China imposes sanctions on UK individuals over Xinjiang

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 26, 2021, 10:14 AM(IST)

(File photo) Chinese President Xi Jinping Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Sanctions imposed on Friday were against nine UK individuals and four entities. China said that they had "maliciously spread lies and disinformation" over Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs.

China imposed sanctions on British lawmakers and lobby groups on Friday in a move that is likely widen the divide between China and Western powers. The West has been critical of China's alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. The EU, UK, Canada and US imposed sanctions on number of members of Xinjiang's political and economic hierarchy earlier this week. This was co-ordinated action against alleged widespread abuse in China's northwestern region.

Sanctions imposed on Friday were against nine UK individuals and four entities. China said that they had "maliciously spread lies and disinformation" over Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs.

Those sanctioned included Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of Britain's Conservative party, as well as other lawmakers and four groups which have been vocal in driving rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong onto Westminster's agenda.

Also on the list was a law firm that has taken up Uyghur rights causes.

All of the sanctioned parties will be barred from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, while their property in the country will be frozen, and Chinese citizens and institutions will be banned from dealings with them.

"The United Kingdom (UK) imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity, citing the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The move "severely undermines China-UK relations", it added, warning Britain "not go further down the wrong path".

Rights groups say that at least one million Uyghurs and people from other Muslim groups have been held in camps in Xinjiang. There are accusations of forcible sterilisation of women and forced labour.

Beijing insists Xinjiang is an "internal affair" and has gone into attack mode as Western opprobrium mounts, putting sanctions on individuals from the European Union and Britain who have taken up the Uyghur cause.

China has also started a PR war against several Western brands that operate inside China.

(With AFP inputs)

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