China might ban all US diplomatic passport-holders from entering the country’s western Xinjiang autonomous region, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said on Tuesday.
He said in a tweet that China is also considering visa restrictions against US officials and lawmakers with “odious performance” on the Xinjiang issue, in retaliation to legislation being prepared by the US Congress. He did not say how he had obtained the information.
The US has previously imposed visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials it believes responsible for the detention or abuse of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province, according to the US State Department.
UN experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the remote Xinjiang region. Top US officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have criticized China publicly on the situation there.
China has denied mistreatment at the camps, which Beijing says provides vocational training to help eliminate religious extremism and teach new skills to people of the region. It has repeatedly demanded that the US and other foreign states critical of its policies in Xinjiang end their interference in China’s domestic affairs.