China has sanctioned GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz after the US accused Beijing of committing human rights abuses in its treatment of a Muslim group, its foreign ministry announced Monday.
Rubio of Florida and Cruz of Texas, two staunch China critics, were listed alongside Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Sam Brownback, President Trump’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in her announcement of the sanctions.
Hua said the sanctions would go into effect on Monday, though she did not go into detail about what they would entail.
All four will be banned from traveling to the Communist country.
The spokeswoman said the sanctions are in retaliation for actions taken against the Communist Party by the US as punishment for its treatment of Uighur Muslims, a minority ethnic group being forcibly detained in concentration camps in China.
Hua argued that efforts by the US and those four actors “seriously damaged China-U.S. relations.”
Rubio, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, responded on Twitter.
“The Communist Party of #China has banned me from entering the country,” he said. “I guess they don’t like me?”
In a statement, Cruz said “the Chinese Communist Party is terrified and lashing out.”
“They forced over one million Uighurs into concentration camps and engaged in ethnic cleansing, including horrific forced abortions and sterilizations.
These are egregious human rights atrocities that cannot be tolerated,” her said in the statement. “Unfortunately for CCP leaders, I don’t have plans to travel to the authoritarian regime that covered up the coronavirus pandemic and endangered millions of lives worldwide.”
The Trump administration last week slapped sanctions on three Chinese Communist Party officials.
Under the sanctions, the three are prohibited from traveling to the US.
Relations between Beijing and Washington have eroded because of the coronavirus pandemic, trade issues and China’s strict national security law that cracks down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The Uighurs have been confined in camps with no access to due process and are forced to denounce their religion and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.