China on Thursday said it would impose visa restrictions on U.S. officials in retaliation for the U.S. restriction of visas for Chinese officials.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the restriction on Chinese officials who he said had been involved in “repressive acts” against ethnic and religious minorities.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, did not say who the U.S. officials were, but said they had lied about China’s human rights record.
“The United States uses the pretext of so-called human rights issues to concoct malicious lies and uses them as excuses to interfere in China’s internal affairs, smear China’s image and suppress Chinese officials,” said Wang. “These actions have no moral bottom line and seriously violate international law and the basic norms of international relations. China firmly opposes this.
“In order to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese officials … China has decided to impose reciprocal visa restrictions on U.S. officials who concocted lies on human rights issues involving China, advocated sanctions on China and harmed China’s interests.”
Earlier this month, Wang demanded the U.S. lift its restrictions on Chinese officials or face “countermeasures.”
The U.S. and other Western countries have accused Beijing of conducting genocide against the Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s western Xinjang province. Beijing has denied the accusation.
Blinken last week accused China of attempting to “harass, intimidate, surveil and abduct members of ethnic and religious minority groups, including those who seek safety abroad, and U.S. citizens who speak out on behalf of these vulnerable populations.”
Some information for this report came from Reuters.