US sanctions on Chinese officials over ‘abuse’ of Muslims

US sanctions on Chinese officials over 'abuse' of Muslims
Mike Pompeo announced the sanctions against Chinese officials. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The US has imposed sanctions against Chinese officials who are responsible for human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

China is accused of religious persecution, mass detentions and forced sterilisation of Uighurs and others.

The sanctions target the US-connected financial interests of regional Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo and three other officials.

Several human rights groups say up to a million Muslims have been detained in high-security prison camps across Xinjiang province. The BBC saw leaked documents last year that showed 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps in one week alone.

China denies any mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang province.

It is thought that authorities in that province have detained about a million people in re-education camps in recent years. Local government officials say “vocational training” is needed to counter radicalism and separatism.

Mr Chen, who sits on the Chinese Communist Party’s powerful Politburo, is the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to be hit by US sanctions, according to Trump administration.

He was previously in charge in Tibet and is seen as the architect of Beijing’s policies against minorities.

The other Chinese officials targeted are Zhu Hailun, a senior party member in Xinjiang; Wang Mingshan, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and former security official Huo Liujun.

It is now a crime in the US to conduct financial transactions with them and their US-based assets will be frozen.

However, Mr Huo will not be subjected to visa restrictions that bar the others and their families from entering the US.

Sanctions have also been placed on the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau as a whole.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, said the US was acting against “horrific and systematic abuses” in the region.

In a statement, Mr Pompeo said: “The United States will not stand idly by as the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] carries out human rights abuses targeting Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.”

The US was also placing additional visa restrictions on other unnamed Chinese Communist Party officials (maybe including their family members), believed to be responsible for abuses in Xinjiang, Pompeo said.

Tensions between China and the US are already high over the coronavirus pandemic and China’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong that has faced significant criticism from the West.

The same documents showed inmates can be released only when they “understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past activity”.

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