China's Foreign Ministry on Monday announced reciprocal sanctions against the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback, US Senator Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Republican Chris Smith.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the announcement at Monday's media briefing, reported Global Times.
Hua was quoted as saying that China will impose reciprocal sanctions on the mentioned commission and four individuals effective immediately in response to US sanctions.
The US' actions seriously interfered in China's internal affairs, violated basic norms governing international relations and seriously damaged China-US relations, and China firmly opposes and strongly condemns them, Hua said.
US had on Thursday imposed sanctions and visa restrictions against some senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party in response to human rights violations in Xinjiang.
"I am designating three senior CCP officials under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2020 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, for their involvement in gross violations of human rights: Chen Quanguo, the Party Secretary of the XUAR; Zhu Hailun, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee (XPLC); and Wang Mingshan, the current Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB). As a result, they and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States," US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The Uighurs are a majority in the Xinjiang province, situated in western part of China.
Many international human rights organisations have accused China of cracking down on the Uighurs by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forceful re-education or indoctrination.
"I am also placing additional visa restrictions on other CCP officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the unjust detention or abuse of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang pursuant to the policy announced in October 2019 under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Their family members may also be subject to these restrictions," Pompeo had said.
The US Secretary of State had underlined that these designations and visa restrictions complement the U.S. Department of the Treasury's announcement that it is designating the XPSB, as well as four current or former officials of the People's Republic of China - Chen Quanguo; Zhu Hailun; Wang Mingshan; and Huo Liujun - for their roles in serious human rights abuse.
"These designations are pursuant to Executive Order 13818, "Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption," which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Before ramping up the CCP's campaign of repression in Xinjiang, Chen oversaw extensive abuses in Tibetan areas, using many of the same horrific practices and policies CCP officials currently employ in Xinjiang," said Pompeo.
Pompeo had stated that US will not sit idly by as the CCP carries out "human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith".
"The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the CCP's attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behaviour," he had said.