BEIJING (Reuters) – China imposed sanctions on two US religious rights officials and a Canadian lawmaker on Saturday in response to US and Canadian sanctions on Xinjiang.
Beijing has been rejecting sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada for what they say are rights violations against Uighur Muslims and other Turkish minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region.
China will take action against the chairman and vice chairman of the US government’s Advisory Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It also sanctioned Canadian MP Michael Chong, vice chairman of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE), as well as the FAAE’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which has eight members, and this month presented a report here that concludes that atrocities had been committed in Xinjiang constituting crimes against humanity and genocide.
“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges relevant parties to clearly understand the situation and correct their mistakes,” the ministry said.
“They must stop political manipulation in Xinjiang-related affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any way, and refrain from going the wrong way. Otherwise your fingers will be burned. “
People are prohibited from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, the ministry said, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the three people or having exchanges with the subcommittee.
China’s previous sanctions on American individuals that it says have seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and interests in Xinjiang-related matters remain in effect, according to the statement.
Activists and UN rights experts say at least one million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. Activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilization.
China has repeatedly denied all allegations of abuse, saying its camps offer vocational training and are necessary to fight extremism.
Reporting by Ryan Woo; Edited by Kevin Liffey