China sanctions U.S., Canadian officials over Xinjiang

China has strongly denied allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, calling for boycotts and other penalties against foreign companies such as retailers H&M and Nike, as well as sanctions against foreign government officials and activists who it claims spread false information about its policies towards Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

“You have to stop political manipulation on Xinjiang issues, stop interfering in any way with China’s internal affairs, and stop going down the wrong path.” Otherwise, they will burn their fingers, “the State Department said in a statement.

China announced sanctions against British officials on Friday, and H&M products have been removed from Chinese websites for speaking out against buying cotton from Xinjiang. The ruling Communist Party’s youth league launched attacks on H&M on Wednesday after the European Union partnered with the US, UK and Canada to impose sanctions on Chinese officials found responsible for ill-treatment in Xinjiang.

According to foreign governments and researchers, more than 1 million members of the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been held in detention centers in Xinjiang. The authorities there are accused of having imposed forced labor and coercive birth control measures.

The Chinese government rejects complaints of abuse, saying the camps are intended for vocational training to support economic development and fight Islamic radicalism.

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