On Friday, the Chinese government announced the imposition of sanctions on British entities and personalities accused of “spreading lies” about violations against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, while London condemned the move.
The sanctions included four British entities and nine personalities, including high-ranking parliamentarians.
The sanctions come days after the European Union and other countries (Britain, the United States and Canada) simultaneously imposed sanctions against Chinese officials accused by the West of carrying out a crackdown on the Uyghurs, the Muslim minority that constitutes the majority of the population of the northwestern region of China.
Earlier this week, Beijing announced similar sanctions against 10 personalities from the European Union, including members of the European Parliament, as well as four entities.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that according to these sanctions, people who have been affected, and their family members, are banned from entering Chinese territory, including Hong Kong and Macau.
She added that the sanctions will also freeze the assets that these persons and entities possess in China, if any, and prohibit Chinese persons, both natural and legal, from establishing any commercial relations with them.
The Chinese sanctions have affected, in particular, the Human Rights Committee of the Conservative Party (the party of Prime Minister Boris Johnson), the former leader of the party Ian Duncan Smith and Representative Tom Tugendhat, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee in the British House of Commons.
And human lefts organizations accuse China of detaining up to one million Uyghur Muslims in detention camps in Xinjiang.
China categorically denies this and says that these camps are “vocational training centers” aimed at keeping the population away from religious extremism and separatist tendencies after many bloody attacks by Uyghurs against civilians.
For its part, London condemned the sanctions and accused Beijing of seeking to silence all those condemning human rights violations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson affirmed that he “firmly supports” the personalities and entities covered by the Chinese sanctions.
“We condemn China’s attempts to silence those who speak out against human rights violations, at home and abroad,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet.
“If Beijing is to credibly refute human rights violations in Xinjiang, it must allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to have full access to verification,” he added in a brief statement.
“It is our duty to speak out against the Chinese government’s violations of human rights in Hong Kong and the genocide of the Uyghurs,” Ian Duncan Smith said in a tweet.
“If this angered China, I would consider it a badge of honor,” he said.
Tom Tugendhat responded on Twitter, saying, “Britain is imposing sanctions against individuals who violate the human rights of Chinese citizens. China imposes sanctions on individuals who defend the human rights of Chinese citizens. The contrast is clear. ”
The sanctions also affected the Conservative Party MP, Nasrat Ghani, who considered her a “warning sign for all democratic countries.”
“I will not be afraid,” she added, as these sanctions “make me more determined to talk about the Uyghurs.”
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