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House passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps

House passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps
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The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation that would impose sanctions on senior Chinese officials responsible for the forced labor camps that have targeted Uighur Muslims and other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region of China.

The bill — introduced by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWatch live: Day 2 at CPAC DeSantis derides 'failed Republican establishment' at CPAC The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display MORE (R-Fla.) — passed the upper chamber by unanimous consent earlier this month and is now heading to President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE's desk. 

Under the legislation, Trump would revoke visas and inflict sanctions against Chinese government officials found responsible for human rights violations against Uighurs. The measure also calls for the State Department to assemble a report on human rights violations.

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Proponents of the bill praised it as a necessary step in stopping oppression in the region.

"Beijing has leveraged its economic clout to silence criticism and its horrific human rights abuses. So many countries, particularly Muslim countries that always speak out when any group of Muslims is being denied their human rights, have been pressured into silence," Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanBipartisan resolution supports Iranian public amid Biden push to reenter nuclear deal Tributes pour in for Kobe Bryant on one-year anniversary of death Bottom line MORE (D-Calif.) said on the floor ahead of the vote. 

"And now China wants the world to forget about the Uighurs as we grapple with this global pandemic. We must push back. Today we send a message that we stand with the Uighurs, fight for the oppressed, and we will not forget.”

Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded the legislation, saying it will hold China accountable for human rights abuses.

"The ultimate example of what the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is willing to do in the name of national security has been clear for some time. And that is the cultural genocide of the Uighurs and other ethnic minority Muslim groups in western China," he said on the floor.

"Over the last several years, these ethnic minorities have been rounded up and forced into concentration camps where they are brain warned for state propaganda and forced to do grueling work as part of their freedom," he added.

The bill's passage comes amid strong tensions between the United States and China over the country’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online Five things to watch at CPAC MORE also declared that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, which is expected to lead to significant changes in trade and economic relations between the countries.