The European Union is sanctioning China for abuses against the Uighur people, the first time the bloc has issued restrictive measures on Beijing for human rights violations since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
Four individuals and one entity are to be slapped with measures like asset freezes or travel bans, EU and diplomatic sources confirmed to dpa on Monday.
The bloc’s foreign ministers agreed on the move at a meeting in Brussels.
The names of these people and the entity should be officially published shortly – the final step to implement the sanctions.
In the last few years, hundreds of Uighurs, Kazakhs and Huis have testified about being 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 centers” to eradicate extremism and terrorism.
The move may well set the EU on a confrontation course with Beijing, which last week asked the bloc to “think twice” about the move. “If some insist on confrontation, we will not back down,” China’s EU ambassador Zhang Ming said.
The bloc is also to sanction several individuals and entities from North Korea, Russia, Libya, Eritrea, and South Sudan on Monday, according to diplomatic sources.