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U.S. Curbs Chinese Officials' Visas Over Uyghur 'Repression'

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The United States alleges that the Chinese government is conducting a "highly repressive" campaign against Uyghurs in the far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. (file photo)

The United States says it will impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials accused of involvement in the "detention or abuse" of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in China's far western region of Xinjiang.

The restrictions are to be imposed on Chinese government and Communist Party officials, as well as their family members, the State Department said on October 8, after Washington blacklisted 28 Chinese organizations for their alleged involvement in abuse in the remote region.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing had instituted "a highly repressive campaign" against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including "mass detentions in internment camps; pervasive, high-tech surveillance; draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities; and coercion of individuals to return from abroad to an often perilous fate in China."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on Washington to withdraw the measure, accusing it of "disregarding the facts, slandering and smearing China on Xinjiang-related issues."

China is facing growing international criticism over its policies in Xinjiang.

UN experts and activists say at least 1 million Uyghurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the remote region.

Beijing insists the detention sites are "vocational" centers aimed at training and skills development.

On October 7, Washington announced it had included 20 Chinese public-security bureaus and eight companies to the so-called Entity List, which bars them from buying products from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.

Beijing later called claims of rights violations in Xinjiang "groundless."

With reporting by Reuters
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