China sanctions US, Canadian individuals, entity

Beijing, March 28 (IANS) China has announced sanctions on US and Canadian individuals and an entity, citing the two countries’ recent moves of imposing “unilateral, disinformation-based sanctions” over human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s announcement on Saturday, the US and Canada imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant individuals and entity in Xinjiang on March 22 based on rumours and disinformation, reports Xinhua news agency.

In response, the Chinese side decides to sanction Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Gayle Manchin, Vice Chair of the USCIRF Tony Perkins, Member of Parliament of Canada Michael Chong, and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the House of Commons of Canada.

“The individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the relevant individuals and having exchanges with the relevant entity,” said the announcement.

In the meantime, China’s previous sanctions on US individuals who have seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and interests on Xinjiang-related issues remain effective.

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.

“They must stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will get their fingers burnt,” said the announcement.

On March 22, the EU sanctioned four Chinese officials and one entity in Xinjiang, targeting them with assets freezes and travel bans.

They are the first such sanctions against China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

The US, the UK and Canada followed with their own sanctions.

Beijing responded with tit-for-tat moves, imposing sanctions on 10 European lawmakers and four European institutions, as well as British individuals and entities.

In the last few years, hundreds of Uighurs, Kazakhs and Huis have testified that they were held in internment camps in Xinjiang province as part of what observers say is a government campaign to forcibly assimilate ethnic minorities.

The Chinese government says the camps, estimated to have held more than 1 million people since 2017, are “vocational education centres” to eradicate extremism and terrorism.

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