Chinese deputy premier cancels visit over Foreign Ministry sanctions

Senior official cancels trip because of ongoing workers strike; scheduled to sign agreements strengthening Sino-Israeli ties.

Member of China's Politburo Liu Yandong 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Member of China's Politburo Liu Yandong 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The most senior woman in China’s leadership, Deputy Prime Minister Liu Yandong, dropped her trip to Israel scheduled for the second week in August because of the ongoing Foreign Ministry workers strike.
The Chinese Embassy informed the Foreign Ministry on Monday of the decision to cancel the visit. Liu is responsible for scientific, academic and educational issues. She was scheduled to sign a number of agreements aimed at strengthening Sino-Israeli ties, and meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
This is the second high-level Chinese official to cancel a visit due to the workers’ sanctions since Netanyahu went to China in May with the purpose of creating momentum for stronger bilateral ties.
Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Yucheng canceled a visit scheduled for this week because of the sanctions.
The ministry workers are refusing to have anything to do with the visits of foreign dignitaries, including all logistical aspects of the trips.
The workers are engaged in a fivemonth- old labor dispute for better salary and working conditions. Other sanctions they have already taken include not dealing with Israeli officials going abroad, cutting off all contact with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and no longer providing any consular services either in Israel or abroad, a move that is hurting new immigrants planning to arrive, since aliya visas necessary to obtaining citizenship are not being issued.
In addition to the Chinese officials, the president of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, has also announced the cancellation of his visit that was scheduled for the end of the month. Others who have canceled include the deputy prime minister of Vietnam, the foreign minister of Singapore, the Samoan prime minister, Hungary’s education and culture minister, Hong Kong’s trade minister, the foreign minister of Uganda, and Ghana’s interior and defense minister.
The Foreign Ministry’s workers’ committee said it regretted the cancellations, but that “until now there have not been any serious negotiations over our demands, and therefore we have no choice but to step up the sanctions.”