In view of the harassment of the Uighur minority in China by the Chinese authorities, the European Union has imposed sanctions on Beijing for the first time in 30 years. According to the decision of the EU foreign ministers, the sanctions are imposed on four representatives of the Communist Party of China in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as well as the organization responsible, according to the EU, for the management of correctional camps for the “re-education” of this Muslim minority. Beijing’s response was not long in coming.
To see a partner in Beijing? Hardly…
The EU should re-check its attitude to Beijing, — says De Volkskrant:
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth — this is the language that Beijing speaks fluently. His latest movie, namely the imposition of sanctions on European politicians, officials, and scientists, is just a light warm-up in the business of conducting “military operations” with the help of legal weapons. … And now Brussels has felt it for itself. … In order to pass the controversial investment agreement through the European Parliament, despite all the criticism, the European Commission needs a strong political rear. However, against the background of such an extensive sanctions list compiled by China, Brussels will have to reconsider its attitude towards Beijing. It is becoming increasingly difficult to see China as anything other than a rival.»
They try to maneuver all the time
The EU at least makes some gestures, “ notes Neue Zurcher Zeitung:
“This measure is a step towards the formation of a common pan-European policy towards China. However, it should be recognized: the goal is still very far away and is in a fog. The European Union, that is, the backbone of the 27 countries, does not manage to develop a coherent and consistent strategy towards China. Back in December, the EU concluded an investment agreement with Beijing after long negotiations. … A number of European countries, including France and Germany, insist on their right to pursue their own policies towards China. … In fact, this means nothing more than that the Europeans are still trying to maneuver between the option of investment and the option of sanctions.”
Beijing can still be useful to Europe!
Now the European Union should have set its priorities quite differently, — the Hungarian pro-government newspaper Magyar Hirlap is indignant:
“For several months now, the pages of the world press have been full of headlines about the inability of the European Union to provide its countries with a covid vaccine. … In this regard, it is particularly piquant that the EU is starting to impose sanctions against China right now when the call to buy vaccines from the east is getting louder and louder — including as a result of mistakes made by Brussels. As Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: such a position is senseless, harmful — and aimed only at an external effect.”
This hasn’t worked before
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung does not believe that EU sanctions will have any effect:
“China is no longer the same developing country that was once sanctioned after the Tiananmen Square events. Now it is a rearing world power, with which Germany conducts a very intensive and extensive trade. The Chinese leadership is confident in its own abilities: unlike in the past, it has both the means and the will to resist Western pressure. The EU, as a union of democratic states, cannot look with indifference at human rights violations. However, there are other opportunities to raise this issue in the dialogue with China. In any case, the EU’s decisions are unlikely to have a serious effect. For example, the sanctions of 1989, including the arms embargo, did not lead to China becoming more politically open, nor to the country refusing to increase its military potential.”