EU should 'expect countermeasures' from China following human rights sanctions: Chinese state media

A photo taken on June 2, 2019, shows a facility believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in China's western Xinjiang region.
A photo taken on June 2, 2019, shows a facility believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in China's western Xinjiang region.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - The European Union (EU) should expect countermeasures if it imposes sanctions against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses, Chinese state media outlet China Daily wrote on Wednesday (March 17).

In an editorial, the paper described policy in Xinjiang as no different from what Western countries have done to fight terrorism, and called claims of genocide or forced labour in the region "politically motivated to disadvantage China."

The piece then warns that China will do "whatever it considers appropriate to retaliate," if the European Union carries out any sanctions against Chinese officials.

The piece's unnamed author also urged the EU to not link its investment treaty with human rights issues.

"The deal is in the interests of both sides and politicising a deal that has taken years for both sides to agree on will only deal a heavy blow to the otherwise amicable bilateral relations," the paper wrote.

On Wednesday, EU ambassadors approved the travel bans and asset freezes on four Chinese individuals and one entity over engaging in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The names of the sanctioned parties will not be made public until March 22.