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China announces tit-for-tat visa ban plan on US officials

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar31’22) – China has announced on Mar 31 that it will impose visa restrictions against US officials in a tit-for-tat move against a similar measure announced by the US State Department on Mar 21 against Chinese officials involved in “repressive acts” against ethnic and religious minority groups.

The US move was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and did not name those who would be affected.

The Chinese announcement, named by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, was in a similar vein, although targeting those holding it responsible for severe rights violations and accusing them of smearing China’s image.

China has to punish those who have “concocted lies on China-related human rights issues, promoted the introduction of sanctions against China and harmed Chinese interests,” the scmp.com Mar 31 quoted Wang as saying.

In his tweet, made a day after his Mar 21 announcement, Blinken had said, “Perpetrators of human rights abuses must continue to face consequences. The United States has taken action to impose visa restrictions on PRC officials for attempting to intimidate, harass, and repress dissidents and human rights defenders inside and outside of China.”

And in his media briefing in Beijing, Wang has claimed: “The US has fabricated vile lies under the pretext of the so-called human rights issue, and used it as an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs, smear China’s image, and suppress Chinese officials. These actions have no moral bottom line and seriously violate international law and basic norms of international relations. China firmly opposes this.”

In the case of Xinjiang, both the Trump administration and President Joe Biden’s White House have used the term “genocide” to describe China’s actions, imposing sweeping sanctions along with Europe and other allies. China retaliated in kind, including banning four members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom from visiting China.

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