China sanctions USCIRF commissioner as countermeasure to move against Chinese official
Published: May 26, 2021 07:10 PM
Zhao Lijian Photo: VCG

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: VCG

 China has decided to sanction Johnnie Moore, commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as a countermeasure to US sanction against a Chinese official under the guise of so-called religious issues, said China's Foreign Ministry. 

The countermeasure came after the US State Department released the 2020 annual report on international religious freedom on May 12 and sanctioned a Chinese official, citing involvement in violations of human rights and crackdown against a cult.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the ministry, said at a press conference on Wednesday that China has decided to impose sanctions on Moore in response to the US' blatant recruitment for the cult and the unilateral sanctions against a Chinese official based on lies and false information.

China will ban Moore and his family from entering the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. 

Zhao stressed that China firmly opposes the US report, which ignores facts, is full of ideological bias, slanders China's religious policy and seriously interferes in China's internal affairs.

China urged the US to correct its mistakes, withdraw its sanctions and stop interfering in Chinese internal affairs under the pretext of so-called religious issues.

Moore has a notorious anti-China history, and has smeared China as "the world's foremost violator of human rights and religious freedom," media reported.

According to USCIRF, Moore in December adopted one of the riot leaders in Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai, also known as a member of the "gang of four", through the "Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project". Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and nine other defendants behind Hong Kong's social turmoil pleaded guilty on May 17 to organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly on October 1, 2019.

In January, before Biden took office, Moore, who served as an informal evangelical adviser to the former Trump administration, had met with Biden's team and said the US should take a similar approach to China as it once took with the Soviet Union, media reported.

Global Times