China on Tuesday threatened retaliation against the U.S. over sanctions that targeted Beijing’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang province, with top Chinese officials vowing that America and its allies “will pay a price for their ignorance and arrogance.”
The sanctions announced Monday by the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and European Union marked the latest international step to condemn and punish China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups in Xinjiang. Chinese Communist Party officials denied the allegations made by the Biden administration and issued a fiery defense that attacked the U.S. for its history of slavery, the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan and Syria, and the treatment of indigenous people across North America.
“The United States and the West have been trumpeting protecting human rights, but who and what right on earth are they protecting? In what way are they respecting and protecting human rights? Shouldn’t they feel shameful?” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference Tuesday.
“The days when foreign powers could force China to open its doors with cannons are long gone; also gone are the days when several so-called scholars and state media could unscrupulously malign China in collusion without being punished,” she said. “We urge them not to underestimate Chinese people’s firm determination to defend national interests and dignity. It’s a courtesy to reciprocate what we receive. They will have to pay a price for their ignorance and arrogance.”
The inflammatory response came on the heels of a joint statement by the U.S., U.K., EU and Canada on Monday that said there is a mountain of indisputable proof confirming China‘s horrific actions.
“The evidence, including from the Chinese government’s own documents, satellite imagery, and eyewitness testimony is overwhelming,” the statement reads in part. “China’s extensive program of repression includes severe restrictions on religious freedoms, the use of forced labour, mass detention in internment camps, forced sterilisations, and the concerted destruction of Uyghur heritage.”