Amsterdam [The Netherlands], March 23 (ANI): Following the European Union's decision to impose its own sanctions against four Chinese officials for their treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, China in retaliation placed Dutch MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma on a sanctions list.
According to Dutch News, the sanctions, the first since the 1989 arms embargo, were confirmed by EU foreign ministers on Monday.
The Dutch MP responded to the sanctions by demanding that the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands to clarify the judicial basis of Beijing's sanctions.
"Dear @ChinaAmbNL (Chinese Ambassador to Netherlands Tan Jian), You've accused me of having "severely harmed China's sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation".Kindly provide the evidence for this claim and the judicial basis for your sanctions," he wrote in a tweet.
Sjoerdsma has been outspoken about the treatment of the Uyghurs and earlier called on the International Olympic Committee to cancel the winter games, which are due to be held in China.
He has also called for a parliamentary inquiry into Chinese influence in the Netherlands, focusing in particular industrial espionage and infiltration in the educational system.
Dutch News further reported that five members of the European parliament, two MPs from Belgium and Lithuania, two academics and four organisations are also on the Chinese sanction list.
The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom joined the European Union (EU) on Monday to take what they described as "coordinated action" against China to send "a clear message about the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang".
The sanctions blacklisted former and current officials in the Xinjiang region--Zhu Hailun, Wang Junzheng, Wang Mingshan and Chen Mingguo--for alleged abuses, which have sparked international outrage.
The coordinated move also targeted the state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
The sanctions agreed on Monday mark the EU's first punitive measures on Beijing since it imposed an arms embargo after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
In retaliation to the bloc's sanctions, China has decided to introduce sanctions against 10 European Union officials and four European organizations after accusing them of spreading lies and false information about the Xinjiang region.
"China decided to sanction 10 people and four organizations who seriously harmed the country's sovereignty and interests by spreading lies and false information with evil intent," the ministry said in a statement as quoted by Sputnik.
The European Parliament President David Sassoli called the sanctions against EU lawmakers and organizations unacceptable, stressing that such actions by Beijing will have consequences.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to a report.
The US Department of State under then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the crackdown on Uyghurs as 'genocide'. Beijing has been restricting information flow from the area to scrub evidence, leading countries to make determinations as best as they can.
Surveillance and censorship have long hindered a full view of conditions in Xinjiang. However, last year, Beijing locked-down borders, citing the coronavirus; expelled foreign journalists who reported on Xinjiang; and scrubbed information off websites across the region, reported Washington Post.
The designation of genocide would become an indelible stain on President Xi Jinping's legacy and further boost European nations to join the United States in imposing economic sanctions and calls to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Since 2017, a massive political 'reeducation' campaign against Uyghurs and other groups have been carried out by the government in Xinjiang, with scholars estimating over a million people detained in camps, some transferred to prison and others pressured to work in factories, Washington Post reported. (ANI)