US imposes sanctions on Chinese officials over mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims
Chen Quanguo, a member of China's powerful Politburo, is among four high-ranking officials the US has imposed sanctions on for the mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims.
The US also blacklisted Zhu Hailun, a former deputy party secretary and current deputy secretary of the regional legislative body in Xinjiang, the Xinjiang’s People’s Congress; Wang Mingshan, the director and Communist Party secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and former party secretary of the bureau Huo Liujun.
Immediate family members of these officials and other officials of the Chinese Communist Party have been banned from travelling to the US, Reuters reported.
The move is likely to further ratchet up tension between China and the US.
Tension between the two nations, which had been involved in a trade war since 2018, escalated when US President Donald Trump accused China of not being transparent regarding the origins of the coronavirus.
Tension escalated further with the US imposing sanctions on China for tightening its grip on Hong Kong by passing a draconian national security law.
According to a senior administration official from Washington, who briefed reporters after the announcements, the blacklisting is “no joke.” “Not only in terms of symbolic and reputational effect, but it does have real meaning on a person’s ability to move around the world and conduct business,” he added.
China has denied mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims and says the camps, where Uyghurs are detained, provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism. According to the UN, there are about 1 million Uyghur Muslims in ‘such camps’.
Washington imposed the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US government to target human rights violators worldwide by freezing any US assets, banning US travel and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
The main exile group of the community, the World Uyghur Congress, welcomed the move and called for the European Union and other countries to follow suit. Renee Xia, director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, welcomed the sanctions. "Hope the Admin will implement this law to sanction Chinese officials who commit abuses in Tibet, Hong Kong or on the Mainland," she wrote on Twitter.