China imposes sanctions on US officials against Xinjiang

BEIJING (AP) – China on Tuesday announced sanctions against four members of the US Government’s Commission on International Religious Freedom in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Chinese officials over complaints of abuse in the northwestern Xinjiang region .

The tit-for-tat sanctions are adding to the growing tension in Xinjiang. Washington has banned imports from the region that could be done with forced labor, while activists are calling for a boycott of the February Winter Olympics in Beijing. China has denied accusations of abuse and has previously responded with calls to boycott foreign brands of footwear and clothing.

The president and three members of the US panel are not allowed to travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, and all assets they have in the country will be frozen, the business ministry spokesperson said. foreign Zhao Lijian.

Zhao identified those targeted as President Nadine Maenza, Vice President Nury Turkel, and members Anurima Bhargava and James Carr. Zhao gave no indication if they had any assets in China.

China has threatened to retaliate after the US Treasury announced sanctions on Dec. 10 against two officials accused of being involved in the crackdown on Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing is accused of mass detentions, forced abortions and other abuses.

The Treasury has targeted Shohrat Zakir, president of the region’s government from 2018 until early this year, and Erken Tuniyaz, who currently holds the post and was previously vice president.

“The United States should withdraw the so-called sanctions and stop interfering in the affairs of Xinjiang and the internal affairs of China,” Zhao said. “China will provide other responses as the situation develops.”