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Sanctions imposed on US entity, officials over Xinjiang-related issues

By ZHOU JIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-07-14 07:15

Residents make rose jam in a village in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in June 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

China announced on Monday reciprocal sanctions against a United States entity and four US officials who have acted viciously on Xinjiang-related issues in response to moves made earlier by the US.

The corresponding sanctions target the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Representative Chris Smith and US State Department Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

The commission "monitors human rights and the development of the rule of law in China and submits an annual report to US President and Congress", according to its website.

The sanctions, which were not specified, were announced days after the US imposed visa bans and asset freezes on one Chinese government entity and four officials in connection with "serious rights abuses" supposedly enacted against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The US actions seriously interfere in China's internal affairs, violate the basic norms of international relations and damage China-US relations, Hua said.

"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 may have a further response depending on the development of the situation, she added.

Hua also urged the US to stop restrictions and suppression of normal people-to-people exchanges between the two countries to avoid harming bilateral ties.

The US embassy and consulates in China issued a security alert on Saturday asking its citizens to exercise increased caution in China due to "arbitrary enforcement of local laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order".

China encourages and supports normal exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries, Hua said, adding that there is no need for foreign citizens in the country to worry or fear as long as they abide by Chinese laws and regulations. China is trying to provide all conveniences for foreign citizens in China, she added.

In another development, Hua confirmed on Monday that two World Health Organization experts have arrived in China for science-based cooperation on researching the origin of the COVID-19 virus.

It is also the view of the WHO that origin-tracing is an ongoing process probably concerning many countries and localities, and the WHO will conduct similar trips to other countries and regions in light of the actual need, she said.

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