China fires back and sanctions Denmark’s former Prime Minister and Swedish researcher 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and former NATO secretary-general, speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

On 22 March, China responded to EU’s sanctions of four Chinese individuals and one organization with placing ten people and four organizations on their own sanction list. The list includes Denmark’s former Prime Minister and former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s organization Alliances of Democracy Foundation and Swedish researcher Björn Jerdén, Head of the new national knowledge center on China at the Foreign Policy Institute (UI).

According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the sanctioned parties are believed to harm China’s sovereignty and interest and maliciously spread lies and misinformation, Danish daily BT reports.

The sanctions mean that neither Anders Fogh Rasmussen nor his family is now allowed to travel into China but according to the former Prime Minister, his work will continue and states the following on Twitter, “China has placed my foundation, the @AoDemocracies on its sanctions list. We will never give in to bullying by authoritarian states. Our work to promote freedom, democracy and human rights around the world continues.”

Björn Jerdén will also be denied travel to China. According to Swedish media Expressen, UI’s press service announces that the institute is not currently commenting on the matter.

The list of those sanctioned also includes Reinhard Bütikofer, who heads the European Parliament’s permanent China delegation and the members of the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy Committee, which has 27 ambassadors from EU countries. What this means in practice is still unclear and other EU committees are also on the list.

According to Michael Aastrup Jensen, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Policy Board, it’s shameful of China to impose sanctions on Anders Fogh Rasmussen who in no way has done anything to be sanctioned. “They just want to affect someone who has been critical of them, which Fogh’s organization has because they are a mouthpiece for those who are definitely being oppressed by the Chinese government. That is why Fogh must take the blacklisting as a mark of honor,” Michael Aastrup Jensen says to BT

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