Brussels [Belgium], May 21 (ANI): Members of the European Parliament on Thursday voted to freeze the legislative process for ratifying the EU's investment pact with China, until Beijing lifts sanctions against EU lawmakers, in retaliation for the condemnation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.
The motion was passed by 599 MEPs, with 30 votes against and 58 abstentions, hurting the prospect of the major economic pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), Politico reported.
"The European Parliament has adopted the resolution on the Chinese sanctions with 599 yes, 30 no, 58 abstentions. Very substantial. CAI is definitely in the freezer. China miscalculated and shot themselves in the foot," Reinhard Butikofer, chair of the Parliament's delegation for relations with China, said on Twitter.
According to the motion, "any consideration of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, as well as any discussion on ratification by the European Parliament, has justifiably been frozen because the Chinese sanctions are in place."
The motion also demands that "China lift the sanctions before dealing with CAI, without prejudice to the final outcome of the CAI ratification process." It also says that MEPs expect the European Commission "to consult with Parliament before taking any steps towards the conclusion and signature of the CAI."
The sanctions imposed by the EU on China in March marked the EU's first punitive measures on Beijing since it imposed an arms embargo after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
In retaliation to the bloc's sanctions, China introduced sanctions against ten European Union officials and four European organizations after accusing them of spreading lies and false information about the Xinjiang region.
Since the signing of the deal by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, there is growing concern in Europe over China's human rights record on issues, including alleged forced labour camps and a crackdown in Hong Kong against anti-government protestors. (ANI)