Beijing fired back fiercely at the House passage of Uighur human rights bill and threatened to retaliate, reported South China Morning Post.
The House on Tuesday, Dec. 3, passed the legislation in an overwhelming 407-1 vote, calling for the Trump administration to sanction Chinese officials over human rights violations and ban exports in response to China’s persecution of its Muslim Uighur ethnic group.
China responded with swift condemnation Wednesday further straining ties after President Donald Trump last week signed separate human rights legislation on Hong Kong, according to The Associated Press.
“It is regrettable that U.S. Congress has not only turned a blind eye to Xinjiang’s efforts to combat terrorism and protect human rights in accordance with laws and regulations, but also to Xinjiang’s current economic development, social stability, national unity, and religious harmony,” said the Foreign Affairs Commission of China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying separately claimed the alleged China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang are efforts to combat “anti-terrorism and anti-separatism.”
“The core of the Xinjiang issue [in China] is not human rights, ethnic minority, or religion; instead, the core is anti-terrorism and anti-separatism,” the statement said.
Chunying further warned the United States against interfering into China’s internal affairs, saying, “We warn the US that Xinjiang is China’s internal affairs and has no room for foreign forces.”
The spokeswoman also threatened China’s response but did not specify which form it would take.
Chinese media on Tuesday reported that China was considering restricting U.S. officials and lawmakers from visiting Xinjiang and would soon release an “unreliable entity list” that would include “relevant U.S. entities.”
In late November, leaked classified documents revealed an unparalleled level of relentless suppression of Muslims and minority ethnic groups in western China—with the scale of the campaign triggering attention from numerous foreign governments.