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12/22/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – The Peoples Republic of China has announced retaliatory sanctions on four of the U.S. Religious Freedom Commission’s leadership, including Chairwoman Nadine Maenza and Vice Chair Nury Turkel. The four individuals sanctioned have been banned from entering China and any of their assets held in China, Hong Kong, or Macau have been frozen.

China’s decision to sanction these individuals comes in response to multiple U.S. actions taken to penalize China for their ongoing assault on the ethnic Uyghur population in Xinjiang. The United States added more sanctions on Chinese officials, as well as an investment ban on a significant Chinese developer of facial recognition software. The U.S. has alleged that those sanctioned are directly involved in China’s ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including the mass internment and alleged genocide of its Uyghur Muslim population.

These back-and-forth sanctions is only one frontier of the U.S.’ dispute with China, as the U.S. Congress has recently approved a bill which would see all goods from China’s Xinjiang province banned from being imported to the U.S. This bill is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.

China has continued to avoid any admission of wrongdoing in Xinjiang, making its attempt to retaliate against members of the U.S. government predictable. This sort of behavior should be expected as the international community continues to become more aware of how vast China’s ethnic and religious persecution has become under President Xi’s leadership.