TV series may be shown on Chinese screens between 7 and 10 p.m. without the consent of the Chinese Communist authorities. Moreover, only Chinese cartoons could be shown on Chinese animation channels between 5 pm and 10 pm.

At that time, after the agreement in principle between the two sides on European and Chinese investments, the Chinese side kept its mouth shut in its country about the details, and the European side emphasized the Chinese side’s commitment to pass laws related to the abolition of forced labor. But French public opinion was very skeptical of Beijing’s commitment at the time.

For example, French public opinion said that when the Chinese Communist Party joined the WTO, it promised to achieve the necessary conditions for market countries after 15 years, only to find out 15 years later that it was a scam. However, the EU still felt that China’s commitment to protecting labor rights was important, but it was only after the EU sanctioned Beijing over human rights and Beijing doubled down on its countermeasures that the EU realized how naive it was to be gullible about Beijing.