China has sanctioned organizations and individuals in the United Kingdom over what it called “lies and disinformation” about Xinjiang, after Britain imposed sanctions for human rights abuses in the western Chinese region.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that it sanctioned four entities and nine individuals, including the former Conservative party leader Duncan Smith and the Conservative party’s own Human Rights Commission.

Other individuals named were MPs Tom Tugendhat (who chairs the foreign affairs select committee), Neil O’Brien, Nus Ghani and Tim Loughton; as well as two members of the Lords, David Alton and Helena Kennedy QC. The barrister Geoffrey Nice and a Uighur expert at Newcastle University, Joanne Nicola Smith Finley, were also on the list.

 The entities included the China Research Group, established by a group of Conservative MPs, independent research group Uyghur Tribunal and Essex Court Chambers, a leading London law firm.

Duncan Smith said early on today he would wear the sanction like a “badge of honor”.

Under the sanctions, targeted individuals and their immediate family members were prohibited from entering Chinese territory, the ministry said, adding that Chinese citizens and institutions would be prohibited from doing business with them.

The move is retaliation to a coordinated set of sanctions imposed by the United States, EU, Britain and Canada against Beijing, citing human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing had already applied retaliatory sanctions against the EU.

Activists and UN rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and leaders in the west accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilizations.

by Laura Mmosi

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