By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – China on Friday imposed retaliatory sanctions against nine British individuals and four business entities, arguing they "maliciously spread lies and disinformation."
"As of today, the individuals concerned and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China, their property in China will be frozen, and Chinese citizens and institutions will be prohibited from doing business with them," the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.
The targeted individuals, including lawmakers, are Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith, Neil O'Brien, David Alton, Tim Loughton, Nusrat Ghani, Helena Kennedy, Geoffrey Nice, Joanne Nicola Smith Finley.
Beijing also imposed sanctions on China Research Group, Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, Uyghur Tribunal, Essex Court Chambers.
Earlier this week, the UK had imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses of Uyghur ethnic groups in Xinjiang who are predominantly Muslims. Beijing has denied such claims.
"This [sanctions by the UK] move, based on nothing but lies and disinformation, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations, grossly interferes in China's internal affairs, and severely undermines China-UK relations," the Chinese side said.
"China is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and warns the UK side not go further down the wrong path. Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions," the statement added.
Beijing also summoned the British ambassador to China to protest the sanctions.
China has repeatedly denied allegations that it is operating detention camps in its northwestern Xinjiang region, home to the Uyghur community, claiming instead that it is "re-educating" Uyghurs.