US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned Saturday that China’s sanctions against two Americans who have condemned Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs are “unfounded”. In his view, this only puts “the Xinjiang genocide” in the spotlight.
“Beijing’s attempts to intimidate and silence those who speak out about human rights and fundamental freedoms only add to the growing international criticism of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Blinken said in a statement.
China announced sanctions against two Americans, a Canadian and a human rights organization, in response to sanctions imposed by North American countries this week for China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority. Blinken described the sanctions imposed on the two members of the US Committee for International Religious Freedom as “baseless.”
Human rights groups say that at least 1 million Uyghurs and people from other groups, most of them Muslims, are being held in camps in China’s Xinjiang region. They accuse the authorities of forcibly sterilizing women and using forced labor.
The European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States imposed sanctions on top political and economic officials in Xinjiang. Then came China with sanctions against individuals from the European Union and Great Britain.
“We stand in solidarity with Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other partners and allies around the world and call on China to end violations of human rights and the rights of Muslim-majority Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups and religious minorities in Xinjiang. And the release of arbitrary detainees,” Blinken said.
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