Blinken condemns China sanctions on U.S., Canadian officials
Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement late Saturday condemning China for sanctioning U.S. and Canadian officials amid simmering tensions over the way China treats Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
“The United States condemns the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) baseless sanctions on two U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commissioners apparently in retaliation for U.S. sanctions on PRC officials connected with serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang,” Blinken said.
“Beijing’s attempts to intimidate and silence those speaking out for human rights and fundamental freedoms only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” he continued.
China imposed sanctions earlier on Saturday on USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin, wife of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and USCIRF vice chair Tony Perkins.
Also sanctioned on Saturdays was Michael Chong, who is the vice chair of the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE), as well as eight members of the committee’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
The officials are not allowed in China, Hong Kong or Macau, and Chinese citizens and businesses cannot communicate with them.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the sanctions “an attack on transparency and freedom of expression.”
“We stand with Parliamentarians against these unacceptable actions, and we will continue to defend human rights around the world with our international partners,” he said on Twitter.
China’s sanctions are an attack on transparency and freedom of expression – values at the heart of our democracy. We stand with Parliamentarians against these unacceptable actions, and we will continue to defend human rights around the world with our international partners. https://t.co/gtMleSAaEd
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 27, 2021
The sanctions came after the U.S. and Canada coordinated sanctions with the European Union on Monday against two Chinese government officials over their alleged connection to “serious human rights abuses” against Uyghur Muslims.
The U.S. and other countries have called the alleged treatment a genocide. China had denied accusations of human rights abuses in the country.