China bans Cruz, Rubio, Smith, Brownback over criticism

BEIJING (AP) — China says it will ban entry to U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Representative Chris Smith and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback over their criticism of the ruling Communist Party’s policies toward minority groups and people of faith. The travel bans appear to be direct retaliation for the U.S. imposition of sanctions on four Chinese officials, including Chen Quanguo, who heads the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where more than 1 million members of Muslim minority groups have been incarcerated in what China terms de-radicalization and retraining centers. Critics have likened the camps to prisons to which inmates are compelled to denounce their religion, language and culture and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party.