China said Monday it will ban three U.S. lawmakers and one ambassador from entering the country over their criticism of the ruling Communist Party’s policies toward minority groups and people of faith. The ban comes one week after U.S. officials announced sanctions on four Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
“Xinjiang affairs are China’s internal affairs and the U.S. has no right to interfere in them,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, per the Washington Post.
“We urge the United States to immediately withdraw its wrong decision.”
Hua did not spell out the sanctions against Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Rep. Chris Smith (R., NJ) and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, but said they would correspond to the American ones. China also targeted the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
There was no indication any of the four planned to travel to China.
The sanctioned Chinese officials include Chen Quanguo, the party secretary of the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where more than 1 million members of Muslim minority groups have been incarcerated in “de-radicialization and retraining centers,” the Associated Press reported.
The other sanctioned Chinese officials were Zhu Hailun, party secretary of the Xinjiang political and legal committee; Wang Mingshan, party secretary of the Xinjiang public security bureau; and Huo Liujun, a former top official in the region’s police force. They and their immediate family members are banned from entering the United States.
Further visa restrictions are being placed on other Community Party officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs and members of other minority groups, the AP reported.