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Escalating EU-China tensions could jeopardize new investment deal

Worsening tensions between the European Union and China could jeopardize an investment deal that the two sides recently negotiated. The EU on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity for human rights abuses in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. The move was part of a coordinated action against Beijing by the U.S. and its allies including the U.K. and Canada.s

China swiftly retaliated against the EU, announcing its own blacklist of 10 individuals — including European lawmakers — and four entities. Beijing’s response in turn prompted warnings from several members of the European Parliament or MEPs, saying they would not ratify the EU-China investment deal that was agreed to in December. “The lifting of sanctions against MEPs is a pre-condition for us to enter into talks with the Chinese government on the investment deal,” said Kathleen van Brempt, an MEP from the left-leaning Socialist and Democrats group.

S&D is the second-largest political grouping in the European Parliament, with 145 MEPs. Those targeted by the Chinese sanctions also weighed in. Beijing said in a statement that its Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned Nicolas Chapuis, EU ambassador to China, on Monday night to protest sanctions by the EU.

The Mandarin-language statement released on Tuesday said EU sanctions targeted at China were based on “lies and disinformation” about Xinjiang, according to a CNBC translation. It also warned the EU not to further worsen Europe-China relations. Human rights groups like Amnesty International and international organizations including the United Nations have accused China of holding more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in detention camps. China has repeatedly denied charges of forced labor, and claimed that the camps are re-education camps to weed out extremism and teach people new job skills.

Escalating EU-China tensions could jeopardize new investment deal, CNBC, Mar 23

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