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UK hits back as China imposes sanctions on lawmakers

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Boris Johnson, Brexit
UK PM Boris Johnson PHOTO: EPA

Britain on Friday accused China of attempting to “silence those highlighting human rights abuses” after Beijing sanctioned British lawmakers leading calls for action over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

“We condemn China’s attempt to silence those highlighting human rights abuses, at home and abroad, including UK MPs and peers,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet.

“While the UK joins the international community to sanction human rights abuses, Chinese govt sanctions its critics,” he added.

China earlier Friday announced sanctions against nine UK individuals and four entities, saying they had “maliciously spread lies and disinformation” over Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs.

Raab called on Beijing to give the United Nations access to the region of Xinjiang if they “want to credibly rebut claims of human rights abuses”.

Those sanctioned include Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservative party, four groups which have been vocal in driving rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong onto Westminster’s agenda, and a law firm which has taken up Uyghur rights causes.

Duncan Smith said it was “our duty to call out the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and their genocide of the Uyghur people.

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“Those of us who live free lives under the rule of law must speak for those who have no voice. If that brings the anger of China down upon me then I shall wear that as a badge of honour.”

The EU, UK, Canada and US sanctioned several members of Xinjiang’s political and economic hierarchy this week in a coordinated action over allegations of widespread abuse in the northwestern region.

At least one million Uyghurs and people from other mostly Muslim groups have been held in camps there, according to rights groups, who accuse authorities of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.

Tory MPs Nusrat Ghani, Tim Loughton, Tom Tugendhat, and Neil O’Brien, and peers Helena Kennedy and David Alton are also on the list announced by China on Friday.

Ghani told BBC radio that she “won’t be intimidated”.

“This is a wake-up call for all democratic countries and lawmakers that we will not be able to conduct our day-to-day business without China sanctioning us for just attempting to expose what’s happening in Xinjiang and the abuse against the Uyghurs.”

“This has now made me even more determined to speak out about the Uyghurs.”

[AFP]

Vanguard News Nigeria

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