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EU slaps sanctions on 4 Chinese officials over Uyghur abuses

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Brussels: The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of responsibility for abuses against Uyghur 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 Uyghurs 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.

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

The European Union is also set to slap sanctions on 11 officials in Myanmar accused of involvement in the military coup and the violent crackdown on protesters that followed, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday.

“We are going to take sanctions against 11 persons involved in the coup and on the repression of the demonstrators,” Borrell told reporters before chairing a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Myanmar’s military junta prevented Parliament from convening on February 1. It claimed that last November’s elections, won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide, were tainted by fraud. The election commission that confirmed the victory has since been replaced by the junta.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. In the face of persistent strikes and protests against the takeover, the junta has responded with an increasingly violent crackdown and efforts to limit the information reaching the outside world.

Internet access has been severely restricted, private newspapers have been barred from publishing, and protesters, journalists and politicians have been arrested in large numbers.




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