Blinken condemns China’s “unjustified” sanctions against US officials, and fights for the Uyghurs

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Saturday that the reciprocal sanctions imposed by China on two Americans in the growing dispute over Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs are unfounded and will only lead to further investigations into “genocide” in Xinjiang.

“Beijing’s attempts to intimidate and silence those who speak about human rights and fundamental freedoms only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Blinken said in a statement.

The foreign minister spoke after China announced sanctions against two Americans, a Canadian and the Human Rights Commission, in response to sanctions imposed by the two North American countries this week over Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur minority.

Blinken described the sanctions imposed on the two members of the US Committee for International Religious Freedom as “baseless.”

At least 1 million Uyghurs and members of other groups, most of them Muslims, have been detained in camps in China’s Xinjiang region, according to human rights organizations accusing authorities of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labor.

The European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States imposed sanctions on different members of the political and economic hierarchy in Xinjiang in coordinated action on the allegations, which resulted in Beijing’s retaliation in the form of sanctions against individuals from the European Union and Britain.

“We stand in solidarity with Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, partners and other allies around the world in calling on the People’s Republic of China to end human rights violations and abuses against Muslim Uyghurs and members of other groups. Ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang and the release of arbitrary detainees.”

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