US Lawmakers Want Sanctions on Chinese Officials Over Xinjiang Abuses

A file image of a Uyghur in China’s far west Xinjiang region. (Image: Wikipedia)
A file image of a Uyghur in China’s far west Xinjiang region. (Image: Wikipedia)

A group of U.S. lawmakers have called for a tough global response to the ongoing human rights crisis in China’s far west Xinjiang region.

Led by Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to sanction Chinese officials and entities complicit in or directing human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

“Muslim ethnic minorities [in the region] are being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored,” said a bipartisan letter sent to both secretaries and made public on August 29.

“The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities in ‘political reeducation’ centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response.”

Watch Senator Marco Rubio being interviewed On Tucker Carlson Tonight here:

The letter referred to reports of deaths in custody and cited evidence of accelerated efforts to build more detention facilities in the region.

“The Chinese government shows no sign of halting these rights violations,” said the letter that was signed by a further 14 U.S. lawmakers.

“Given the gravity of the situation, and the severity and scope of the rights abuses being perpetrated, we urge you to apply Global Magnitsky sanctions, and consider additional measures, against senior Chinese government and Communist Party officials who oversee these repressive policies,” it said.

 

The letter has called for sanctions against businesses assisting the repression and highlighted two companies, Hikvision and Dahua Technology, who have profited from increased security spending in Xinjiang.

“No Chinese official or business complicit in what is happening in the XUAR [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region] should profit from access to the United States or the U.S. financial system,” said the letter.

The commission said they believed that sanctions would have an impact.

“At a time when the Chinese government is seeking to expand its influence through the Belt and Road Initiative, the last thing China’s leaders want is international condemnation of their poor and abusive treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.”

Xinjiang has 10-12 million Uyghurs, an ethnic Turkic people who mostly follow a moderate form of Islam. Human rights groups say communist authorities have long suppressed Uyghur religion and culture.

Watch this PBS News Hour report about the human rights crisis in Xinjiang.

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