Trump admin mulling sanctions on China over Muslim internment camps: report

Trump admin mulling sanctions on China over Muslim internment camps: report

The Trump administration is weighing sanctions against Chinese officials and companies in response to the country's treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups, The New York Times reported Monday.

The news outlet cited current and former officials who said the administration has been discussing sanctions over the human rights issue for months at the White House, Treasury Department and State Department.

In addition to economic sanctions, the U.S. is also considering a limit on sales of American surveillance technology used by Chinese agencies to monitor Uighurs, The New York Times reported.

The potential move comes after lawmakers in late August sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Treasury sanctions top Maduro allies in Venezuela MORE urging sanctions on multiple Chinese officials.

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The penalties, if implemented, would mark the first time the Trump administration has acted against China on the basis of human rights violations, according to the newspaper.

A United Nations (U.N.) panel said last month that it had credible reports that as many as 2 million Uighurs were being detained by the Chinese government in re-education camps in western Xinjiang, where they were forced to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party.

A senior Chinese official refuted the report, telling the U.N. panel on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that it was “completely untrue" and disputing the reasoning behind the camps.

The talk of sanctions comes at a time of already heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.

The two countries have engaged in an escalating trade dispute, levying billions of dollars of tariffs against one another. President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE pledged on Friday that he is prepared to slap $267 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, in addition to the $200 billion he has already promised.

Trump has also voiced frustration in recent months over China's relationship with North Korea. The president has suggested that China is interfering with U.S. efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.