China has issued more retaliatory sanctions over Xinjiang, targeting individuals and entities in the United Kingdom it says “maliciously spread lies and disinformation” regarding Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
In a statement Friday, China’s foreign ministry said the UK had “imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity, citing the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang.”
“This move, based on nothing but lies and disinformation, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and severely undermines China-UK relations.”
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Those sanctioned include five members of Parliament — Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith, Neil O’Brien, Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani — and two members of the House of Lords, David Alton and Helena Kennedy, as well as academic Joanne Smith Finley and barrister Geoffrey Nice.
Four entities were also named by Beijing: the China Research Group, Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, Uyghur Tribunal, and Essex Court Chambers, a leading London law firm.
“China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the UK side not go further down the wrong path,” the Chinese foreign ministry statement said. “Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions.”
Chinese ambassador reacts to CNN Uyghur report
Chinese ambassador reacts to CNN Uyghur report 10:17
Those individuals concerned and their immediate family members are prohibited 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, according to the foreign ministry statement.
The UK’s ambassador to China has also been summoned by Beijing, to lodge what it described as “solemn representations, expressing firm opposition and strong condemnation.”
While relations between Beijing and London have suffered as a result of the ongoing crackdown in Hong Kong, which the UK has suggested breaches a historic agreement with China, the new sanctions could send them to new lows.
Certainly it is a marked contrast from only five years ago, when then-British Prime Minister David Cameron shared a beer with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to the UK that was supposed to begin a “new golden era” in ties between the two nations.