Former Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten is calling for the European Union to throw out its trade agreement with China.
“It spits in the face of human rights and shows a delusional view of the Chinese Communist Party’s trustworthiness on the international stage,” Patten is quoted by the Daily Mail.
His comments came as 53 people were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of “subversion” in Hong Kong. The newspaper said it marked a dramatic escalation of China’s crackdown on opposition in the city.
Under the trade deal, European firms would be allowed to operate in China in services like electric cars, telecom cloud systems, and air and maritime transportation.
But the Gatestone Institute noted details of the deal have not yet been made public, but the agreement lacks “meaningful” enforcement mechanisms for issues like climate change and human rights, including forced labor.
And the Daily Mail said that Patten questioned whether China could be trusted to meet international labor standards.
“Are we about to see the end of forced labor in Xinjiang and the development of a trade union movement in China?” he said. “Forget it.”
“It is a massive strategic blunder at a time when President[-elect Joe] Biden will be seeking to put together an international partnership of liberal democracies to deal with the bullying loutish behavior and assault on our international rules by Chinese Communists.”