China slaps tit-for-tat sanctions on US lawmakers, envoy over Xinjiang

China announced on Monday sanctions against three senior Republican lawmakers and a US envoy in retaliation to US visa bans and asset freezes against some Chinese officials allegedly over treatment of Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region.

Some of the most outspoken critics of China -- Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz along with Congressman Chris Smith -- were targeted by the action, as well as the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.

The unspecified "corresponding sanctions" were announced days after the US imposed visa bans and asset freezes on several Chinese officials, including the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, over rights abuses in the region.

The move was "in response to the US's wrong actions", foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

"We urge the US to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop words and actions that interfere in China's internal affairs and harm China's interests," she said.

 "China will make a further response depending on the development of the situation."

Sanctions will also be applied on the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an agency that monitors human rights in the Asian country.

Source: AFP

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