China imposes new sanctions on British entities for ‘lies and disinformation’ about Xinjiang

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a press conference in Beijing, China, on January 21, 2021.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters

BEIJING – China on Friday imposed sanctions on British entities, saying that the British sanctions against Chinese individuals for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang were based on “lies and disinformation”.

The State Department has imposed sanctions on four UK entities and nine individuals forbidden to do business with China. Their assets in the country will also be frozen, the ministry said.

That is a step further than previous Chinese sanctions against foreign entities. This week’s sanctions against European Union entities and against US politicians in January focused on banning travel to China and doing business.

The new sanctions against the UK primarily target individuals involved in human rights, particularly those of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is home to the Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority identified as an oppressed group by the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, and others.

The US, EU, UK and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials on Monday, the first coordinated action by Western countries since US President Joe Biden took office. The countries cited human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region – allegations Beijing has repeatedly denied.

On Thursday, Swedish clothing retailer H&M disappeared from major online shopping sites in China after backlash to Chinese social media over the brand’s previous comments about alleged forced labor in Xinjiang. A similar statement from Nike prompted two Chinese celebrities to cut ties with the American sportswear brand.