Updated: Jan 20, 2020
European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has vowed to fight for the adoption of laws to punish human rights violations in the troubled regionPromise comes on emotional day in European Parliament as daughter of jailed activist tells MEPs she does not know if her father is alive.
The EU’s new foreign policy chief has vowed to push the 28 member states to toughen their stance on China’s treatment of its Uygur minority population with legislation that would punish officials involved in human rights violations in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million Muslims are detained.“I will fight for it,” Josep Borrell said on Wednesday, as the European Parliament awarded a top human rights prize to Ilham Tohti, a Uygur intellectual serving a life sentence in China.Since taking charge of its external relations on December 1, Borrell has raised Xinjiang and Hong Kong with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and overseen a reorientation in the EU’s focus on China, from once-pressing technological and cybersecurity concerns to human rights.
“Nobody disputes the right of any country to take legitimate measures to combat terrorism and ensure security,” Borrell told the European Parliament. “But to our understanding the policies applied in Xinjiang appear disproportionate to the stated aim of fighting against terrorism and extremism.”