Beijing, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- China’s foreign ministry on Friday announced sanctions against nine United Kingdom individuals and four entities in response to those imposed by London on Beijing earlier this week over alleged human rights violations in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative members of parliament Tom Tugendhat, Nusrat Ghani, Neil O’Brien and Tim Loughton, two members of the House of Lords, David Alton and Helena Kennedy QC, barrister Geoffrey Nice QC and Newcastle University Uighur expert Jo Smith Finley were the individuals named in the Chinese foreign ministry announcement.
Those named and their family members are banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, their property in China will be frozen, and Chinese citizens and institutions “will be prohibited from doing business with them,” it added.
The ministry also imposed sanctions on the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, the China Research Group think tank (created by Conservative MPs), the Uyghur Tribunal organization, and the Essex Court Chambers law firm.
The ministry said that the UK’s decision to impose sanctions on four Chinese individuals and one institution this week was “based on nothing but lies and disinformation,” and warned London to “not go further down the wrong path.”
“Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions,” it added.
In recent years, reports and testimonies have emerged about the situation of the Uighur Muslim minority as well as other Muslim minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang from members of those communities living overseas.
Satellite images have also been released showing the construction and expansion of sprawling guarded facilities and documents have been leaked that point to an expeditious policy under the supposed purpose of ending Islamic radicalism in the region, which has been the scene of internal migration campaigns by the majority ethnic Han during the last decades.
Some foreign analysts say the facilities are mass internment camps, the existence of which Beijing initially denied and later defended as vocational education centers meant to deradicalize people influenced by religious extremism.
The United Nations has indicated that at least 1 million people are detained in the camps, while rights watchdogs and journalists have reported mass surveillance of the region’s population, the stripping of their rights and freedoms, indoctrination, torture, biometric data collection, and even forced sterilization, among other things.
Beijing categorically denies that human rights violations occur in Xinjiang, a region where international media faces many challenges in reporting. EFE-EPA