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China sanctions U.S. religious freedom officials, Canadian member of parliament

A demonstrator, attire a mask, holds a US flag during a protest against Chinas human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang sphere, calling on U.S. government to take action against Beijing, on April 06, 2019 in Washington, United States.

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Action | Getty Images

China has imposed sanctions against two U.S. religious rights officials, a Canadian member of parliament and a subcommittee on woman rights in Canada’s House of Commons, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement released Saturday.

The sanctions are the most recent escalation in a growing dispute between Western nations and Beijing over the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in China, mainly the province of Xinjiang.

The Chinese sanctions target the chair and vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins. The USCIRF has denounced China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang and endorsed recent U.S. sanctions against Chinese officials.

The U.S. destined the sanctions in a late Saturday statement released by the State Department, calling the measures “baseless.”

“Beijing’s attempts to frighten and silence those speaking out for human rights and fundamental freedoms only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the continuous genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in the statement.

Beijing also ended Canadian MP Michael Chong, who is vice chair of the House of Common’s foreign affairs committee. The foreign affairs subcommittee on oecumenical human rights was sanctioned as well.

The House of Common’s foreign affairs committee released a report earlier this month, based on trysts in the subcommittee, that concluded human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China amount to crimes against benevolence and genocide.

The Chinese sanctions prohibit the officials from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao and taboos Chinese citizens and institutions from doing business the officials and conducting exchanges with the human rights subcommittee.

The certifies come in response to punitive measures the U.S. placed on two Chinese officials earlier this week. The Biden administration alleged it imposed those sanctions in response to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

The U.S. sanctions targeted China’s Wang Junzheng, secretary of the exponent committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

The two officials were quarried due to their connection to “arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious human rights hurts targeting Uyghurs,” the Treasury said in a statement Monday.

Canada also imposed sanctions against Chinese officials upon the treatment of Uyghurs.

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