BEIJING – China announced on Monday that it was banning the entry of several United States’ officials in response to Washington imposing sanctions on three leaders of the Communist Party of China for alleged human rights abuses against the ethnic Muslim minority Uyghurs in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Beijing’s entry ban targets US senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz; congressman Chris Smith; the US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback; and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and the development of the rule of law in the Asian country.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press conference that the sanctions were in response to US infringements.
Hua added that Washington’s measures amounted to “interference in internal affairs” and “violated international law and international relations norms.”
Moreover, the spokesperson urged the US to withdraw its sanctions and warned that China could take further measures based on how the situation developed, while insisting that the Asian country was determined to safeguard its “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
On Thursday, the US had banned Chen Quangui, the head of the CPC in Xinjiang; Zhu Hailun, party secretary of the regional political and legal committee; and Wang Mingshan, the party secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau; as well as their family members from entering the US.
Washington had claimed that Chen’s role in Xinjiang was not the first instance of his involvement in the oppression of minorities in the country, given that earlier he had held similar positions in Tibet, where gross human rights violations were believed to have been committed under him.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the US “will not stand idly by as the CPC carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.”
He alleged that these abuses included “forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.”
Pompeo announced that the visa restrictions would also be imposed on other CPC officials linked to the alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and their family members, without identifying these individuals.