EU sanctions top Xinjiang camp officials, China retaliates. First EU sanctions since 1989

Accused of mass detentions of Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China, those targeted by the EU included Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau...Others hit with travel bans and asset freezes were: senior Chinese officials Wang Mingshan and Wang Junzheng, the former deputy party secretary in Xinjiang, Zhu Hailun, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau...However, the EU avoided sanctioning the top official in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, who is blacklisted by the United States, suggesting that European governments sought a softer approach.

Beijing immediately retaliated, saying it decided to impose sanctions on 10 EU individuals, including European lawmakers, the EU’s main foreign policy decision-making body known as the Political and Security Committee and two leading think-tanks.

All 27 EU governments agreed to the punitive measures, but Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, called them “harmful” and “pointless”, reflecting the bloc’s divisions on how to deal with China’s rise and to protect business interests.