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Sanctions because of Uyghurs: China’s ambassador warns Switzerland

By The Bharat Express News

November 6, 2022

For more than a year, the Federal Council has been examining whether it should adopt EU sanctions against China. It’s no coincidence that he’s timid. This is also shown by the blatant warning from the Chinese ambassador in Bern.

Relations between Switzerland and China are under scrutiny.

When it comes to sanctions against other states, Switzerland has a hard time. Apparently that was after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. Only under massive international pressure did the Federal Council pull itself together and follow suit with the EU sanctions. On the other hand, he plays for a different dossier. The debate is whether Switzerland should adopt the so-called thematic sanctions of the EU.

As a result of the serious human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, the EU has sanctioned responsible Chinese officials and authorities. Swiss politicians from various parties have also already demanded that Switzerland follow suit with the sanctions.

Ambassador calls on Switzerland to “reason”.

It is no coincidence that the Federal Council is hesitating. He worries that the good economic relations would be affected. This fear does not appear to be unfounded. China’s ambassador in Bern warns the Federal Council against following the EU. “Should Switzerland take over the sanctions and the situation develop in an uncontrolled direction, Chinese-Swiss relations will suffer,” said Wang Shihting in an interview with the “NZZ am Sonntag”.

The Chinese Ambassador Wang Shihting at his residence in Bern. Sandra Ardizzone

“Anyone who really cares about the friendly relations between the two countries” will not agree to the sanctions. For Shihting it is clear that the sanctions violate international law and serve “only to contain China”. China is “a partner and not a rival”.

The Chinese Ambassador praises German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his visit to Beijing this week. In Europe there are “forces” that consider the development of relations with China “objectively and reasonably”. “We hope that Switzerland will also keep this common sense.”

China strategy caused controversy

It’s not the first time the Chinese ambassador has issued a warning. In March 2021, the Federal Council’s China strategy provided an aftermath. Wang Shihting criticized that China is being given “malicious labels”. He spoke of “untruths” and “fake news”. Such statements had a negative impact on relations between the two countries.

The trigger was the words to Beijing, which were clear by Swiss standards. “Politically, China remains a de facto one-party state with increasingly authoritarian tendencies,” said Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis when presenting the strategy. The human rights situation has also deteriorated – especially for ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs or Tibetans.

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