China Announces Sanctions Against US Lawmakers Over Uighur Issue

FILE – Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in March 2019.

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying announced sanctions Monday against Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Republican Representative Chris Smith.

Hua also said sanctions have been imposed against Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, and the Congressional-Executive Committee on China, a joint congressional-White House panel created to “monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law” in China.  Rubio is the Republican co-chair of the panel, and Smith is the ranking member and a former co-chair of the committee.

The “corresponding sanctions” were announced days after the Trump administration imposed financial sanctions against several high-ranking Chinese officials, including Chen Quanguo, the Chinese Communist Party chief in Xinjiang.

President Donald Trump signed legislation last month that allowed for sanctions to be imposed over the mass incarceration of as many as 1 million ethnic Uighur Muslims and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.

Ties between the world’s biggest economies have deteriorated in recent months over a host of issues, including trade and human rights concerns involving Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Xinjiang.