China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying announced Monday that China will impose sanctions against four US officials in retaliation for previous US sanctions against Chinese officials prompted by alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in China.
The sanctions target Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. The sanctions also impact the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a government agency focused on human rights abuses in China.
In her statement, Hua Chunying said:
It must be stressed that Xinjiang affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. The US has no right and no cause to interfere in them. The Chinese government is absolutely determined in its resolve to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, to combat violent terrorist, separatist and religious extremist forces, and to oppose any external interference in Xinjiang affairs and China’s internal affairs.
She urged US officials to rethink the sanctions they imposed last week. She claimed that China will respond further, “as the situation develops.”
Last week, the United States imposed sanctions on several Chinese officials over their involvement in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims. US officials also blacklisted several companies complicit in the detention of the Uighur people. In a statement about the sanctions, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:
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 behavior.