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China sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation

China sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation
© Bonnie Cash

Beijing said it will sanction three U.S lawmakers and one ambassador in retaliation for similar actions the Trump administration took against Chinese officials last week over alleged human rights abuses against China’s minority Uighur population in the western region of Xinjiang. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced the “corresponding sanctions” on Monday, Reuters reported

Hua said the U.S. move “seriously damaged China-U.S. relations,” and that Beijing “will respond further according to the development of the situation,” according to The Associated Press. She did not spell out the sanctions beyond saying they would correspond to the ones issued by the U.S., the AP noted. 

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The sanctions target Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China MORE (R-Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (R-Texas), as well as Rep. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithDemocrats under pressure to deliver on labor's 'litmus test' bill Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget MORE (R-N.J.), Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, according to the news services.

Spokespeople for the lawmakers were not immediately available for comment. 

The U.S. officials targeted by China’s sanctions have been critical of Beijing's treatment of the minority Uighur population. Rubio and Cruz have both sponsored legislation that would punish China's actions in Xinjiang, and Smith has been a vocal critic of China on issues ranging from Xinjiang to Hong Kong and the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters notes. 

The Chinese government is accused of committing human rights abuses against the Uighurs in the Xinjiang region, with reports finding that members of the Muslim minority group have been put in internment camps. Last month, The Associated Press reported that the Chinese government has acted in recent years to slash birth rates among the minority group through birth control and sterilization. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoIt will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid MORE last week announced the U.S. imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials over the alleged human rights abuses. The sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act apply to three Chinese Communist Party officials, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and a former government official.