Home | News    Tuesday 18 March 2008

EU turns up heat on China over Darfur crisis and divest from PetroChina

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March 17, 2008 (BRUSSELS) — The European parliament took an unprecedented step to sanction China over its unwillingness to pressure Sudan to halt violence in Darfur.

The Independent newspaper reported that the EU divested the shares it owned in Chinese oil giant PetroChina.

The latest move by the EU will likely worry policymakers in Beijing who are desperately trying to contain growing criticism for shielding Khartoum from sanctions in the UN Security Council.

Chinese officials are trying to prevent the negative publicity from hurting their upcoming summer Olympics.

On Monday European Union officials Monday condemned the latest violence in Tibet, but said boycotting this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing would not be the right answer.

James Smith, the head of the Aegis Trust, a human rights group, accused PetroChina of continuing to “bankroll the Sudanese regime while it has attacked its own citizens”.

Glenys Kinnock, who led the campaign among members of the parliament said that "the sale of the stockholdings in PetroChina sends a very clear signal that the European Parliament abhors that company’s links with a regime which does little to end the violent conflict in Darfur”.

However the newspaper did not disclose the value of the shares divested from the Chinese oil company.

A divestment campaign from companies that has financial dealings with Sudan has been launched in different parts of the world particularly in the US.

Last December US president George Bush signed into a law a bill overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress to support divestment activities in Sudan.

International experts estimate 200,000 people have died in the conflict, which Washington calls genocide, a term European governments are reluctant to use. The Sudan government says 9,000 people have been killed.

(ST)

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