Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 350, 25 March 2021

The US and allies sanction China; Beijing retaliates
Harini Madhusudan

In the news 
On 22 March, the US, UK, European Union, and Canada announced sanctions against four officials, former and current, in the Xinjiang province for alleged human rights abuses. The US had placed sanctions on two of the officials back in July 2020. The sanctions have also been placed on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and paramilitary organization from the region.
 
On the same day, China announced the imposition of sanctions on 10 European Union citizens, and four EU entities, calling the sanctions a "gross interference" in its internal affairs and a violation of international law.

On 23 March, the Foreign Ministers of China and Russia met in Guilin and condemned the sanctions that have been placed on them by the West. The two sides called the sanctions unilateral and called on the international community to oppose them.
 
Issues at large
First, the increased international focus on Xinjiang. During the recent period, a BBC documentary describing the systemic assault on women within the re-education camps was released. The United Nations had revealed that more than one million Uighurs and other primarily Muslim Turkic-speaking residents in the region are known to be held in these "vocational skills training centers." In February 2020, the Canadian Parliament had declared China's treatment of the Uighurs as 'genocide.'
 
Second, the US strategy in building a coalition to condemn China on human rights. The coordinated efforts by the four western countries come around the same time when the US following the same: the Quad meeting, the two-plus-two meeting, the US-China talks in Alaska, and the visits by the Secretary of State to various strategic partners across the world. The sanctions aim to send a clear signal of unity by acting together in condemning China.
 
Third, China's response. On Xinjiang, in February, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his address at the UNHRC, announced that China welcomes the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang. He stated that there were over 24,00 mosques in the region, and the basic facts would show that there has never been genocide, forced labour, or religious oppression in Xinjiang. The Chinese side is visibly disappointed with the EU joining the sanctions regime and placed sanctions on 10 EU individuals and four entities for "maliciously spreading lies and disinformation." 
 
In perspective
The sanctions have been announced at a time when the US is seeking to repair the relations with its NATO allies. Though the scale of the sanctions placed is not alarming, the coordinated efforts by the four countries reflect a strong message. Chinese human rights violations, as the reason for the sanctions, figure to be ill-timed, considering the fact that there are multiple ongoing human rights violations that have not been addressed by the same groups of nations. The tit-for-tat nature of the sanctions is a sign of brewing hostilities, as well as a clear expansion of the number of actors in the dispute between the US and China.

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 

January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists
November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence

October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees

May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar