The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Chinese ambassador to Denmark, Feng Tie, to a meeting after China introduced sanctions against several people and organizations in Europe. Among the organizations that have been sanctioned is the Alliance of Democracies, a democracy fund started by former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Jesper Møller Sørensen, Foreign Policy Director hosted the meeting and according to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, the message was clear. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental value that we are vigilant about in Europe and of course also in Denmark”, Jeppe Kofod says to BT.
The Chinese sanctions came after the EU on Monday, for the first time in 30 years, introduced new sanctions against China due to the country’s human rights abuses against the Uighur population in the Xinjiang region.
“We have adopted a global human rights convention regime in the EU. And we have listed people who are responsible for gross human rights violations in several countries – North Korea, Eritrea, Libya, Russia concerning Chechnya, and also China concerning Xinjiang. Then China has introduced counter-sanctions against people who have commented critically on China,” Jeppe Kofod says.
In 1949, the Uighurs made up 90 percent of the population of Xinjiang. Today, they are a minority after years of immigration of ethnic Han Chinese and according to human rights organizations, China has sent up to one million Uighurs to so-called re-education camps.
The last time sanctions were imposed on China was in 1989, when an arms embargo was adopted following China’s response to the Tiananmen Square protests. It still applies three decades later.