On Monday, the United States, the U.K. and Canada, along with the European Union, all announced sanctions against China in a show of unity and strength as the communist nation continues to violate human rights through their targeted genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the northwest Xinjiang province.
The Chinese government is currently holding millions of Uyghurs, a small Muslim turkic ethnic group originating in Asia, in what are basically modern day concentration camps in which prisoners are subjected to forced manual labor, physical torture, rampant sex abuse and even forced sterilization.
According to Axios:
All three sets of sanctions announced on Monday target officials associated with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) and Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).
The XPCC is a paramilitary organization that controls vast swaths of the economy in Xinjiang. The Trump administration last summer sanctioned both the XPCC and XPSB, which has contracted with numerous major Chinese companies to build mass detention camps and surveillance systems.
This is the first time the EU has leveled sanctions against China for human rights abuses since 1989 following the Tiananmen Square Massacre, according to Reuters.
The U.K. government released a statement on the sanctions, citing international unity against China’s crimes.
"Acting together sends the clearest possible signal that the international community is united in its condemnation of China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and the need for Beijing to end its discriminatory and oppressive practices in the region," the statement read.
In response to the sanctions, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying, "The European Union (EU) imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity on March 22, citing the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. This move, based on nothing but lies and disinformation, disregards and distorts facts, grossly interferes in China's internal affairs, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely undermines China-EU relations."
The statement also served as an announcement that China is sanctioning "ten individuals and four entities on the EU side."
The sanctions against China follow a China-U.S. summit in Alaska last week that saw a tense exchange between U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, who asserted that U.S. officials were unqualified to speak out against China's human rights abuses due to racial tensions in their own country, even citing the Black Lives Matter movement as his proof.
The U.S. State Department formerly recognized China's human rights abuses as a genocide on January 21, but President Biden declined to do the same in February during a presidential town hall event. Biden has still yet to condemn China’s actions as a genocide.