China announces sanctions against top US senators

China announces sanctions against top US senators2
Marco Rubio (L) and Ted Cruz competed with Donald Trump in 2016. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: China announces sanctions on top Republicans after the US imposed sanctions on several Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. The nature of the sanctions is not clear yet. Senator Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were among those targeted. Both of them have been outspoken critics of China.

China is accused of detaining more than a million Uighurs and other minority group members in Xinjiang but China denies abuses in the far-western region.

Marco Rubio is a senator for Florida while Ted Cruz represents Texas. Both of them competed with Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

China also imposed sanctions on Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, Republican congressman Chris Smith; and a government agency, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

China’s foreign ministry said the move was in response to America’s “wrong actions”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We urge the US to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop any words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests.”

The spokeswoman gave no details about what the sanctions entailed but added: “China will make a further response depending on the development of the situation.”

Both of the senators are outspoken critics of China.

Last week, the US has imposed sanctions on a number of Chinese politicians and officials who it says are responsible for human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said while announcing the measures that the US was acting against “horrific and systematic abuses” in Xinjiang.

China’s Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo was among those targeted by the US. Mr Quanguo is seen as the architect of Beijing’s policies against minorities. Persons who were sanctioned by the US were hit with a visa ban and freeze on their US assets.

Relations between China and the US are already strained over a number of issues, including China’s introduction of a controversial security law in Hong Kong, coronavirus issues and trade.

What is China doing in Xinjiang?

Several human rights groups say up to a million Muslims have been detained in high-security prison camps across Xinjiang province. The BBC saw leaked documents last year that showed 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps in one week alone.

China denies any mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang province.

It is thought that authorities in that province have detained about a million people in re-education camps in recent years. Local government officials say “vocational training” is needed to counter radicalism and separatism.

You may read: US sanctions on Chinese officials over ‘abuse’ of Muslims