China imposes sanctions on Britain in retaliation over Xinjiang

©Kyodo News

China said Friday it has decided to impose sanctions on some British individuals and entities, retaliating to London's move to levy sanctions on Beijing over human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region.

The nine British individuals and four entities "maliciously spread lies and false information" about the situation in Xinjiang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"China is unwavering in its determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests," the ministry said, while pledging to make a "firmer response" if Britain goes down the "wrong path."

China has slammed coordinated sanctions recently imposed by the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States against Beijing over its alleged human rights abuses in the Asian country's far western region.

The Chinese Communist Party-led government has been accused of detaining Uyghurs who oppose growing state surveillance under a "re-education" campaign in Xinjiang.

China has consistently said its detention camps are vocational training centers established to preemptively combat terrorism and religious extremism.