China’s diplomatic and economic confrontation with Britain over the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region is intensifying.
China has been criticized internationally for oppressing its Muslim citizens in the region, with the government in London and organizations, lawmakers and others denouncing Beijing’s tactics.
On Monday, Britain, in cooperation with the European Union, the United States and Canada, announced sanctions against Chinese officials allegedly involved in anti-democratic acts in the Xinjiang region.
This has provoked a strong reaction from the Chinese government, which on Friday announced a series of sanctions against British interests, individuals and organizations. Among them are British MPs, members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as academics.
Britain, which because of the former Hong Kong colony (belonging to the crown until 1997 and has since returned to China) has a direct interest in what is happening in China, has repeatedly criticized Beijing’s recent actions against the Uighurs.
“This move, based on nothing more than lies and misinformation, clearly violates international law and the basic principles governing international relations, constitutes gross interference in China’s internal affairs and seriously undermines Sino-British relations,” he said in a statement. Foreign Ministry, with its language echoing the escalating tensions between Beijing and London.
The sanctions include banning entry to mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macao, not only to individuals but also to their families, while freezing their assets in China and any business dealings with the world’s most populous country. In addition, the British ambassador to China was summoned for explanations.
One of the lawmakers facing the sanctions, former Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith, reacted with a post calling China’s sanctions a “title of honor” in his face.
“It’s our duty to expose the human rights abuses in Hong Kong and the genocide of the Uyghurs. “Those of us who live freely according to the laws must speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice,” the Conservative MP said in his post.
Ankara’s complete silence over the alleged ouster of orthodox Uighurs is noted as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the Turkish capital at a time when he was supposed to defend the rights of Muslims everywhere, in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Source: Reuters, CNN