The EU has sanctioned China for human rights violations. Yet Switzerland is doing an egg dance about it instead of speaking clearly.
It’s Chinese New Year, and Switzerland is throwing itself around China’s neck. The Federal Council is sending the question of whether Switzerland supports the EU’s sanctions against China into a new round of clarification.
The adoption of thematic sanctions against China, imposed by the EU for human rights violations against the Uighurs, has already been discussed twice by the Swiss government.
However, the Federal Council has not yet been able to come to a decision for or against China on this issue, wrote the “NZZ am Sonntag” in its latest edition.
Thus, Switzerland has been struggling for about two years to find a clear position.
Silence from government
The issue has already been discussed twice in the Federal Council – on September 7, 2022, and then again on December 9, 2022, according to the newspaper. But the newspaper even had to actively seek information because the Federal Council did not provide any information on the sensitive issue of its own initiative.
The Federal Department of Economic Affairs wanted to examine the matter “in greater depth”.
The goal of the Federal Council is to keep open the possibility of taking into account in the future, if necessary, very specific cases that are not covered by current practice, the Bernese official announced in a veiled manner.
Turning a blind eye
The EU is concerned about travel bans on Chinese officials and the freezing of assets. Obviously, Switzerland does not like this and is therefore reluctant to even answer the question.
The country does not want to antagonize either the EU or China and turns a blind eye to human rights violations.
In the Ukraine war, however, Switzerland did not want to do this and adopted the EU’s sanctions against Russia, which brought it great criticism from many places, including in the country itself, because Switzerland was violating its neutrality status, according to the tenor.
China above all
Switzerland is cozying up to China on many issues, as muula.ch has noted time and again. For example, more and more Chinese stocks are being listed on the Swiss stock exchange SIX. Also, Switzerland does not support the coronavirus test requirement for travelers from China, as published by muula.ch.
The supervision of auditors between Switzerland and China trusts each other, as muula.ch even exclusively reported. And the Bernese government did not want to mention the Swiss WTO victory together with China against the U.S.A., again, published by muula.ch.
However, the Chinese ambassador to Switzerland, Wang Shihting, clearly threatened in an interview that Swiss-Chinese relations ‘would suffer’ if Switzerland adopted the EU sanctions.
But judging by the lack of tourists from China on the Jungfraujoch or the Engelberg-Titlis mountain railways, it seems clear that Switzerland’s economic interests outweigh human rights.
Sense of justice?
In the case of Russia and Ukraine, Switzerland still spoke in a clear language and joined those sanctions, according to muula.ch. Switzerland had justified the suspension on administrative assistance procedures with the Ordre Public reservation, as also reported by muula.ch.
This meant that the domestic sense of justice had been unacceptably violated with fundamental legal principles disregarded.
Switzerland can do that if it wants to. In the case of China, however, this is not (yet) the case.