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Tit for tat over Xinjiang: China's sanctions on US officials

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Tit for tat over Xinjiang: Chinas sanctions on US officials
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File photo of Uyghur Muslims held in a camp in Xinjiang

Beijing: In a tit-for-tat retaliation on the US, China on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four members of the US government's Commission on International Religious Freedom. The step came in response to penalties imposed on Chinese officials following complaints of abuses in the country's northwestern Xinjiang region.

The sanctions come in the series of war of words, threats and actions over Xinjiang province where Uyghur Muslims have been suffering various forms of torture, human rights violations and forced indoctrination attracting worldwide condemnation spearheaded by the US. Washington has banned imports from the region that might be made with forced labor, while activists are calling for a boycott of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing.

China has denied charges of abuses and earlier retaliated by publicizing calls for boycotts of foreign shoe and clothing brands.

The new sanctions would mean that the chairwoman and three members of the US panel are barred from visiting mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, and any assets they have in the country will be frozen, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

Zhao mentioned the names of the three, chairwoman Nadine Maenza, deputy chairman Nury Turkel and members Anurima Bhargava and James Carr. Zhao gave no indication whether they have assets in China.

China threatened to retaliate after the US Treasury announced sanctions December 10 on two officials accused of involvement in repression of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing is accused of mass detentions, forced abortions and other abuses.

Treasury targeted Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the region's government from 2018 until early this year, and Erken Tuniyaz, who holds the position now and previously was deputy chairman.

"The United States should withdraw the so-called sanctions and stop interfering in Xinjiang's affairs and China's internal affairs," Zhao s "China will make further responses in accordance with the development of the situation."

(Based on PTI feed with minor edits)

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TAGS:China Uyghur Muslims Xinjiang rights violations US-China sanctions 
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