China’s foreign ministry summoned the head of the European Union’s delegation to Beijing in protest after the bloc imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over the treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighur people.
Nicolas Chapuis was summoned for talks on Monday, the ministry said in a Tuesday statement, during which China’s Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang said the punitive measures were based on “lies and false information.’’
The sanctions were contrary to reality and reason, and the EU was not qualified to act as a human rights teacher, Qin Gang was cited as saying.
China urged the EU to recognise the seriousness of its mistake, correct it and end the confrontation in order to not harm Chinese-European relations any further, the statement added.
The EU sanctioned four Chinese officials and one entity in the western region of Xinjiang, targeting them with assets freezes and travel bans.
They were the first such sanctions against China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
The U.S., Britain and Canada followed with their own sanctions.
Within hours, Beijing responded with a tit-for-tat move, imposing sanctions on 10 European lawmakers and four European institutions.
In the last few years, hundreds of Uighurs, Kazakhs and Huis had testified that they were held in internment camps in Xinjiang province as part of what observers say is a government campaign to forcibly assimilate ethnic minorities.
The Chinese government said the camps estimated to have held more than one million people since 2017 were “vocational education centres’’ to eradicate extremism and terrorism. (dpa/NAN)