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13 Jul, 2020 09:21

Tit for tat: China blacklists US Senators Rubio, Cruz & other officials in response to sanctions over Xinjiang

Tit for tat: China blacklists US Senators Rubio, Cruz & other officials in response to sanctions over Xinjiang

Beijing has placed sanctions on several US officials, including hawkish Republican Party Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. China said the move was made in response to US sanctions over the treatment of Uyghurs by Beijing.

Along with Rubio and Cruz, the blacklist includes Representative Chris Smith, US envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. All sanctioned politicians are strong critics of Beijing, and have pushed for tough anti-China laws.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying explained that the sanctions are retaliation to previous hostile actions by the US. On July 9, the US Treasury blacklisted several high-ranking Chinese officials, citing “serious abuses” of Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority living in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.

Hua said that the situation in Xinjiang is “purely China’s domestic affair,” and that the US has “no right” to intervene there. She urged Washington to revoke its “wrong decision” to sanction Chinese officials, promising that Beijing will retaliate further against any hostilities by the US.

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Relations between the US and China have been particularly strained in recent years. Apart from the Uyghur issue, American officials accused Beijing of human rights abuses during the massive anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory. China has insisted that the US has no right to meddle in Hong Kong’s affairs, and warned against inciting protests from abroad.

Both countries also regularly accuse each other of military provocations and stoking tensions in the South China Sea.

Last year, US President Donald Trump banned American firms with sensitive information technology from using the products by Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Washington accused the Chinese government of using Huawei for espionage, which is something both the company and Beijing deny.

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