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China sanctions 2 US citizens amid Tibet spat

Beijing is freezing the assets of two Americans involved in Washington's policies regarding Tibet

Deutsche Welle Published 23.12.22, 02:45 PM
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed off on the sanctions

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed off on the sanctions Deutsche Welle

China sanctioned two Americans on Friday in retaliation against the US penalizing two Chinese officials earlier this month over human rights violations in Tibet, Beijing announced.

The order was signed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, with the move also announced on social media.


Who are the US individuals being sanctioned?

The measures target the deputy staff director with the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Todd Stein, and historian Miles Yu.

As a result, China will freeze all of their assets in the country and ban any organization or Chinese individual from engaging with them. Both the men and their families are now banned from entering China.

The statement clarified that the sanctions were in retaliation to US sanctions levied — "under the excuse of the Tibet human rights" issue — on Wu Yingjie, the top official in Tibet from 2016 to 2021, and Zhang Hongbo, the region's police chief since 2018.


On December 9, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was imposing sanctions on the two Chinese officials to discourage arbitrary detention and physical abuse of the religious minority groups in Tibet.

An accompanying Treasury Department statement has said that Wu's policies led to "serious human rights abuse, including extrajudicial killings, physical abuse, arbitrary arrests, and mass detentions."

The Treasury Department also said that during Zhang's tenure, the Chinese police engaged in serious human right abuses including "torture, physical abuse, and killings of prisoners, which included those arrested on religious and political grounds."

China, on the other hand, has not elaborated on any specific accusations against Stein and Yu.

The move is the latest in a tit-for-tat policy China has adopted in response to perceived slights from other countries with respect to Chinese national interests.

Chinese troops took over Tibet in 1950 in what Beijing calls a "peaceful liberation," claiming that Tibet has been part of China for centuries. Exiled Buddhist leader Dalai Lama, however, says that it was functionally independent for most of that time.

The US, among several others, recognizes Tibet as an independent territory and has sanctioned a long list of Chinese officials and organizations for human rights violations.

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