The Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials over human rights abuses against the minority Uighur population.
The sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act apply to three Chinese Communist Party officials, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and a former government official. The move comes weeks after Trump acknowledged he held off on imposing sanctions amid trade talks with Beijing.
"Today, I designated three senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang for gross violations of human rights, making them and their immediate family members ineligible for entry into the United States," Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoState Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE tweeted.
Today, I designated three senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang for gross violations of human rights, making them and their immediate family members ineligible for entry into the United States.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 9, 2020
The individuals designated under the sanctions are Chen Quanguo, the party secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR); former XUAR deputy party secretary Zhu Hailun; and public security bureau officials Wang Mingshan and Huo Liujun.
"The entity and officials are being designated for their connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, which reportedly include mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious abuses targeting Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim population indigenous to Xinjiang, and other ethnic minorities in the region," the Treasury Department said in a news release announcing the sanctions.
The Chinese government is accused of committing human rights abuses against the Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. Reports have found that members of the Muslim minority group have been put in internment camps, and The Associated Press reported last month that the Chinese government has acted in recent years to slash birth rates among Uighurs through birth control and sterilization.
Trump had for months resisted pressure from lawmakers to act on the human rights abuses. The president last month signed legislation passed by Congress in May that requires Trump to identify and sanction Chinese officials who played a role in the human rights abuses against the Uighurs.
The president told Axios in an interview days after signing the legislation that he held off on acting against those responsible for the abuses because "we were in the middle of a major trade deal."