The Chinese foreign ministry declared on Monday that U.S. sanctions against two top Chinese officials over alleged violations of human rights in Tibet were unlawful and seriously impacted Sino-U.S. relations.
China denies claims that it has used repressive measures to suppress ethnic unrest and regulate religious activities in Tibet’s difficult Himalayan territory.
The remarks followed the U.S. Treasury department’s announcement on Friday that sanctions had been placed against Zhang Hongbo, a top public security official in the area, and Wu Yingjie, the leader of the Communist Party in power
Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the steps were a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a violation of basic norms of international relations.
“We urge the U.S. side to immediately withdraw the so-called sanctions,” he told a regular briefing.
They did serious damage to Sino-U.S. relations, Wang said, adding that China would safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.
“The United States has no right to impose sanctions on other countries at every turn and is not qualified to play the world police,” Wang added.
Wang also criticised comments on Saturday by Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to China, as being “full of lies and prejudice”.
Burns had said the United States remained “deeply concerned” over what it saw as China’s failure to live up to its international commitment to protect rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in areas such as Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang.
“We urge the U.S. side to stop using human rights issues to smear China, to stop using human rights issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to undermine China’s stability,” Wang added.