dpa/GNA – China’s Foreign Ministry summoned the head of the European Union delegation to Beijing and separately summoned the British ambassador in protest after they slapped sanctions on Chinese officials over the treatment of Uighurs in China’s far west.
EU envoy Nicolas Chapuis was called in 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 are contrary to reality and reason, and the EU is not qualified to act as a human rights teacher, Qin Gang was cited as saying.
China is urging the EU to recognize 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 British ambassador was apparently given a similar message.
The EU sanctioned four Chinese officials and one entity in the western region of Xinjiang on Monday, targeting them with assets freezes and travel bans.
They are the first such sanctions against China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
The United States, 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 have 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 says the camps – estimated to have held more than 1 million people since 2017 – are “vocational education centres” to eradicate extremism and terrorism.