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China sanctions Conservative member of Parliament Michael Chong, federal subcommittee

Conservative MP Michael Chong rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Friday October 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

China has imposed sanctions against a Canadian politician and a federal subcommittee in response to sanctions levied by Canada on Chinese officials for abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said Saturday in a news release it has banned Conservative MP Michael Chong from entering the country and prohibited any Chinese citizen from doing business with him.

China said it has also imposed sanctions against a Parliamentary subcommittee on international human rights.

“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the relevant parties to clearly understand the situation and redress their mistakes,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“They must stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will get their fingers burnt.”

Chong, the Tories’ foreign affairs critic, said today on Twitter he has a duty to call out China’s “genocide” of Uyghur Muslims and that he will wear the sanctions as a badge of honour.

Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director of Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, says while the Chinese sanctions were expected, it is up to Canada to continue applying pressure on China.

“That is what we have been advocating for. Especially since the abduction of the ‘two Michaels’, (Canada’s) approach has been try to be nice with China and one day China will get impressed from our good behaviour and release the ‘two Michaels.’ Clearly that hasn’t worked and so we have to uphold our values and we have to stand on our principles to put more pressure on China …and change the behaviour of the Chinese government. ”

The sanctions come after Canada joined other countries on Monday in imposing sanctions against four Chinese officials and a Chinese entity over human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region.

Global Affairs Canada said mounting evidence points to state-led abuses by Chinese authorities against more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. The department said the abuses include “political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilization.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the sanctions were imposed on China over “the gross and systematic human rights abuses taking place in the region.”

China also said Saturday it imposed sanctions against the chair and vice chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms.