The United States on Saturday (local time) condemned China's sanctions against two American religious-rights officials and a Canadian MP and said that Beijing's attempt to silence criticism of human rights abuse in Xinjiang invites international scrutiny.
Taking to Twitter, US Secretary Antony Blinken said, "We condemn the People's Republic of China's sanctions on two members of the independent and bipartisan @USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom). Beijing's attempt to silence criticism of serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang only contributes to growing international scrutiny."
Those targeted by the new sanctions by China 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, South China Morning Post reported.
"They are not allowed to enter mainland China and Hong Kong, Macau, and entities in China are banned from transactions and physical contact with them," according to a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry, which said the sanctions were designed to fight back against "lies" and "misinformation".
China's move is direct retaliation against EU foreign ministers who imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials and one entity earlier this week over human rights abuses against Uyghurs. Later, the US, Canada, and the UK also announced sanctions against China.
China has launched a series of retaliatory measures following sanctions from Western countries over its Xinjiang policies.
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.
The dispute has seen a flurry of activity in diplomatic circles, with China and European nations summoning each other's ambassadors to answer for the move and responses to it, according to the South China Morning Post.
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