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Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China said Monday that it will ban entry to Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over their criticisms of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, AP reports.

The big picture: The move seems to be retaliatory after the U.S. announced sanctions on four Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region last week.

  • Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and the Trump administration's ambassador for international religious freedom Sam Brownback were also targeted. There was no indication any of the four planned to travel to China.

What they're saying: "Xinjiang affairs are China’s internal affairs and the U.S. has no right to interfere in them," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, per the Washington Post.

  • "We urge the United States to immediately withdraw its wrong decision."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The U.S.-China climate rupture

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Well that, as Ron Burgundy would say, escalated quickly. China's foreign ministry is accusing the Trump administration of "major retrogression" on climate and being an environmental "troublemaker."

Why it matters: China's unusual statement Monday widens the rupture between the world's largest carbon emitters as global climate efforts are flagging and the pandemic's effect on emissions is too small to be consequential in the long term.

Oct 20, 2020 - World

Right-wing media falsely ties Black Lives Matter movement to Beijing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Right-wing outlets and commentators have recently spread a false claim linking the Chinese Communist Party to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Why it matters: Such claims raise concerns that a real issue — that of Chinese government interference in U.S. politics — could be wrongly invoked along partisan lines to attack Americans engaging in legitimate activities.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

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