The move is a retaliation to a coordinated set of sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada against Beijing over what the countries call human rights violations against the Uighurs.

Security cameras are installed above the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China on Sept. 4, 2018.
Security cameras are installed above the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China on Sept. 4, 2018. (Reuters)

China has sanctioned organisations and individuals in the United Kingdom over "lies and disinformation" about Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, days after Britain imposed sanctions for what it called human rights abuses in the western Chinese region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement it sanctioned four entities and nine individuals, including lawmakers such as former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith and the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, that "maliciously spread lies and disinformation."

Targeted individuals and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering Chinese territory, the ministry said, adding that Chinese citizens and institutions will be prohibited from doing business with them.

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Retaliation move 

The move is a retaliation to a coordinated set of sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada against Beijing over what the countries call human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. Beijing already applied retaliatory sanctions against the EU that were in line with Friday's announcement.

"China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the UK side not to go further down the wrong path," the Chinese ministry said. "Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions."

Activists and UN rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations. China has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

"It seems I am to be sanctioned by the PRC (Chinese) government for speaking the truth about the #Uyghur tragedy in #Xinjiang, and for having a conscience," Jo Smith Finley, a Uighur expert at Newcastle University, said on Twitter.

"Well, so be it. I have no regrets for speaking out, and I will not be silenced." 

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Source: Reuters