Gayle Manchin, president of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said she was “deeply honored” to be the target of sanctions by the Chinese government.
On March 22, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada imposed sanctions on several Chinese Communist Party officials and a Chinese entity involved in the persecution of human rights of Uighurs in Xinjiang. On Saturday (March 27), the Chinese Communist Party imposed retaliatory sanctions on three individuals and one institution in the United States and Canada.
The sanctioned individuals and institutions are Gayle Manchin, president of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); Tony Perkins, vice president of USCIRF; Michael Chong, a Canadian Member of Parliament; and the International Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Human Rights Committee of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
In a statement sent to Reuters late Saturday, Manchin said, “I am deeply honored to be recognized by Communist China for pointing out its genocide against religious and ethnic minorities.”
Manchin said she has no plans to travel to China this summer and will not stop speaking out when egregious violations of religious freedom occur.
USCIRF recommended last year that the U.S. government and its partners sanction the Chinese Communist Party for violations in Xinjiang.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday condemned the Communist Party’s sanctions move. “Beijing‘s attempts to intimidate and silence those who speak out for human rights and fundamental freedoms will only exacerbate international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang,” Blinken said.
In an interview broadcast on CNN Sunday, Blinken said he believes the U.S.-China relationship is “increasingly confrontational.”
Canadian lawmaker Wen Ho Chong, who was also sanctioned, tweeted, “We have a responsibility to condemn China’s (CCP) crackdown on Hong Kong (#HongKong) and its genocide of the Uyghurs.”
“Under the rule of law, living freely in a democracy, we must speak out for the silenced.” He said.
In response to the Chinese Communist Party sanctions, Chuang wrote: “If this means that China [the Chinese Communist Party] sanctions me, I will wear it as a badge of honor.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a CBC interview Sunday that the UN is in “serious talks” with China to gain unrestricted access to the Xinjiang region to verify reports of persecution.
However, rights activists are skeptical about the prospect of unrestricted access to the Xinjiang region.