House passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps

House passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps
© Getty Images

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 RubioLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark MORE (R-Fla.) — passed the upper chamber by unanimous consent earlier this month and is now heading to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 ShermanHouse passes bill to sanction Chinese banks over Hong Kong security law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - As virus concerns grow, can it get worse for Trump? Black Caucus rallies behind Meeks for Foreign Affairs gavel 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 McCaulTrump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House National security adviser says Trump was not briefed on bounty intelligence, condemns leaks Pentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response 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.