Beijing threatens reciprocal sanctions after US unveils visa curbs on Chinese officials

Beijing [China], March 23 (ANI): China has threatened the United States with retaliatory sanctions after Washington announced visa restrictions on officials over human rights violations in the country.

The United States has imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials for their role in the repression of ethnic and religious minority groups inside and outside China. At a press conference on Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused the US of "ideological bias". He said, "The US is in no position to pass judgement."

"The US statement, full of ideological bias and political lies, maligns and smears China and wantonly imposes restrictions on Chinese officials. It contravenes international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs. We firmly reject it," he said.

Wang urged the US to "earnestly reflect upon and rectify its violations". "In the meantime, it should view China's human rights situation in an objective and just manner, stop denigrating and suppressing the Chinese side and immediately revoke its so-called sanctions against Chinese officials. Otherwise, the Chinese side shall take reciprocal countermeasures in response," the Chinese spokesperson added.

On Tuesday, the State Department had said that it is barring those Chinese officials from travelling to the US due to their involvement in crackdowns on freedom of speech and religion in China and abroad.

"The visa restrictions have been imposed on Chinese officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, policies or actions aimed at repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labour organizers, civil society organizers, and peaceful protestors in China and beyond, including within the US," the State Department said in a press statement.

While committing to defending human rights around the world, the US said it rejects efforts by Chinese officials to harass, intimidate, resort to surveillance, and abduct members of ethnic and religious minority groups.

Further, the US called on the Chinese government to cease its acts of repression, including attempting to silence Uyghur American activists and other Uyghur individuals serving the American people.

They also asked the Chinese government to end its crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, repressive policies in Tibet, crackdown on fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, and other human rights violations.