European Union parliament on Thursday voted to freeze ratification of a new investment pact with China until Beijing lifts sanctions on EU politicians, forcing further strain on the Sino-European relations.

The resolution was approved with 599 votes in favour. 30 votes against and 58 were in abstentions.

The parliament “demands that China lift the sanctions before dealing with (the investment accord)”, it said in its resolution, which is not legally binding but is now the assembly’s official position. “EU-China relations may not continue business as usual,” the EU lawmakers said.

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The pact called EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment was reached last year December after seven years of talks and negotiations, aimed to put EU companies on an equal footing in China and cement Beijing’s status as a trusted trading partner.

But the hesitance on the deal comes after Beijing imposed sanctions on 10 EU politicians in March this year in response to earlier sanctions from western countries over its role in northwestern China.

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China was accused of perpetrating genocide in the region, illegally detaining mass Muslim Uyghurs. But China has repeatedly denied the allegations.

China’s sanctions include five members of the EU assembly and its human rights sub-committee.

“With its sanctions, China has miscalculated. They should learn from their mistakes and rethink. Because of China’s sanctions, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment has been put into the freezer,” said Reinhard Butikofer, a German EU lawmaker who Beijing targeted with its sanctions.

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EU lawmakers say the Chinese sanctions are not based on international law, while the bloc’s measures, like those of Britain and the United States, tackle abuses of human rights upheld in United Nations treaties.

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