China sanctions US religious freedom officials and Canadian member of parliament


A protester, wearing a mask, holds an American flag during a protest against China’s human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, calling on the United States government to take action against Beijing, April 6. 2019 in Washington, United States.

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | fake images

China has imposed sanctions against two US religious rights officials, a Canadian member of parliament and a human rights subcommittee in Canada’s House of Commons, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry released on Saturday.

The sanctions are the latest escalation in a growing dispute between Western nations and Beijing over the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in China, particularly in Xinjiang province.

The Chinese sanctions target the president and vice chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins. The USCIRF has condemned China’s treatment of the Muslim Uighur population in Xinjiang and has backed recent US sanctions against Chinese officials.

Beijing also targeted Canadian MP Michael Chong, who is vice chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee. The foreign relations subcommittee on international human rights was also sanctioned.

The House of Commons foreign affairs committee released a report earlier this month, based on subcommittee meetings, which concluded that human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in China amount to crimes against humanity and genocide.

Chinese sanctions prohibit officials from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao and prohibit Chinese citizens and institutions from doing business with officials and conducting exchanges with the subcommittee on human rights.

The sanctions come in response to punitive measures the United States imposed on two Chinese officials earlier this week. The Biden administration said it imposed those sanctions in response to human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims.

The US sanctions targeted Wang Junzheng of China, secretary of the party committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

The two officials were targeted because of their connection to “arbitrary detentions and severe physical abuse, among other serious human rights abuses against Uyghurs,” the Treasury said in a statement Monday.

Canada also imposed sanctions against Chinese officials for their treatment of Uighurs.

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