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China hits top US lawmakers, envoy with sanctions over Xinjiang

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China on Monday slapped retaliatory sanctions on three senior Republican lawmakers and a US envoy in a deepening row over Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region.

Some of the most outspoken critics of China — Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz along with Congressman Chris Smith — were targeted by the action, as well as the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.

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The unspecified “corresponding sanctions” were announced days after the US imposed visa bans and asset freezes on several Chinese officials, including the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, over rights abuses in the region.

The move was “in response to the US’s wrong actions”, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

“We urge the US to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop any words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests,” she said.

“China will make a further response depending on the development of the situation.”

Sanctions will also be applied on the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an agency that monitors human rights in the Asian country.

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The two countries have traded barbs and sanctions on a slew of issues since President Donald Trump took office, from trade to more recent spats over the coronavirus pandemic, a security law in Hong Kong, and Chinese policies in the far west regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

– ‘Horrific’ abuses –

Witnesses and human rights groups say that China has rounded up more than one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang in a vast brainwashing campaign aimed at forcibly homogenising minorities into the country’s Han majority.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week the United States was acting against “horrific and systematic abuses” in the western region including forced labour, mass detention and involuntary population control.

China rejects the accusations, but it has acknowledged sending Uighurs to “vocational education centres” to learn Mandarin and job skills in a bid to steer them away from terrorism and separatism following a spate of deadly violence in the fractious region.

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“I have to point out that Xinjiang affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. The US has no right or basis to interfere,” Hua said on Monday.

China is “unwavering in its determination to fight against forces of violence and terrorism, forces of separatism, and that of religious extremism,” Hua said.

“Its determination to oppose any external forces’ interference in Xinjiang affairs and China’s internal affairs is unwavering as well.”

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COVID-19

What we know so far about COVID-19 and children

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President Donald Trump has been censored on Facebook and Twitter after saying children are "almost immune" from COVID-19. What do the facts say?

We know for sure children are less likely to fall seriously ill from the coronavirus, and emerging evidence suggests they're less likely to be infected too.

What's less clear is how much they spread the virus once infected.

- Children rarely become seriously ill -

Under-18s have accounted for just two percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of all deaths in the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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2020 Election

Trump’s latest attack on Joe Biden is stunningly delusional — even for him

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Few ever accuse President Donald Trump of subtlety. But in a new speech in Cleveland on Thursday, he let loose with a particularly wild rant against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, that was over-the-top, even for him.

It’s worth just quoting in full:

He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns! He’s against energy, our kind of energy. Uh, I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio.

Many people pointed out that there’s much more evidence that Biden is a committed Christian than there is for Trump. But almost that seems to miss several key points about how wild this is:

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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