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EU slaps sanctions on 4 Chinese officials over Uighur genocide allegations

Penalties, handed down despite threats of retaliation from Beijing, freeze Xinjiang-based officials’ assets in EU, bar them from traveling in bloc

In this Dec. 3, 2018, photo, a guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China's Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Dec. 3, 2018, photo, a guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China's Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BRUSSELS — The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of responsibility for abuses against Uighur Muslims in a raft of measures targeting alleged human rights offenders around the world, despite warnings that Beijing could retaliate.

The four are senior officials in the northwest region of Xinjiang.

The sanctions involve a freeze on their assets in the EU and a ban on them traveling in the bloc. European citizens and companies are not permitted to provide them with financial assistance.

China at first denied the existence of camps for detaining Uighurs in the northwest region of Xinjiang but has since described them as centers to provide job training and reeducate those exposed to radical jihadi thinking. Officials deny all charges of human rights abuses in the northwestern region.

In this December 3, 2018, photo, residents line up inside the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center which has previously been revealed by leaked documents to be a forced indoctrination camp at the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region. (AP/Ng Han Guan)

Xinjiang had been a hotbed of anti-government violence, but Beijing claims its massive security crackdown brought peace in recent years.

Last week, the United States accused China on Friday of committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities, and China accused the US of discrimination, hatred “and even savage murder of people of African and Asian descent.”

The clash came at the UN General Assembly’s commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and was sparked by one line in the speech by US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, who talked about being a descendent of slaves, growing up in the segregated South, and surviving racism including being called “an N-word.”

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