China sanctions US and Canadian individuals, entities as feud on Xinjiang grows


China announced retaliatory sanctions on Saturday against two Americans, a Canadian and a rights advocacy body in a growing political and economic feud over its policies over Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said 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.

China has strongly rejected accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and has launched calls for boycotts and other punishments against foreign firms.

It has called for sanctions against foreign government officials and activists whom it says are spreading false information about its policies toward Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The UN and human rights groups said at least one million Uyghurs and people from other mostly Muslim groups have been held in camps in Xinjiang.

Rights group also accuse Chinese 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. (Source: CNA)