US sanctions Chinese officials over repression of minorities in Xinjiang

Topics USA | China | Kazakhstan

Photo: Shutterstock

The US has imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on three senior Chinese officials, including the regional boss of the ruling communist party, for alleged human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in the restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.

China is accused of mass detentions, religious persecution and forced sterilisation of Uyghurs and others in the resource-rich northwestern province.

Authorities there are thought to have detained about a million people in re-education camps in recent years for "vocational training" to counter radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang.

The three senior officials named by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement were: Chen Quanguo, the communist party secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and a member of the powerful Politburo; Zhu Hailun, party secretary of the Xinjiang political and legal committee; and Wang Mingshan, party secretary of the Xinjiang public security bureau.

Chen is the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to be hit by US sanctions. He is said to be the architect of China's harsh policies against minorities, and was previously in charge in Tibet.

Former security official in Xinjiang, Huo Liujun has also been named in the list.

As a result of the US move, they and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into America. It is now a crime in the US to conduct financial transactions with all of them, and they will have their US-based assets frozen.

"The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the CCP's attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behaviour, Pompeo said.

In a separate statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the US is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world.

"The United States will not stand idly by as the CCP carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labour, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith," Pompeo said.

Before ramping up the CCP's campaign of repression in Xinjiang, Chen oversaw extensive abuses in Tibetan areas, using many of the same horrific practices and policies CCP officials currently employ in Xinjiang, the top American diplomat said.

In recent years, China has faced severe criticism from western countries over persistent reports of mass detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

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


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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