China announced sanctions against several top United States officials on Monday after Washington penalized senior Chinese officials over the treatment of minority Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.
The sanctions targeted Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, U.S. Representative Chris Smith, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
China was angered by Rubio and Cruz after they sponsored legislation that would punish its actions in Xinjiang.
Smith has also been a vocal critic of China on issues ranging from Xinjiang to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Rubio, Cruz, and Smith are all members of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said:
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.
China will make further responses based on how the situation develops.
United Nations experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers in Xinjiang.
China says they are training centers helping to stamp out terrorism and extremism and give people new skills.
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