China on Friday announced sanctions on British individuals and entities following the U.K.’s joining the EU and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the move by the Western bloc was based on “nothing but lies and disinformation, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and severely undermines China-U.K. relations.”
Britain’s ambassador to China has been summoned for a diplomatic protest, the statement said. Sanctioned individuals and groups would be barred from visiting Chinese territory and banned from having financial transactions with Chinese citizens and institutions.
Nine British individuals and four institutions were placed on the sanctions list, including member of Parliament Iain Duncan Smith and the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission. Smith is a former leader of the Conservatives.
China’s sanctions are the latest move in an increasingly bitter row over Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of detaining more than 1 million members of Uyghur and other Muslim minority group. engaging in forced labor and imposing coercive birth control measures.
Chinese state TV called Thursday for a boycott of Swedish retail chain H&M as Beijing lashed out at foreign clothing and footwear brands following Monday’s decision by the 27-nation European Union, the United States, Britain and Canada to impose travel and financial sanctions on four Chinese officials blamed for abuses in Xinjiang.
“China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the U.K. side not go further down the wrong path. Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions,” the Foreign Ministry said.