Mar 25, 2021 - World

China retaliates after sanctions by U.K. over Xinjiang abuses

The Union Jack being hoisted next to the flag of the People's Republic of China.

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

China sanctioned individuals and entities in the United Kingdom on Thursday, claiming they "maliciously spread lies and disinformation" on Chinese government human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

Why it matters: The sanctions come after the U.S., U.K., European Union and Canada this week coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

  • The U.S. State Department and several legislative bodies have recognized the abuses against Uyghur Muslims as genocide.

Details: Those sanctioned include five current or former members of parliament, two members of the House of Lords, an academic, a barrister and several entities including the China Research Group, Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, Uyghur Tribunal, and Essex Court Chambers, a law firm.

What they're saying: "China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the UK side not go further down the wrong path," the Chinese foreign ministry said.

  • "Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions."

U.K. officials did not immediately comment on the sanctions, but said in a statement earlier this week, "the international community is united in its condemnation of China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and the need for Beijing to end its discriminatory and oppressive practices in the region."

The big picture: China also retaliated against the EU on Monday, sanctioning 10 Europeans, according to Reuters.

Go deeper: UN report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

Go deeper