China announces sanctions on individuals, entities in Canada, U.S. – National
China on Saturday imposed sanctions against two American religious rights officials and one Canadian lawmaker in response to sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada over Xinjiang.
Beijing has been pushing back against sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada for what they say are rights violations against Uighur Muslims and other Turkic minorities in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.
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China sanctioned Canadian member of parliament Michael Chong, vice-chair of parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE), as well as the FAAE’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which has eight members and this month presented a report concluding that atrocities had been committed in Xinjiang that constitute crimes against humanity and genocide.
The country will also take measures against the chair and vice-chair of the U.S. government’s advisory Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the relevant parties to clearly understand the situation and redress their mistakes,” the ministry said.
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“They must stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going farther down the wrong path. Otherwise they will get their fingers burnt.”
The individuals are banned from entering the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, the ministry said, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the three individuals or having any exchanges with the subcommittee.
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China’s previous sanctions on U.S. individuals who it says have seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and interests on Xinjiang-related issues remain in effect, according to the statement.
Activists and U.N. rights experts say at least a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilizations.
China has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.
In a tweet Saturday morning, Chong said we have “a duty to all out China for its crackdown in #HongKong & its genocide of #Uyghurs.”
“We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless,” he wrote. “If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour.”
We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless.
If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour. pic.twitter.com/tS8MomWnun
— Michael Chong 🇨🇦 (@MichaelChongMP) March 27, 2021
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said the Canadian MPs who have been sanctioned by China have “used the freedom we enjoy as Canadians to call the world’s attention to the genocide against Uyghur Muslims in XinJiang.”
“I am proud of the work by MPs of all parties,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
O’Toole said Chong and Kenny Chiu “also show how Canadians with Chinese ancestry can stand as resolute critics of the repressive acts of the Communist Party while being proud of the rich Chinese history and culture.”
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Lynnette Ong, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, called the announcement of the sanctions against Chong and the parliamentary committee “a historical low point” in Canada’s bilateral relationship with China.The sanctions represent the first time China has ever taken such actions against a Canadian individual — a move Ong said will only “harden people’s resolve on those issues.”“This has to be a multilateral effort, and by sanctioning individuals, individual politicians or individual policy makers in either country, it’s just going to invite backlash,” she said.“It’s just counterproductive.”
Request for comment sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and Global Affairs Canada were not immediately returned.
— With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and Hannah Jackson