BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union (EU) on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of using violence against Uyghur Muslims to target alleged human rights abusers around the world, though Beijing may retaliate.
The four are high-ranking officials from the northwestern Xinjiang region.
The sanctions include freezing their assets in the EU and banning them from traveling to the bloc. European citizens and companies are not allowed to provide financial assistance to them.
China initially denied the existence of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, but later described them as training centers for rehabilitating radical jihadists. Officials deny all allegations of human rights abuses there.
Xinjiang has been a hotbed of anti-government violence, but Beijing insists its massive security crackdown in recent years has brought peace.
Last week, Chinese Ambassador to the EU Hang Ang Ming suggested that Beijing retaliate.
“We want dialogue, not confrontation. We ask the EU side to think twice. “If some people insist on confrontation, we will not back down, because we have no choice but to fulfill our responsibilities to the people of our people,” he said.
The new EU sanctions system is similar to the Magnitsky Act, Obama-era legislation that authorizes the US government to punish those it deems human rights activists, freeze their assets, or ban them from entering the United States.
EU foreign ministers on Monday imposed sanctions on North Korea, including “extrajudicial killings in Libya, enforced disappearances, torture of LGBTI people in Chechnya”, “torture”, “torture”, “torture” and “extrajudicial killings”. “In Eritrea,” the statement said.