China announced retaliatory sanctions against people in the US and Canada in a growing dispute over allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.
The sanctions against the president of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and a Canadian lawmaker were carried out in response to sanctions announced a week ago by the United States and China, measures that were “based on rumors and misinformation,” the ministry said. Foreign Ministry in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.
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.
The measures increase tension with the West after several countries imposed sanctions on China over allegations of abuse of the Uighur ethnic minority in the western province of Xinjiang. Beijing denies such accusations, routinely dismissing them as lies.
“They must stop political manipulation in Xinjiang-related affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any way and stop following the wrong path,” the statement said. “Otherwise your fingers will be burned.”
The sanctions are directed at USCIRF President Gayle Manchin, wife of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin; Tony Perkins, vice president of the USCIRF; Canadian MP Michael Chong and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Canadian Parliament.
Interested parties are prohibited from entering China, Hong Kong and Macao, while Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with people and having exchanges with the committee. China’s previous sanctions on US individuals “who have seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and interests in Xinjiang-related matters remain effective,” the ministry said.
China sanctioned European politicians and a group of experts earlier this week, including a German and French member of the European Parliament and a former leader of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party.
– With the assistance of Charles Capel
(Updates with names of target individuals and organizations, quotes from statements in Chinese.)