China has imposed sanctions on nine UK citizens – including five MPs – for spreading what it called “lies and disinformation” about the country.
The group are among the most vocal critics of China in the UK.
It comes in retaliation for measures taken by the UK government on Monday over human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority group.
Boris Johnson said those sanctioned were “shining a light” on “gross human rights violations”.
“Freedom to speak out in opposition to abuse is fundamental and I stand firmly with them,” the prime minister said in a tweet.
The foreign secretary said if Beijing wanted to “credibly rebut” the claims it should allow UN access to Xinjiang.
Those targeted by China include former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, two peers, a lawyer and an academic.
Sir Iain said he would wear the sanctions “as a badge of honour”.
The response by China follows similar sanctions imposed on the European Union, which was part of the co-ordinated action on Monday, along with the UK, the US and Canada.