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EU extends human rights sanctions, including on Chinese officials

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An attendant walks past EU and China flags ahead of the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -European Union ambassadors approved the renewal of sanctions on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity on Wednesday as part of an extension of a human rights blacklist, two diplomats said.

The decision, which will formally be adopted early next month, puts in jeopardy a Chinese-EU investment agreement signed in late December 2020. China’s envoy to the bloc said last week there could be no ratification of the deal until the EU lifted its sanctions, which Beijing sees as internal interference.

The EU added the four Chinese officials, including a top security director, to its sanctions list in March over accusations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, to which Beijing responded with its own sanctions on Europeans.

The EU’s sanctions on China are the first significant “restrictive measures” since an EU arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square (NYSE:) pro-democracy crackdown.

Accused of mass detentions of Muslim Uyghurs in northwestern China, those targeted by the EU include Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau. The EU said Chen was responsible for serious human rights violations.

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