Belgium summons China envoy over lawmaker sanction
Belgium has summoned the Chinese ambassador after Beijing sanctioned a lawmaker in retaliation for EU measures over the crackdown on the Uyghurs, a government source said on Tuesday.
The Chinese envoy was expected to attend a meeting later on Tuesday, the source said, after Belgium’s foreign minister criticised the decision to slap entry bans on 10 Europeans.
On Monday, the EU, Britain, US and Canada unveiled coordinated sanctions targeting Chinese officials accused of involvement in the persecution of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
Beijing snapped back immediately, announcing entry bans on 10 Europeans — including five members of the European Parliament — as well as two EU bodies and two think-tanks.
Among those hit by the counter-sanctions was Belgian lawmaker Samuel Cogolati, who proposed a motion in parliament to describe the crackdown on the Uyghurs as a “genocide”.
Rights groups believe at least one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in the northwestern region, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.
Beijing has strongly denied the allegations and says training programmes, work schemes and better education have helped stamp out extremism in the region.