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China imposes sanctions on US officials over Xinjiang issue

China has announced sanctions on US lawmakers after Washington last week imposed curbs on Chinese officials believed to be responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

China has announced sanctions on US lawmakers after Washington last week imposed curbs on Chinese officials believed to be responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The Chinese sanctions target US Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Representative Chris Smith and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday actions by the United States have “seriously damaged China-US relations” and that Beijing will oppose what it sees as Washington’s interference in China‘s internal affairs.

Hua didn’t specify what the curbs consisted of but said they were “corresponding sanctions” to those imposed by the US on China last week.

Washington on Thursday announced it was freezing US-based assets and suspending visas for four Chinese officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, a western region of China where the government is conducting a mass surveillance and internment campaign against ethnic minorities.

The Chinese officials targeted by sanctions included Chen Quanguo, a member of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo who is seen as an architect of the mass detention programmes.

The US government and foreign researchers estimate China has placed about 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang in detention camps over the past four years.

The campaign also reportedly forces women in Xinjiang to be sterilized and fitted with contraceptive devices, according to research published last month by German scholar Adrian Zenz.

The reports have led to international requests to the United Nations to investigate.

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