Washington [US], May 28 (ANI): The United States condemns China's move to impose sanctions on former US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Johnnie Moore, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday (local time).
"The United States condemns the People's Republic of China's (PRC) sanctions on a former USCIRF commissioner," Blinken said in a statement, adding that "These sanctions follow the PRC's March retaliatory sanctions against two USCIRF commissioners as well as Canadian, UK, and European officials, academics, and organizations."
"Those were implemented immediately after parallel sanctions announcements from the United States, Canada, UK, and the EU in response to serious human rights abuses against members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang," the statement said.
"The United States will continue to speak out for human rights, including those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and promote accountability for the PRC government's abuses," the statement added.
Blinken's announcement came the day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the sanctions on Moore, who was responsible for the latest report on international religious freedom.
Moore, an evangelical leader and public relations businessman, had recommended through the USCIRF that the US Department of State continue to designate China a "country of particular concern", South China Morning Post reported.
Johnnie Moore, a USCIRF commissioner, and his family members will be denied entry to the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macau, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press conference on Wednesday.
The decision was "in response to the US side's blatant efforts to promote heretical religions and impose unilateral sanctions on Chinese personnel based on lies and false information", South China Morning Post quoted Zhao as saying.
The US Department of State issued the 2020 "International Religious Freedom Report" this month, including accusations against Beijing of suppressing Christians, Uygur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.
Blinken also imposed sanctions on Yu Hui, former office director of the so-called Central Leading Group Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions, of Chengdu, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights. (ANI)