Three Lithuanian diplomats, in addition to MP Dovilė Šakalienė, have been added to China's blacklist announced on Monday.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has confirmed that China’s Foreign Ministry has blacklisted Aušra Semaškienė, ambassador-at-large at Lithuania’s Permanent Representation to the European Union.
“The sanctions also apply to spouses, so there are actually more Lithuanian citizens targeted by sanctions. Overall, there are four people, including three Lithuanian diplomats,” the minister said while on a visit to Brussels.
Šakalienė's and Semaškienė's spouses work in the diplomatic service.
Beijing has imposed sanctions on ten Europeans in retaliation for the European Union (EU) sanctions against Chinese officials over human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.
The black list also includes several members of the European Parliament, members of the Belgian and Dutch parliaments, and scholars who have all been barred entry to China.
“The Foreign Ministry will summon China’s ambassador immediately to protest against such an action. Lithuania’s officials, diplomats working for the Lithuanian state should not be targeted by sanctions, unlike people who contribute verifiably to forced labour in China,” Landsbergis said.
EU officials have recently agreed to sanction four Chinese officials for human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.
Human rights advocates claim that at least 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are being detained in so-called ‘re-education camps’ in China’s north-western region Xinjiang.
Observers say the facilities are part of the government's campaign to forcibly assimilate ethnic minorities, sometimes using torture and forced labour. There have also been reports of alleged mass rape and forced sterilisation of women at the camps.