In retaliation against sanctions imposed by western countries on Chinese officials accused of human rights violation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, Beijing on Saturday announced sanctions against American and Canadian officials in charge of religious affairs.
Those targeted by the new sanctions include Gayle Manchin, chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and its vice-chairman Tony Perkins; Canadian MP Michael Chong and members of the Canadian Commons subcommittee on international human rights.
According to a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry, those sanctioned are not allowed to enter mainland China and Hong Kong, Macau, and entities in China are banned from transactions and physical contact with them.
The ministry said the sanctions were designed to fight back against “lies” and “misinformation”.
On Friday, China introduced sanctions on nine UK citizens and four entities in response to London’s sanctions on Beijing over the issue of human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.
The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom joined the European Union (EU) on Monday to take what they described as “coordinated action” against China to send “a clear message about the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang”.
The sanctions blacklisted former and current officials in the Xinjiang region–Zhu Hailun, Wang Junzheng, Wang Mingshan and Chen Mingguo–for alleged abuses, which have sparked international outrage.
In retaliation to the bloc’s sanctions, China has decided to introduce sanctions against 10 European Union officials and four European organisations after accusing them of spreading lies and false information about the Xinjiang region.
“China decided to sanction 10 people and four organisations which seriously harmed the country’s sovereignty and interests by spreading lies and false information with evil intent,” the ministry said in a statement.