It follows the Trump administration’s move on Friday to impose sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials whom it accused of curtailing political freedoms in the city.
Mr Cruz and Mr Rubio spearheaded recent legislation aimed at preventing goods produced by forced labour being bought or imported by US companies – and to mandate that the US government sanction anyone who “knowingly engages” in forced labour in Xinjiang.
Republican congressman Chris Smith – who introduced legislation condemning China’s treatment of the Uighurs and accused president Xi Jinping of “presiding over genocide” – is also among the 11 officials sanctioned.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch, Michael Abramowitz, the head of American think tank Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, are also on the list.
China’s foreign ministry has not yet specified what form the latest sanctions would take.
“In response to the US’s wrong behaviours, China has decided to impose sanctions on those individuals who behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” said ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
Beijing first said sanctions would be imposed on against Mr Cruz, Mr Rubio and Mr Smith last month, after Washington penalised senior Chinese officials over the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
China’s ministry of foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying revealed the retaliatory move on 13 July, without giving any details of what the sanctions would entail.
Ms Hua said US sanctions were a “serious interference in China’s internal affairs, severe violation of basic norms governing international relations, and grave harm to China-US relations.