China Sanctions Catholic Human Rights Campaigner Who Highlighted Xinjiang Abuses


The Chinese government sanctioned a Catholic human rights campaigner Friday who has highlighted the CCP’s abuses in Xinjiang.

British leading human rights activist David Alton and eight other United Kingdom citizens were sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Friday, banning them from entering China, Macau, and Hong Kong, the Catholic News Agency reported. Chinese citizens are also forbidden to do business with the sanctioned individuals, according to the publication.

“These sanctions demonstrate the stark contrast between a country in which parliamentarians are free to speak about genocide and gross violations of human rights, and a country which perpetrates such crimes with impunity and seeks to silence anyone who dares to speak out,” Alton wrote in a post on his website Friday. “We who are free will go on speaking on behalf of those who are not.”

Alton is a member of the upper house of the U.K. parliament, the House of Lords, according to the Catholic News Agency. He said Friday that China’s sanction came after the U.K. government introduced sanctions Monday against four senior Chinese officials for China’s mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims.

“The imposition of tit-for-tat sanctions is a crude attempt to silence criticism,” 70-year-old Alton wrote. “But the CCP needs to learn that you can’t silence the whole world and that the first duty of a parliamentarian is to use their voice on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced.”

An Associated Press investigation published in June found that the Chinese government seeks to lower the birthrates of Uighurs and other minorities.

Chinese parents with multiple children are often sent to detention camps or subjected to huge fines and police raid homes searching for hidden children, according to the AP.

The AP also found that minority women are regularly required to go through pregnancy checks, forced to use intrauterine devices, forced into abortions and sterilization. In Xinjiang, the use of IUDs and sterilization has sharply risen though use of these measures have fallen nationwide, the AP reported.

China has denied these human rights abuses.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China tweeted in April that “There’s absolutely no ‘religious prisoners’ or ‘detention of a million Muslims from Xinjiang’ in China. We urge the US to stop making political maneuvers & slanders.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised Friday that he stands “firmly” with those sanctioned by China.

“The MPs and other British citizens sanctioned by China today are performing a vital role shining a light on the gross human rights violations being perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims,” Johnson tweeted Friday. “Freedom to speak out in opposition to abuse is fundamental and I stand firmly with them.”

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