The Chinese government has expected “equivalent measures” to the sanctions imposed by the United States on four Chinese leaders for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority living predominantly in this autonomous region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has warned that Beijing also reserves the right to take action against institutions or individuals who have “wrongly” acted on Xinjiang issues. “If the United States continues to act arrogantly, China will certainly strike back,” he warned.
Among the four leaders sanctioned by Washington on Thursday, Chen Quanguo, a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo, stands out as the highest-ranking leader to date on North America’s “black list”. He is considered the architect of the detention and surveillance programs in Xinjiang.
The US Treasury has also targeted Chen’s former “number two” Zhu Hailun, as well as the current director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB), Wang Mingshan, and his predecessor Huo Liujun for the “tactics” of repressive measures that have at least ended In 2016, the XPSB attacked Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in the region, including mass arrests and surveillance. “