“I feel flattered to be recognized by Communist China for exposing genocidal crimes against the country’s religious and ethnic minorities,” Gayle Manchin told Reuters in a statement.
“Although I have no plans to visit China this summer, I will not stop speaking when gross violations of religious freedom occur like in China,” she added.
China issued the sanctions against Gayle Manchin, USCIRF Vice President Tony Perkins and several other US and Canadian officials on Saturday in retaliation for sanctions against Beijing of the United States, European Union, Great Britain and Canada last week.
“The Chinese government is firmly committed to safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the parties concerned to clearly understand the situation and correct their mistakes,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, according to Reuters. .
Gayle Manchin, along with other sanctioned officials, cannot enter mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, and cannot do business with Chinese citizens and companies.
Sanctions coordinated by the United States against two Chinese government officials cited “serious human rights violations” against the Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang province.
Activists and United Nations officials said at least 1 million Muslims have been placed in camps in the province. The United States and several other countries have called China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims genocide.
China has argued that the abuse allegations are false, noting that the camps are for vocational training and designed to counter extremism.
The sanctions came after USCIRF approved the US government to sanction China for its treatment of residents of Xinjiang, according to Reuters.