China hits back at EU with sanctions on 10 people, four entities over Xinjiang

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Monday blacklisted 10 EU individuals and four entities in response to Brussels’ sanctions against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said members of the European Parliament Reinhard Butikofer, Michael Gahler, Raphael Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann were among those who “severely harm China’s sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation.”

The EU had earlier accused Chinese officials of mass detentions of Muslim Uighurs and human rights abuses in Xinjiang and imposed its first sanctions against Beijing since an arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The other individuals sanctioned by China were Dutch politician Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma, Belgian parliamentarian Samuel Cogolati, Lithuanian member of parliament Dovile Sakaliene and two scholars - Adrian Zenz of Germany and Bjorn Jerden of Sweden.

“The individuals concerned and their families are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.”

The entities sanctioned are the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union; the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament; the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Denmark.

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Toby Chopra