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MEP Gregorová: EU must impose economic sanctions, hundreds of thousands of people disappear in Chinese concentration camps

Brussels, 18 December 2019 – Less than a month ago, thanks to the work of an international network of investigative journalists, the world learned the truth about Chinese concentration camps in the Xinjiang province. Today in Strasbourg, Jehwer Ilham, daughter of imprisoned dissident Ilham Tohti, who is the European Parliaments Sakharov price recipient of this year,  described the genocide of the Uyghur population in China. MEP Markéta Gregorová, a member of the Committee on International Trade, spoke today in the European Parliament, calling for the entire international community to launch economic and diplomatic sanctions.

“There’s nothing to discuss. The personal testimony of the people of the region, the leaked documents and the work of journalists make it clear that in the Xinjiang province, China is operating concentration camps. The situation bears the signs of genocide and for us not to act is a mistake,” Gregorová stated. “We need economic sanctions and the highest possible international diplomatic pressure. It is not about sanctions against the whole of China, but about targeted economic sanctions against companies, who do business in the Xinjiang province. This is in our power and we must act. Additional diplomatic pressure is also necessary to help the people, who are locked up based on nothing or for their faith, ethnicity and political believes,” Gregorová said.

“It’s a complete Orwellian reality. People are persecuted preventively, based on predictive computer algorithms. Technology is used to create digital authoritarianism. Ilham Tohti’s  family member was imprisoned for ten years for having a photo of him in phone. This regime systematically exploits the collection of personal data and constant tracking of its population,” continues Gregorová.

In the Czech Republic, a scandal over practices of the richest man in the country, Petr Kellner, who hired a PR agency to improve China’s reputation in the Czech media, erupted this week. “It is important to realise that downplaying violations of international conventions and fundamental human rights is part of Chinese propaganda. Certainly, entities such as, Kellner’s PPF doing business in China, or Agrofert, which has borrowed a billion Czech crowns from the Bank of China, will always be defendants of a ‘balanced’ coverage of China. ‘Balanced’ coverage of concentration camps is indefensible” Gregorová comments.

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