London, MINA – British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab responded to China’s sanctions against nine British men, which came after Britain announced sanctions against Chinese officials along with several of its allies last week.
“Britain joins the international community in sanctioning those responsible for human rights violations, the Chinese government sanctions its critics,” Raab said in a statement as quoted from Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
“If Beijing is to credibly refute claims of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, it must give full access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify the truth,” he added.
“We condemn China’s efforts to silence those who highlight human rights abuses, at home and abroad, including British lawmakers and colleagues,” Raab said in a separate statement on Twitter.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also commented on the development.
“MPs and other British citizens who have been sanctioned by China today are playing an important role in highlighting the gross human rights violations committed against Uyghur Muslims,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“Freedom to speak out against harassment is fundamental and I stand firm with them,” he added.
Those targeted, including members of parliament, were Tom Tugendhat, Duncan Smith, Neil O’Brien, David Alton, Tim Loughton, Nusrat Ghani, Helena Kennedy, Geoffrey Nice, and Joanne Nicola Smith Finley.
Beijing has also imposed sanctions on the China Research Group, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, the Uighur Court and the Essex Court Chamber.
Earlier this week, Britain had imposed sanctions, along with the US, Canada and the European Union (EU), on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur ethnic group, who are mostly Muslim, in Xinjiang.
Beijing also summoned the British ambassador to China to protest against the sanctions.
China has repeatedly denied accusations that it operates detention camps in the northwestern Xinjiang region, home to the Uighur community, and claims instead that it is “re-educating” Uighurs. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)