China EU Photo: VCG
After China announced sanctions on 10 individuals and four entities from the EU as a countermove to EU’s unilateral sanctions against China, some people from the EU reacted strongly, claiming China’s countermeasures were “unacceptable.” The European Parliament canceled a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with China. Some members of the European Parliament warned that the lifting of Chinese sanctions should be a condition to promote talks on CAI. Voices that support to block the agreement in an attempt to punish China have been hyped by some anti-China forces.
Yet those forces should be told that the CAI between China and the EU is mutually beneficial, rather than a gift from the EU to China. If the European Parliament wants to obstruct the deal, taking it as a bargaining chip in interactions with China, it should first reach a consensus among European countries. If they all agree, let’s just take it as negotiations between China and the EU never took place last year. But don’t blackmail China with the case. China despises such ugly deeds.
China is the EU’s biggest trading partner. Take a look at how many German cars there are on the streets of China, how many French and Italian fashion products are being used by Chinese women, and how many Chinese travelers have visited Europe in normal years. Then take a look at the momentum of Chinese development in years to come. How could those ignorant politicians in the European Parliament possibly feel they are entitled to threaten China by not approving the CAI? Beijing has not yet suspended the promotion of the deal as a warning toward Brussels!
Chinese society has always respected Europe and we have never taken the initiative to find fault with EU countries. Some European anti-China politicians, as well as few European countries’ official institutions led by these people, provoked us first. They put their arrogance and prejudice toward China into action and harmed China’s interests. There is no reason why we do not stand up and make countermoves.
This time, the EU has fired the first shot of sanctions against China in more than three decades. Do European countries expect Beijing to swallow it silently? Or do they wish Beijing to ask their opinions first before making countermoves? Who gave them the right to act so capriciously?
Even after the sanctions and countermoves, we still attach importance to our relations with the EU and are willing to return to normal interactions between our two sides. But the first principle of normal interactions is equality and mutual respect. China has its core interests and bottom line. Restoring Xinjiang’s peace, stability and prosperity is one of the focuses of this principle. EU should not recklessly step on China’s toes. If it continues to do so, China won’t stay polite when striking back.
China and the EU do not have major conflicts of interests. The two sides should have been partners for development. Some European forces want to provoke confrontations between China and the EU and many Chinese people cannot understand this. Then just let it be for a while. We hope this will have a special effect of enhancing mutual understanding. Short-term friction can benefit our long-term mutual understanding and cooperation. We also hope the EU is rational as a whole. If the EU takes a wrong path on its China policy, we will have to fight it to the end.
China not only proactively advocates cooperation with the EU, but also copes with conflicts with the EU calmly. Where the China-EU relationship is headed cannot be determined by talks only. The direction should be shaped through complex interactions between the two sides. We have good initiatives, but we understand we cannot forcibly push the EU to do anything, otherwise there can hardly be any desired result. China’s future development will mainly depend on its own internal impetus. Doing our own things well, including the governance in Xinjiang, is on our top agenda.
Some European elites believe that China needs Europe so much due to the tension between China and the US, and they have more strategic arrogance because of this. Such a view is shallow.
The EU, which hopes to boost its independence, also needs China. The strength of the US is declining. Yet the US is constantly turning European countries into a tool to maintain the interest pattern of “America First,” through bullying around. When it comes to promoting the world’s multi-polarization, China-EU cooperation is beneficial to both sides. Europe has no condition at all to blackmail China.