The United States says there is no basis for China's retaliatory sanctions on two US officials over Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims and other minorities.
The US sanctioned two Chinese officials in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday. The officials include the chief of the region's public security bureau.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Saturday that "Beijing's attempts to intimidate and silence those speaking out for human rights and fundamental freedom only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang."
He said the United States stands in "solidarity with Canada, the UK, the EU, and other partners and allies around the world" in calling on China to "end the human rights violations and abuses against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang and to release those arbitrarily detained."
The United States agreed with the EU on Wednesday to resume senior-level talks on dealing with China. It wants to demonstrate that it is stepping up the pressure on China in collaboration with other countries as the rift with Beijing deepens over human rights issues in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.