Gayle Manchin, religious rights advocate says she's 'flattered' China sanctioned her

Gayle Manchin, religious rights advocate says she's 'flattered' China sanctioned her
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Gayle Manchin, the wife of Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Joe Manchin should embrace paid leave — now MORE (D-W.Va.) and chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said on Saturday that she is “flattered” China sanctioned her as the U.S. has criticized Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.

“I feel flattered to be recognized by Communist China for calling out genocidal crimes against religious and ethnic minorities in the country,” Gayle Manchin told Reuters in a statement.

“While I don’t have plans to travel to China this summer, I won’t stop speaking out when egregious violations of religious freedom are taking place as they are in China,” she added. 

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China issued the sanctions against Gayle Manchin, USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins, and several other U.S. and Canadian officials on Saturday as retribution for sanctions against Beijing from the U.S., European Union, Britain and Canada last week. 

"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," China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday, according to Reuters

Gayle Manchin, along with the other sanctioned officials, cannot enter the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau and cannot conduct business with Chinese citizens and businesses. 

The U.S.-coordinated sanctions against two Chinese government officials cited “serious human rights abuses” against the Uyghur Muslim population in the Xinjiang province. 

Activists and United Nations officials have said at least 1 million Muslims have been put in camps in the province. The U.S. and several other countries have designated China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims as a genocide. 

China has maintained that allegations of abuse are false, noting the camps are for vocational training and designed to combat extremism.

The sanctions came after USCIRF endorsed the U.S. government to sanction China for its treatment of people in Xinjiang, according to Reuters.