West imposes fresh sanctions on China

Uighur Crackdown

24 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

BRUSSELS: The European Union, the United States, Britain and Canada on Monday imposed fresh sanctions on Chinese officials over the crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and Beijing responded by hitting Europeans with immediate tit-for-tat measures, reports AFP.

Brussels, London and Ottawa blacklisted former and current officials in the Xinjiang region—Zhu Hailun, Wang Junzheng, Wang Mingshan and Chen Mingguo—over alleged abuses, which have sparked international outrage.

The coordinated strike also targeted the state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Washington, which had sanctioned two of those officials in July 2020, added the other two to the list on Monday.

“Acting together sends the clearest possible signal that the international community is united in its condemnation of China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and the need for Beijing to end its discriminatory and oppressive practices in the region,” Britain’s foreign ministry said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China “continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang” and called on Beijing to “bring an end to the repression of Uighurs”.

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the sanctions underscore “grave concerns with the ongoing human rights violations” in Xinjiang.

The symbolic move is the first time Brussels and London—in other matters increasingly at odds with each other since Brexit—have targeted China over accusations of widespread abuses and forced labour in Xinjiang.