China sanctioned U.S. religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback, along with the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). China did not specify the details and scope of the sanctions, although Rep. Smith said in a press release that his sanctions denial of an entry visa into the country.
According to observers, anywhere from 900,000 to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been imprisoned in Xinjiang, China's far northwest province. The government has set up more than 1,300 detention camps where survivors have reported experiencing indoctrination, torture, beatings, and forced labor.
The AP reported on June 29 that many Uyghurs had also reported being forced by authorities to implant IUDs and take other forms of birth control, as well as being forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations in order to enforce China's family planning policies. One expert told the AP that the campaign is "genocide, full stop."
In addition, authorities have set up a system of mass surveillance in the region to track the movements of people, one that includes DNA sampling and facial recognition technology, as well as predictive policing platforms.
The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China-listed for sanctions by China-warned in its most recent annual report that authorities in Xinjiang "may be committing crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people and other Turkic Muslims."
Rubio and Smith were among the members of Congress sanctioned by China on Monday, and they each authored versions of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act which imposed sanctions on Chinese officials complicit in the abuses committed against Uyghurs.