China announces retaliation for US sanctions

Beijing announced on Friday that it would introduce mutual measures against US sanctions against Chinese officials linked to the alleged human rights violations against the Uighurs.

Another dispute between Washington and Beijing. China announced retaliation against the United States on Friday following US sanctions on several Chinese leaders accused of human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

“China has decided to take mutual action against US organizations and individuals who have behaved poorly on issues related to Xinjiang,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, though providing details.

“The US sanctions represent a serious interference in Chinese affairs and deeply damage the relationship between the two countries,” he added to the press.

Over one million Muslims interned

Xinjiang, a peninsula with about 25 million inhabitants, has long been affected by attacks attributed to Beijing by separatists or Islamists. There has been a strong recovery in recent years.

More than one million Muslims, including Uighurs, are or have been interned in camps in Xinjiang, according to Washington and international human rights organizations. China denies this figure, claiming to be vocational training centers, designed to help the people find a job, to distance them from the temptation of Islamic extremism.

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Specifically, three civil servants and their families will be denied entry visas to the United States, according to a press release from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These measures sanction “horrible and systematic abuse” against Uighurs, but also other minorities.

Among those targeted by the US sanctions is Chen Quanguo, the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Xinjiang. He is considered the architect of Beijing’s security policy in the region. Wang Mingshan, director of public security in Xinjiang and Zhu Hailun, former CCP official in the region, are also targeted.

It is still difficult for foreign media to know what is really happening in Xinjiang. Journalists are regularly followed, arrested or blocked by the authorities there.

In order to calm down, China said in July 2019 that “most” of the detainees in the region had been released. But without providing figures or proof.

With AFP and Reuters