US Move May Further Fray Relations With China

White House sanctions officials in Beijing over Uighurs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2021 1:47 PM CDT
US Sanctions Chinese Officials Over Uighurs
A member of the Uighur community living in Turkey, joins a protest against China, in Istanbul, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.   (AP Photo/Omer Kuscu)

The US, the European Union, Britain, and Canada launched coordinated sanctions against officials in China on Monday over what they call human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, per the AP. "Amid growing international condemnation, the [People's Republic of China] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, per Business Insider. The US targeted two Chinese officials in Beijing, and more were sanctioned by the other nations. The sanctions involve a freeze on the officials’ assets and a ban on them traveling. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the measures were part of "intensive diplomacy" to force action amid mounting evidence about serious rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim people.

Initially, China denied the existence of camps for detaining Uighurs in Xinjiang but has since described them as centers to provide job training and to reeducate those exposed to radical jihadi thinking. Officials in Beijing deny all charges of human rights abuses. Xinjiang had been a hotbed of anti-government violence, but Beijing claims its massive security crackdown brought peace in recent years. China’s Foreign Ministry denounced the sanctions as "based on nothing but lies and disinformation" as it issued its own retaliatory measures. (The first talks between the Biden administration and China got off to a rocky start over the weekend.)

(Read more Uighurs stories.)

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