The United States has imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials for “horrific and systematic” human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minority groups in the western Xinjiang region.
“The United States will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 9.
Three Chinese officials will be denied U.S. visas and have their U.S.-based assets frozen.
The three include Chen Quanguo, the Chinese Communist Party chief for the Xinjiang region and alleged architect of repression against religious and ethnic minorities. The other two targeted are Zhu Hailun, a former chief of Xinjiang’s political and legal committee, and Wang Mingshan, the head of regional security.
The U.S. Treasury also sanctioned a fourth person, Huo Liujun, a former security official in Xinjiang.
These U.S. designations and visa restrictions are part of an intensifying effort to pressure China over gross human rights abuses reported in the Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of placing more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language, and physically abused since early 2017.
China says the camps are reeducation and training centers needed to combat separatist terrorism and extremism.
On July 1, the U.S. government issued an advisory to businesses warning that their supply chains may be using forced labor from detention camps in Xinjiang.
Other action in recent months include targeting dozens of Chinese business entities tied to human rights abuses in the region.
Pompeo has also announced in recent weeks steps against China over the deterioration of rights and democracy in Hong Kong.
U.S. Sanctions Chinese Officials Over 'Horrific' Abuse Of Uyghurs, Ethnic Kazakhs
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