BEIJING (AP) — China has fined two U.S. citizens in retaliation for action taken by Washington over human rights abuses in Tibet, the government said Friday, amid a continuing standoff between sides over confidential treatment from Beijing to religious and ethnic minorities.
The foreign ministry said in a statement that Todd Stein and Miles Yu Maochun, along with their immediate family members, would be barred from entering China.
Any assets they had in China would be frozen and they would be barred from contacting people or organizations inside China.
The notice said the measures were in response to US sanctions sanctioning two Chinese nationals “under the guise of the ‘human rights in Tibet’ issue”.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said China was responding to what it considers a violation of “fundamental norms of international relations” and that Stein and Yu “have performed admirably on Tibet and other issues related to China”.
“We would like to emphasize once again that Tibetan affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, and the United States has no right to interfere in it, and serious interference in China’s internal affairs will be met with strong countermeasures by China “Mao said. journalists at a daily briefing.
“We urge the United States to lift the so-called sanctions and stop interfering in Tibetan affairs and China’s internal affairs,” the spokesman said.
Neither Stein nor Yu were immediately contacted for comment.
On December 9, the United States imposed sanctions on Wu Yingjie, a senior official in Tibet from 2016 to 2021, and Zhang Hongbo, the region’s police chief since 2018.
“Our actions also aim to disrupt and deter the arbitrary detention and physical abuse by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) of members of religious minority groups in the Tibetan Autonomous Region,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. announce sanctions.
An accompanying Treasury Department notice said Wu had been responsible for “stability policies” in Tibet whose implementation resulted in “serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, physical abuse, arbitrary arrests and mass detentions.”
He said that during Zhang’s tenure, the police were engaged in gross human rights abuses, including “torture, physical abuse and killings of prisoners, including those arrested for religious and political reasons.”
The Chinese announcement did not provide specific allegations against Stein and Yu.
Stein has served as deputy director of staff at the Congressional Executive Commission on China since 2021 and previously served as senior advisor to Under Secretary of State for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, including as chief of staff for Tibetan issues. Previously, you served as director of government relations at the International Campaign for Tibet monitoring group.
Chinese-born Yu is a senior academic who taught at the US Naval Academy and a well-known critic of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s regime. He served as a key adviser on China under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
China has in recent years passed legislation imposing tit-for-tat sanctions against foreign individuals from the US, EU and other countries for perceived offenses against its national interests. Washington and others have compiled a long list of Chinese officials who have been prevented from visiting or transacting with their financial institutions, from the leader of the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong to local officials accused of human rights violations.
China says Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, though supporters of the exiled Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama say it was functionally independent for most of that time.
Communist forces invaded in 1950, and China has ruled the Himalayan region with an iron fist ever since, imposing ever-tighter surveillance and travel restrictions since the last uprising against Beijing’s rule in 2008. Long prison terms under conditions terrible are levied for acts of defiance, including defending the region’s unique language and Buddhist culture from attempts at assimilation.
China has also been accused of detaining hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in re-education camps as part of a campaign to erase their native language and culture, including through forced adoptions and sterilizations. China denies those allegations, saying it has only been fighting terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.