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UK Slams China Sanctions Over Alleged Uyghur Disinformation

FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament, in London, March 24, 2021.

The British government announced Friday its full support for parliamentarians and other citizens of Britain sanctioned by China for raising their voices in defense of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Asian country.

"The MPs [Members of Parliament] and other British citizens sanctioned by China today are performing a vital role shining a light on the gross human rights violations being perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet.

“Freedom to speak out in opposition to abuse is fundamental and I stand firmly with them," Johnson said.

China is imposing sanctions against nine Britons and four British entities, raising allegations that they had "maliciously spread lies and disinformation" over Beijing's treatment of Uyghurs.

Also, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Justice Minister Robert Buckland strongly condemned China’s move.

“While the UK joins the international community to sanction human rights abuses, Chinese govt sanctions its critics. If Beijing want to credibly rebut claims of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, it should give @UNHumanRights access to verify facts,” Raab tweeted.

“We strongly deprecate the statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry” imposing sanctions on British citizens and entities, including a British law firm that has taken up Uyghur rights causes, Buckland said.

The European Union, Britain, the United States, and Canada have sanctioned several members of Xinjiang's political and economic power elite this week over allegations of widespread human right abuses there.