The European Union (EU) recently signed an investment pact with China. The EU-China investment deal (Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI)) is expected to open up new business opportunities for both powers in several sectors. However, the pact is being criticized since it comes at the same time that Chinese authorities are arresting Hong Kong opposition lawmakers and pro-democracy activists.
Nathan Law, a former lawmaker from Hong Kong who fled to the UK, is disappointed that the EU would sign such a deal while massive human rights violations are taking place.
“In response to Hong Kong’s political crackdown, I urge the European Parliament to halt the EU-China investment deal and EU to sanction China & HK officials who are responsible [for] the arrests. #Retweet if you agree MEP should VETO the bill and EU should act,” he tweeted.
Chris Patten, a former British governor of Hong Kong, called the EU’s investment deal with China “a massive strategic blunder.” He said that if the deal gets implemented, Europe will not be taken seriously as an economic or political power, as the agreement basically “spits in the face of human rights.”
Patten said that the deal is based on a delusional view that the CCP can be trusted to act in accordance with the agreement. The CAI has set aside commitments that could trigger positive human rights changes in China. However, it hopes China will act on those commitments, which is very unlikely given the history and nature of the Chinese Communist Party.
For example, the agreement mandates that communist China work toward eradicating forced labor. The possibility of the CCP actually following through is essentially none. China has been pressured several times in the past to resolve its human rights crimes, but injustice has always continued. Beijing basically averts such accusations by claiming that reports of forced labor are false or that these people are only being held in re-education camps to “upgrade their skills.”
British politician Nigel Farage said that the EU’s greed will help communist China “take over the world.” He condemned the mass arrests in Hong Kong, calling them another “shocking crackdown” on democracy in the city. Lawmakers and activists were arrested for participating in primary elections prior to the Legislative Council election.
British foreign secretary Dominic Raab criticized the arrests. He said that they demonstrated that Beijing misled the world about the true purpose of the National Security Law. It’s only being used to suppress dissent and alternate political views.
Hong Kong Watch founder Benedict Rogers described the EU-China agreement as a setback to the world
“The European Parliament passed a motion in December calling for access to the camps in Xinjiang, sanctions, and saying that no investment treaty should be struck which didn’t include China ratifying human rights conventions, especially the convention on forced labor, and then the European Commission rams through this deal within days despite the European Parliament’s wishes… It’s a travesty, a betrayal of the EU’s values, and a threat to the security of European member states,” he told Breitbart.
In the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that the arrested people have only been detained for exercising their democratic right and not for any crimes. He demanded that Beijing release them unconditionally and immediately. An American citizen was also detained as part of the mass arrest. Pompeo warned Beijing that Washington will not tolerate such arbitrary arrests and harassment of Americans.