China Sanctions 4 US Officials In Retaliation Against Washington’s Pressure Over Xinjiang

The communist regime in China is imposing sanctions on four U.S. religious freedom officials, in response to Washington’s efforts to pressure Beijing over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The sanction targets the chair Nadine Maenza, vice chair Nury Turkel, and two commissioners of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Dec. 21.

The measures block their travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, and freeze any assets within China owned by those individuals, Zhao said. He added that they were “countermeasures” against recent U.S. sanctions, imposed under China’s anti-foreign sanctions law.”

The USCIRF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

The United States on Dec. 10 leveled sanctions against a Chinese company and four current and former officials that are involved in the regime’s oppression of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in the far-western Xinjiang region. Last week, it also blacklisted dozens of Chinese entities for aiding Beijing’s abuses in the region or for advancing the regime’s military.

More than one million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in internment camps in Xinjiang, where they have been subjected to forced sterilization, torture, political indoctrination, and forced labor. The United States and other Western democracies have labeled Beijing’s actions a genocide.

Re-education centre Xinjiang
A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang, China, on Sept. 4, 2018. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Zhao denied the accusations of abuses and expressed “strong opposition and condemnation” of the U.S. sanctions at Tuesday’s briefing in Beijing. He accused Washington of “interfering in Xinjiang’s affairs and China’s internal affairs” and threatened to retaliate.

“China will make further responses in accordance with the development of the situation,” Zhao said.

Tuesday’s sanction from Beijing comes amid escalated pressure from Washington and its allies over the regime’s repression in Xinjiang. The United States, UK, Canada, and Australia have declared a diplomatic boycott of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Senate passed a bill on Dec. 16 to ban all imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns, which was also passed by the House a few days earlier. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act now heads to the White House, where President Joe Biden said he’ll sign it into law.

From The Epoch Times