China has imposed sanctions on a U.S. research firm and two individuals over their reports on human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The Los Angeles-based research and data analytics firm Kharon, its director of investigations, Edmund Xu, and Nicole Morgret, a human rights analyst, have been banned from traveling to China, and any assets or property they have in China will be frozen. Additionally, organizations and individuals in China are prohibited from making transactions or cooperating with them.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing’s states that these sanctions are a “countermeasure” to their work monitoring Xinjiang´s region, where the U.S. government, Western media, and independent researchers have documented human rights abuses against ethnic minorities, including primarily Muslim Uyghurs. It was also declared that the sanctions were retaliation for a yearly U.S. government report on human rights in Xinjiang, as well as for the imposed visa bans and other sanctions on Chinese officials and companies. China has warned that it will respond in kind if the U.S. does not change its course.

The sanctions are part of the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China over human rights issues, following the past argumentative lines in which the U.S. and other Western countries have accused China of committing genocide against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, a charge that China vehemently denies. The situation in Xinjiang has been a major point of contention in the U.S.-China relationship, and both countries have been imposing sanctions on each other over various issues. The sanctions on the U.S. research firm and individuals are the latest development in this ongoing conflict.



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