Western countries sanction China over Uighur rights abuses

Western countries sanction China over Uighur rights abuses
China has created a sprawling network of detention camps for minorities in the Xinjiang region. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Several Western countries have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights abuses against the mostly Muslim Uighur minority group in China’s Xinjiang province.

China has detained Uighur Muslims at camps in the north-west region of Xinjiang, where allegations of forced labour, sexual abuses and torture have emerged.

The sanctions were introduced as a coordinated effort by the US, UK, European Union and Canada.

Beijing has responded with its own sanctions on European officials.

China has repeatedly denied the allegations of abuse of Uighurs, claiming the camps are “re-education” facilities used to combat terrorism.

But Dominic Raab, the UK Foreign Secretary, said the treatment of Uighurs amounted to “appalling violations of the most basic human rights”.

The European Union has not imposed new sanctions on China over human rights abuses since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, when Chinese soldiers in Beijing opened fire on pro-democracy protesters.

The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes targeted to senior officials in Xinjiang who have been accused of serious human rights violations against Uighurs.

Those targeted have been named as:

  • Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, the local police force
  • Wang Mingshan, a member of Xinjiang’s Communist Party standing committee, who, the EU says, “holds a key political position in charge of overseeing” the detention of Uighurs
  • Wang Junzheng, party secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a state-owned economic and paramilitary organisation
  • The former deputy Communist Party head in Xinjiang, Zhu Hailun, who is accused of having held a “key political position” in overseeing the running of the camps
  • The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which is in charge of implementing XPCC policies on security matters, including the management of detention centres
  • Mr Raab called the abuse of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang “one of the worst human rights crises of our time”.

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