China sanctions champions for International Religious Freedom
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that two commissioners from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have been sanctioned by China for criticising its treatment of religious minorities.
The sanctions target Chairwoman Gayle Manchin and Commissioner Tony Perkins, restricting them from travelling to or doing business in China. The move comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and China over China’s inhumane treatment of Uyghur Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities.
The United States has condemned the sanctions as baseless. In a statement regarding the new sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Beijing’s attempts to intimidate and silence those speaking out for human rights and fundamental freedoms only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”
In addition, China moved to sanction Michael Chong, a member of the Canadian Parliament who serves as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons. Chong has been a vocal critic of China’s many religious freedom violations and has, along with Manchin and Perkins, called attention to the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The United States and its partners in Canada, the European Union, and Great Britain sanctioned several senior Chinese officials early last week, prompting a flurry of responses from China, which denies all allegations of human rights violations despite mounting proof to the contrary. Among those targeted in last week’s coordinated sanctions were Wang Junzheng and Chen Mingguo, both senior party officials in the Xinjiang region.