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United States condemns China's sanctions in dispute over Uighurs

The United States on Saturday condemned China's sanctions against two American religious-rights officials and a Canadian lawmaker in a dispute over Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims and other minorities.

China's moves "only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. We stand in solidarity with Canada, the UK, the EU, and other partners and allies around the world in calling on the (China) to end the human rights violations and abuses," U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

Beijing's sanctions followed those imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada earlier this week for what they say are violations of the rights of Uighur Muslims and other Turkic minorities in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

Activists and U.N. rights experts say at least a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations.

China has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

Blinken's statement came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced Beijing and vowed to defend human rights.

China sanctioned Canadian opposition lawmaker Michael Chong, vice-chair of parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and its Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which this month presented a report concluding that atrocities in Xinjiang constitute crimes against humanity and genocide.

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