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China sanctions US lawmakers over Xinjiang

By Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today, published by

CHINA today (July 13) announced retaliatory sanctions against US  officials and entities, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, after Washington sanctioned senior Chinese officials who it claimed are responsible for mass detentions, religious persecution and forced sterilization against Muslim Uighur minorities in China’s Xinjiang province.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying disclosed the sanctions during a daily briefing. Also sanctioned: Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas; Sam Brownback, a US  Ambassador for religious freedom; Representative Chris Smith, R-N.J.; and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights.

Hua said the sanctions would begin immediately and those penalized would be barred entry to China. But she did not specify how the US lawmakers or the commission would further specifically be targeted, making the move appear to be a largely symbolic retaliation three days after the Washington sanctioned a top member of China’s ruling Communist Party and three other officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Beijing had also vowed to strike back against the US for what it claims is inappropriate meddling in it internal affairs in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“I guess they don’t like me?” Rubio tweeted today.

China has repeatedly denied it is mistreating Uighur Muslims in far-western Xinjiang, but human rights organizations and foreign media reports have alleged that authorities have detained about a million people in so-called re-education camps there. China denies any wrongdoing and says the camps are vocational centres needed to counter radicalism.

According to a new book by John Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, when the US president met with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G-20 economic summit in Japan last year Trump said that “Xi should go ahead with building the camps.” Trump thought it was “exactly the right thing to do,” Bolton said.

Separately, Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration may be planning to make an announcement this week related to escalating tensions in the South China Sea, where Washington and Beijing are vying for military supremacy.


Top: US President Donald Trump, right, talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. Photo: Andy Wong, AP

TNR staff
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