Relations between the European Union and China are deteriorating rapidly. Brussels recently imposed sanctions on China for violating the human rights of the Uyghur minority. In response, that country placed ten Europeans, including D66 MP Shord Shordsma, on a blacklist. The President of the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Netherlands, Belgium and Lithuania condemned these retaliatory measures “in the strongest possible terms.”
“That sounds like a lot of support,” says Sjoerdsma. “China is trying to indirectly infringe on our freedom of expression and our democratic process. I hope the governments in Europe are on the same line. I am not the first to be affected, and certainly not the last to be affected. Uighurs, Tibetans or Hong Kong people should feel completely free in Europe.” To say what they’re thinking. “
Shurdsma and CDA Representative Peter Umtziget are the inventors of the European sanctions regime that was introduced in December. This also allows the European Union to blacklist human rights violators.
On March 22, Brussels decided to impose such sanctions for the first time. It concerned the measures taken against, among other things, four Chinese who were playing a major role in the persecution of the Uyghur minority and the detention in so-called education camps in Xinjiang. These people can no longer travel to the European Union and their financial assets in the European Union have been frozen.
A Movement About Genocide by China
On February 25, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a motion presented by Shordsma and former Member of Parliament Joel Fordwind of Christianoni, stating that China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs.
“The internment camps holding an estimated one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are so large that you can see them from space,” D66er said at the time. He spoke of “the largest mass prison for ethnic minorities since World War II”.
Not only the European Union, but the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom recently imposed sanctions on China over the situation in Xinjiang.
Then, China placed 10 politicians, scholars and researchers on a sanctions list for spreading lies and misinformation, according to Beijing. Shurdsma asked the Chinese ambassador in The Hague via Twitter to clarify the allegations, but he received no response.
‘This intimidation of parliamentarians is unacceptable’
In addition to Sjoerdsma, a number of MEPs and MPs from Belgium and Lithuania have also been blacklisted by China. That is why the heads of their national and European Parliament are now speaking. “We are extremely concerned about this serious violation of freedom of expression,” the statement said. “This intimidation of parliamentarians is unacceptable.”
On March 24, on behalf of the House of Representatives, Khadija Oribi wrote a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands “unpleasantly surprised” about the “unacceptable sanctions” imposed on Shordisma. In her letter, she concluded that “this measure may have consequences for the relations between the parliaments of our two countries.”