(Update 1: Adds details)
Brussels, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- The European Union on Monday agreed to impose fresh sanctions on four senior Chinese officials over human rights violations and abuses related to the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
These are the first EU sanctions on Chinese officials since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
They were imposed in the wake of the “large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China,” among other motives, the EU said.
The list of officials includes Mingguo Chen, the Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.
The EU accused him of a “large-scale surveillance, detention and indoctrination programme targeting Uyghurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities.”
The sanctions also targeted Zhu Hailun, the former Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Xinjiang, whom the EU considers the “architect” of the program against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, as well as his successor Wang Mingshan.
The fourth official was named as Wang Junzheng, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a state-run economic and paramilitary body.
The latest punitive measures came as part of a sanctions package announced by the EU on Monday involving 11 people and four entities for serious human rights violations and abuses in China, Russia, North Korea, Libya, South Sudan and Eritrea.
The EU’s foreign ministers approved the sanctions on Monday to show their “strong determination to stand up for human rights and to take tangible action against those responsible for violations and abuses,” the EU said.
In retaliation, China announced sanctions on 10 officials, including five members of the European Parliament.
“China firmly opposes and condemns the sanctions of the European Union,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, accusing the bloc of “spreading lies” and “seriously damaging” its sovereignty.
The list of sanctioned European politicians, who are banned from entering the Asian country, includes Germany’s Reinhard Bütikofer and Michael Gahler, France’s Raphaël Glucksmann, Bulgaria’s Ilhan Kyuchuk and Slovakia’s Miriam Lexmann. EFE-EPA