Europe's biggest party set to take tougher line on China

Sun Online Desk

12th March, 2021 09:18:07 printer

Europe's biggest party set to take tougher line on China

The European People's Party (EPP), the biggest party in the European Parliament, is set to adopt a hardline policy on China, including an investment treaty with Taiwan and a total ban on goods "produced in re-education camps" of Xinjiang.

"We support the launch of negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan," said the EPP paper obtained by Politico, according to South China Morning Post.

European Union's biggest political group, the EPP is an umbrella grouping that includes MEPs from Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

The paper by EPP calls for a start on Taiwan investment talks and for Taipei to be welcomed "to participate in WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities, particularly during the pandemic". Previously, calls from countries such as Australia for Taiwan's involvement in the WHO have angered Beijing.

It also described the EU's approach to China as "outdated" and was fiercely critical of China's "disregard for the multilateral system and international agreements, the spread of Chinese malign influence, failure to live up to fundamental human rights obligations".

"As the EU's partner, China should respect its own international obligations, which is not yet the case. Systemic rivalry can increasingly be seen as the overriding paradigm in our relationship, however, we should not disregard the need to continue dialogue with China," it said, adding that "an investment agreement itself cannot resolve all issues ailing our economic and political relationship".

The EPP calls for the EU to follow the United States in banning "imports of products from companies taking advantage of forced labour", while "products produced in re-education camps should be banned from EU markets as well".

China has long denied claims of genocide or mistreatment of the Uyghur people, and most recently the country's foreign minister addressed those accusations in a press conference Sunday.

"The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives," Wang Yi said as reported by The Hill, adding that supposed "anti-China forces" were attempting to "undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China's development and growth."

China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.

Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community,

Meanwhile, China imposed the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong last year. The law criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1. Since then, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested. (ANI)