Most of the world has come together to impose sanctions against Putin for Russia’s role in starting an unjust war in Ukraine. Instead of China joining with the other countries united against Moscow, China has imposed new sanctions against the United States.
China now has sanctions against government officials in the U.S. in retaliation for similar sanctions taken against Chinese officials earlier in the month. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, said that there would be visa restrictions placed on the official who “concocted lies” about China’s human rights record. He did not give the names of those officials.
The intention of these sanctions is to protect the rights and interests of the officials from China, according to Wang who announced this at a media briefing. It was nearly two weeks ago that the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spoke for the State Department and imposed sanctions against Chinese individuals who are responsible for human rights violations and the suppression of religious freedom.
While speaking to the media, Wang challenged President Joe Biden to end the political sanctions and he threatened to retaliate with similar punitive measures.
“The United States uses the pretext of so-called human rights issues to concoct malicious lies and uses them as excuses to interfere in China’s internal affairs, smear China’s image and suppress Chinese officials. These actions have no moral bottom line and seriously violate international law and the basic norms of international relations. China firmly opposes this,” Wang declared.
He went further promising that he would keep China’s sovereignty safe and protect the rights of Chinese officials. He announced the decision to impose visa restrictions on certain officials from America, focusing on the ones they believe made up the so-called “lies” and hurt the interests of his nation.
This is not the first time that officials from Beijing have fought back against allegations of human rights violations. They did the same when the Trump administration challenged them on this issue. And this is not the first time that China has reciprocated sanctions in the same way that America has imposed them.
The United States has a history of being concerned with how the Chines government has treated people in the Xinjiang region in the Northwest part of the nation. There have been many human rights groups as well as survivors who describe that more than a million Uyghurs and some other mainly Muslim ethnic groups have been interned. The Chinese government has operated a reeducation campaign for years now that started with the leadership of the Chinese government.
There are multiple reports of coerced labor and forced sterilization of Uyghur women. When Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, he said that China’s policies led to genocide and crimes against humanity. This has been restated now through his successor, Antony Blinken. Pompeo was sanctioned by the Chinese along with other Trump administration officials during the transition to the Biden administration in January of 2021.
Secretary Blinken announced last week that China is making an effort to
“harass, intimidate, surveil and abduct members of ethnic and religious minority groups, including those who seek safety abroad, and U.S. citizens, who speak out on behalf of these vulnerable populations.”
The State Department imposed sanctions on Chinese officials who were responsible for developing or enacting policies that repressed religious practice. They also imposed sanctions on those who repressed “members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labor organizers, civil society organizers and peaceful protestors in China and beyond.”
The American government has called on China’s government to end the repression and their effort to “silence” the Uyghur people. But the response was not compliance but retaliation.