Current debate

Week 12: Vaccine exports and human rights in China engage

During the past week, the debate has revolved around the European Commission's proposal to ban vaccine exports outside the EU. There have also been strong reactions to China's countermeasures against European politicians and researchers in response to the EU's sanctions against Chinese officials. The cause of the diplomatic struggle is the repression of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

On Wednesday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, raised a proposal to ban the export of vaccines from Europe to countries that do not themselves export vaccines back to the EU, something that has aroused commitment among Swedish debaters. 

- The growing vaccine protectionism is very dangerous. Only when the whole world gets vaccinated can we stop the pandemic, write the Liberals' Karin Karlsbro, Lina Nordquist and Anna Starbrink in a debate article in Svenska dagbladet.

In light of the EU's vaccination problems, Fredrik Johanson believes that we must stop blaming various players and potentially harm global trade in the long term. 

- When the EU should act from a position of strength, we are busy finding scapegoats and blaming others, Johanson writes in Svenska dagbladet.

While the vaccine issue is hotly debated within the EU, Dagens Nyheter's editorial board is critical of Israel's prime minister's attempt to gain popularity ahead of the election through record vaccination, despite being accused of corruption and fraud. 

- The corona virus has given Netanyahu the chance to present himself as the nation's savior, writes DN's editorial staff.

China's sanctions against several European politicians and researchers have sparked views over the past week. The sanctions were directed, among other things, at the Swedish researcher Björn Jerdén, who is head of the National Knowledge Center on China at the Foreign Policy Institute. Several debaters criticize China's actions. 

- Where the EU marks serious MRI crimes, China does the same when it comes to efforts for democracy and free research, writes Henrik Sundbom in Svenska dagbladet. 

He is supported by Gunnar Jonsson who in DN says that: 

- EU sanctions against China are about human rights. China's sanctions against the EU are about Beijing not tolerating criticism. 

China, in turn, responds by calling the genocide in Xinjiang "fake news" in an email to ETC via its embassy in Stockholm. The Green Party's EU parliamentarians write in the ETC that the regime's actions must have consequences. They believe that the EU in this situation should not proceed with the ratification of the investment agreement that the EU and China agreed at the end of 2020. Sydsvenskan's main leaders emphasize the importance of democratic countries raising their voices when China tries to scare critics into silence. Henrik Sundbom in SVD also urges: 

- So what can we do? Keep writing. Refuse to let us be silent.


A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles about Sweden's role in the world: 

Vaccine debate

The vaccine should not be enough to protect Netanyahu in the election
Dagens Nyheter's editorial staff

Gunnar Jonsson: Neither the EU nor the British become immune from vaccine warfare
Gunnar Jonsson, Dagens Nyheter

The export ban has catastrophic consequences
Karin Karlsbro, Lina Nordquist and Anna Starbrink, Svenska Dagbladet

Russia is poking fun at EU vaccine years
Fredrik Johansson, Svenska Dagbladet

Human rights in China

The EU cannot fulfill the agreement with China
Alice Bah Kuhnke, Jakop Dalunde and Pär Holmgren, ETC

Chinese Embassy to ETC: 'Genocide' in Xinjiand is 'fake news'
Christopher Holmbäck, ETC.

There is a difference between EU and China sanctions
Gunnar Jonsson, Dagens Nyheter

China wants silence. So speak even louder.
Principal, Sydsvenskan

Beijing punctuates free speech
Henrik Sundbom, Swedish daily newspaper


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