Retaliatory Sanctions Have Emboldened China’s Critics In Europe
WASHINGTON- Retaliatory sanctions imposed by China on Europeans in March have emboldened China’s most vocal critics in Europe, who hope to push against the country’s human rights abuses.
In March, the E.U., U.K., U.S., and Canada issued coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province. In response, China sanctioned European academics, think tank members, and E.U. committees and parliamentarians.
To several members of a Brookings Institution panel on Thursday, which included three people specifically targeted by China’s sanctions, the sanctions represent an outright assault on the main institutions of western democracy, a move which they warn could blow back against China.
“They shot themselves in both legs,” said Dovilė Šakalienė, a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania who was hit with the Chinese sanctions.
They are disregarding the differences between totalitarian and democratic countries and they believe they are a big enough superpower to behave arrogantly, but democratic countries like the U.S. and the European market are quite big players, she said.
The consensus on the panel was that China’s “retaliatory sanctions” were a mistake because they boost the arguments of critics of China in Europe, who believe that stronger actions ought to be taken to end human rights abuses.
The sanctions may have also imperiled the E.U.-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, an ambitious deal that would open up access to the fast-growing Chinese market for the E.U., which one panel member described as “dead as a doornail.”
The sanctions represent a roadblock even to the members of the European Parliament who are favorable to the investment deal, said Reinhard Bütikofer, chair of the Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China, who was also affected by the sanctions.
“I think they underestimated the role of parliamentarians, the role of a democratic public in discussing the merits and the shortcomings of such a deal, and the geopolitical context,” Bütikofer said.
“This intimidation policy is actually helping us, me and my colleagues from the Lithuanian Parliament, from other national parliaments, to get our message across: This is a totalitarian regime that has not changed. We really have extensive experience with Communist regimes for more than half a century. We know what they do,” Šakalienė said.
Several panel members said they wear the sanctions as “a badge of honor.”
The conversation was part of the Brookings Institution Center on the United States and Europe and the Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative, and a recording of the event can be viewed here.
In The News
WASHINGTON — The get-tough attitude toward China’s trade practices was on full display Thursday during a congressional hearing as international... Read More
WASHINGTON — The get-tough attitude toward China’s trade practices was on full display Thursday during a congressional hearing as international tensions heat up. Trade experts and lawmakers accused China of unfairly subsidizing its industries to beat out American competitors, stealing intellectual property and exploiting loopholes in... Read More
GENEVA, Switzerland — The World Trade Organization has postponed its first ministerial meeting in four years, citing concerns over the... Read More
GENEVA, Switzerland — The World Trade Organization has postponed its first ministerial meeting in four years, citing concerns over the new coronavirus variant. The move will effectively delay a vote on a waiver sought by several developing countries on the intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines... Read More
WASHINGTON — A top State Department official continued the Biden administration’s theme of “We’re back” during a congressional hearing Thursday... Read More
WASHINGTON — A top State Department official continued the Biden administration’s theme of “We’re back” during a congressional hearing Thursday on the United States’ role in the United Nations. The State Department is trying to regain leadership positions that suffered setbacks during the go-it-alone international policies... Read More
WASHINGTON — The United States, France and Australia have been in a public fight over a canceled submarine deal that... Read More
WASHINGTON — The United States, France and Australia have been in a public fight over a canceled submarine deal that has heated since the three nations came together at the COP26 environmental talks in Scotland. In the days leading up to the Glasgow discussions, Tony Abbott,... Read More
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Governments and big investors announced fresh steps Wednesday to pour trillions of dollars into curbing global... Read More
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Governments and big investors announced fresh steps Wednesday to pour trillions of dollars into curbing global warming, reflecting the financial world's growing embrace of efforts to fight climate change as both a business necessity and opportunity. But some social justice activists called... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday that would criminalize bribery demands by foreign officials. Although bribery is considered criminal activity under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, current law only punishes... Read More