BEIJING: China announced tit-for-tat sanctions against two Americans, a Canadian and a rights advocacy body late Saturday (Mar 27), in response to sanctions imposed earlier this week by the two countries over Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Two members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins, as well as Canadian MP Michael Chong and a Canadian parliamentary committee on human rights are prohibited from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
At least one million Uighurs and people from other mostly Muslim groups have been held in camps in northwestern Xinjiang, according to rights groups, who accuse authorities of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labour.
The European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States sanctioned several members of Xinjiang’s political and economic hierarchy this week in coordinated action over the allegations, prompting retaliation from Beijing in the form of sanctions on individuals from the EU and UK.
“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the relevant parties to clearly understand the situation and redress their mistakes,” the foreign ministry said.
“They must stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going farther down the wrong path. Otherwise they will get their fingers burnt.”
Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the three individuals or having any exchanges with the subcommittee.
China’s previous sanctions on US individuals who it says have seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and interests on Xinjiang-related issues remain in effect, according to the statement.
Beijing has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.