Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU), on Tuesday urged the EU to reject fake news and lies concerning Xinjiang. He warned the bloc against imposing sanctions on Beijing over northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, CGTN reports
“I want to emphasize that sanctions are confrontation. Sanctions based on lies could be interpreted as deliberately undermining China’s security and development interests,” Zhang said in a videoconference with the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Center.
“We want dialogue not confrontation. We ask the EU side to think twice. If some insist on confrontation, we will not back down, as we have no option but to fulfill our responsibilities to the people of our country.”
The EU is set to debate sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity over Xinjiang, according to EU diplomats. The measures will be submitted to EU foreign ministers for approval next week when they meet to prepare for the EU summit from March 25-26 to decide the bloc’s strategy toward China.
Zhang said he has noticed the report and expressed grave concern on it.
“We have always advocated non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, opposed the erroneous approach of resorting to sanctions, and opposed reckless fabrications that ignore the facts,” Zhang stressed.
According to reports, travel bans and asset freezes are set to be introduced by the bloc on March 22.
Zhang rejected accusations of persecution and forced labour of Uighurs in China’s far west region of Xinjiang, saying “China haters” were spreading lies for political gain.
The Chinese government has launched anti-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang in accordance with the law to protect people’s lives, he said.
Xinjiang has not reported any case of violent terrorism for more than four consecutive years, Zhang said, adding that the region enjoys social stability and steady progress, and people enjoy their lives and work.
He also warned the EU against linking the investment deal the two sides reached in December with human rights issues or Beijing’s actions on Hong Kong. “Economic issues should not be politicized,” Zhang said.
According to Reuters, the EU regards the investment pact as giving European firms better access to Chinese markets and redressing unbalanced trade relations. But human rights issues could make it a hard sell to EU lawmakers, whose approval will be needed for the deal to take effect.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: CGTN | Reuters