Forced labour and Joe Biden: EU parliamentarians say no to deal with Beijing
Compliance with international norms against forced labour a prerequisite. A European Parliament resolution condemns China's work in Xinjiang, where the Muslim population is interned and forced to work in the cotton fields. The signing of the pact could damage future relations with the new US president.
Brussels (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Members of Parliament are threatening to block the approval process of the investment deal with China if it does not contain a Chinese pledge to sign the World Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, above all on opposition to the use of forced labour.
All trade agreements signed by the Union contain clauses of this, not least the one with Vietnam, which entered into force in the summer. On December 17, the legislative branch of the EU passed a resolution condemning Chinese policies in Xinjiang, where according to various sources, the Muslim population of Uyghur and Kazakh origin is subjected to severe discrimination, including the obligation to work in managed cotton fields. by government organizations.
In addition to the rules against forced labour, the ILO standards also include the right to create trade union organizations and a ban on the exploitation of minors. The EU parliamentarians are demanding its full respect, and call on the European Commission to sanction the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Xinjiang thanks to the new mechanism for the protection of human rights.
Chen Quanguo, the CCP leader in Xinjiang, is accused by several European leaders of having organized a system of internment camps to keep the Uyghur and Kazakh populations under control. According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, over a million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities of Islamic faith are arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, which the local population calls "East Turkestan". Chen had already introduced an intrusive system of social control of the population in Tibet, where he was party secretary from 2011 to 2016.
The EU and China have been negotiating a major investment agreement since 2013, and have pledged to conclude it by the end of this year. Europeans want equal treatment for their companies, which have severe restrictions on operating in the Chinese market. Press reports speak of Beijing's openings in strategic sectors such as telecommunications, financial services and electric cars that would have accelerated the negotiations.
European leaders and observers are calling for a rethinking by EU leaders. They believe that signing the pact under the terms that are emerging could damage future relationships with Joe Biden. The US president-elect wants greater coordination with Europe on the strategy to be adopted towards Beijing, and not only on the commercial level, but also in the field of human rights and international security