The Chinese government has imposed sanctions on foreign affairs critic Michael Chong and a Canadian parliamentary subcommittee that accused China of committing “genocide” against Muslim groups in its Xinjiang region.
The sanctions come after Canada joined forces with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union to impose human rights-related sanctions against senior officials in Xinjiang, where Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim groups have been the target of Chinese government campaigns that have included forced political incarceration, mass incarceration, and “labor transfer” policies to displace large numbers of people. from rural areas to factories in other parts of China.
Beijing says its policies have sought to eradicate religious extremism. China denies any human rights violations, saying it has protected stability through its actions.
However, the Canadian Subcommittee on International Human Rights unanimously concluded that China’s policy in Xinjiang amounted to genocide, in a non-binding decision last October. “Nearly two million Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims are detained, including men, women and children as young as 13,” the subcommittee said in a statement. “Witnesses have noted that this is the largest mass detention of a minority community since the Holocaust.”
The Canadian government subsequently acted against senior officials in Xinjiang in the first sanctions against China since the massacre of students and others in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Earlier this week, China imposed retaliatory sanctions on EU and UK citizens
Late on Saturday night, he also moved against Mr. Chong and the parliamentary subcommittee, saying he was acting against those who took action against China “on the basis of lies and false information.”
“The Chinese government is steadfast in its determination to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Much of the evidence for China’s campaigns against Uyghurs and others comes from reports by the Chinese government, which documented the establishment of centers for political “education” and vocational training, as well as satellite images and Globe and Mail reports. and others, who have shown the destruction of mosques in the region.
Members of the human rights subcommittee include Liberals Peter Fonseca – the subcommittee chair – as well as Iqra Khalid, Jennifer O’Connell and Anita Vandenbeld.
The Chinese government has said it will also sanction Gayle Manchin, chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as commission vice chair Tony Perkins.
Mr. Chong, a Conservative MP from Ontario, said in an interview that Beijing has imposed sanctions rather than investigating evidence of abuse.
“Instead of allowing free and independent access, they respond with sanctions,” he said. “And I think that says everything you need to know about these issues.”
“We have a responsibility to defend human rights abroad, for people who are victims of gross human rights violations,” he added. “And if that means China is sanctioning me, I wear it as a badge of honor. “
Sanctions prohibit Mr. Chong and members of the subcommittee from doing business with Chinese citizens or entering China, Hong Kong or Macau.
Mr. Chong was born in Canada, but his father was born in Hong Kong and his grandparents are buried in China.
“And I no longer have the right to visit their graves,” he said.
“Our fight is not with the Chinese people. It is with the Chinese Communist Party and its gross human rights violations in Xinjiang, and its genocide against the Uyghur people and its repression and violation of an international treaty in Hong Kong.
Foreign Minister Marc Garneau issued a statement on Saturday deploring the Chinese action.
“China’s sanctions against Canadian parliamentarians and democratic institutions are unacceptable and constitute an attack on transparency and freedom of expression,” he said.
He added that the government will work with Parliament and its allies to defend democracy and freedom of expression.
“We must stand together to remind those who violate human and democratic rights that the world is watching them,” he said.
With a report from Robert Fife in Ottawa.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by The Globe’s editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. register today.