World Politics

China trades sanctions with U.S. over Uighur Muslims

Senator Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) attend a signing ceremony for S442, the NASA transition authorization act, with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

China announced sanctions against U.S. officials including two senators on Monday in retaliation against Washington's sanctions against senior Chinese officials over Beijing's treatment of minority Uighur Muslims.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying disclosed what she called "corresponding sanctions" against U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, U.S. Representative Chris Smith, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

The commission monitors human rights and the development of the rule of law in China and submits an annual report to
President Donald Trump and Congress.

"The U.S. actions seriously interfere in China's internal affairs, seriously violate the basic norms of international relations and seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations," she told reporters during a daily briefing.

"China will make further responses based on how the situation develops."

Hua did not elaborate on what the sanctions entail, but Washington's measures against Chinese officials, including the Communist Party secretary of the troubled western region of Xinjiang, include freezing of U.S. assets, U.S. travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centers helping to stamp out terrorism and extremism and give people new skills.