China Announces Sanctions Against Canadian Parliamentarians and US Officials in Retaliation Over Xinjiang Sanctions

March 27, 2021 Updated: March 27, 2021

China has announced sanctions against a Canadian parliamentarian, a Canadian parliamentary subcommittee, and U.S. officials in response to sanctions announced by Canada and the United States against individuals and entities involved in rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

China’s sanctions target Canadian MP Michael Chong, the Conservative Party’s foreign affairs critic; Gayle Manchin, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); Tony Perkins, vice chair of USCIRF; and Canada’s parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights.

In a tweet, Chong said if China’s sanctions are in response to his criticism of China’s rights abuses, he’ll “wear it as a badge of honour.”

“We’ve got a duty to call out China for its crackdown in #HongKong & its genocide of #Uyghurs. We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless,” he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that China’s sanctions “are an attack on transparency and freedom of expression.”

“We stand with Parliamentarians against these unacceptable actions, and we will continue to defend human rights around the world with our international partners,” Trudeau said.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau also condemned China’s sanctions against Canadian parliamentarians.

“The Government of Canada stands with parliamentarians and all Canadians as we continue to work with partners in defence of democracy and freedom of speech and will continue to take action when international human rights obligations are violated,” Garneau said in a statement.

China’s sanctions prohibit the targeted individuals from entering China, Hong Kong, and Macau, and doing business with Chinese individuals and entities.

Earlier on March 26, China announced sanctions against British individuals and entities in retaliation for UK sanctions related to rights abuses in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims. China’s foreign ministry also said that it had summoned the UK’s ambassador to China to “lodge solemn representations, expressing firm opposition and strong condemnation.”

On March 22, Canada announced sanctions on four officials and one entity in China for their role in persecuting Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Canada’s sanctions were done in co-ordination with the United States and the UK, which imposed their own sanctions, and in solidarity with the European Union, which had imposed sanctions earlier.

Epoch Times Photo
Conservative MP Michael Chong rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 10, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Last month, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to declare the Chinese regime’s persecution against Uyghurs a genocide. Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the vote.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole spoke out against China’s sanctions and defended Chong and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights for calling out Beijing’s rights abuses.

“The Canadian MPs sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party have used the freedom we enjoy as Canadians to call the world’s attention to the genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. I am proud of the work by MPs of all parties,” O’Toole said in a tweet.

“[Conservative MPs] Michael Chong and Kenny Chiu also show how Canadians with Chinese ancestry can stand as resolute critics of the repressive acts of the Communist Party while being proud of the rich Chinese history and culture.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the U.S. State Department and USCIRF for comments but didn’t hear back in time for publication.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to add statements from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau.

Follow Omid on Twitter: @OGhoreishi