July 13, 2020

China is officially banning four U.S. officials following recent sanctions announced by the Trump administration.

China has announced it will ban entry to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), as well as Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, The Associated Press reports. The four officials have called out China for its human rights abuses in Xinjiang, The Washington Post notes.

This comes after the U.S. sanctioned several Chinese officials over China's human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other minorities; three Chinese officials were banned from visiting the U.S., according to the Post. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that "Xinjiang affairs are China's internal affairs and the U.S. has no right to interfere in them," adding that "we urge the United States to immediately withdraw its wrong decision."

There "was no indication any of the four" U.S. officials actually "planned to travel to China," Axios observes. On Monday, Rubio reacted to the news by tweeting, "The Communist Party of #China has banned me from entering the country. I guess they don't like me?" Cruz, meanwhile, tweeted sarcastically, "Bummer. I was going to take my family to Beijing for summer vacation, right after visiting Tehran." Brendan Morrow

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