China

US announces sanctions for Chinese officials over human rights abuses

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The Treasury Department on Monday announced sanctions against two Chinese government officials for their alleged connection to “serious human rights abuses” against China’s Uyghur Muslim minority group in the Xinjiang region.

The sanctions are part of a coordinated effort with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, the Treasury Department said.

The sanctions stem from the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows the president to deny entry into the U.S., revoke already-issued visas, block property under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit American businesses from entering into business with foreign entities.

“These designations include Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB),” the Treasury Department said in announcing the sanctions. “The United States is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to promote accountability for the serious human rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that China “continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

“The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities,” he said.

“We have taken this action today in solidarity with our partners in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union. As part of their actions today, our partners also sanctioned human rights abusers in connection with the atrocities occurring in Xinjiang and other countries,” Blinken added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called the U.S. government’s Xinjiang-related actions “absurdity,” during a press conference on Monday, though he did not address Treasury’s actions directly.

“I think Xinjiang-related issues are not about the treatment of the Uyghurs, but about lies and truth. It’s nothing short of absurdity that the U.S. side bases its accusations against China on lies and rumors,” Hua said. “The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome all, including US personnel, who really want to know Xinjiang’s development to visit the region, but we firmly oppose any condescending presumption of guilt.”

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) commended Monday’s actions by the Biden administration and U.S. allies but said more needed to be done.

“Chairman Xi has blood on his hands. The atrocities committed against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province are horrific — rape, torture, and slave labor are the Chinese Communist Party’s weapons,” Sasse said. “America and our allies are stepping up. Magnitsky sanctions are important, but we cannot relent as long as the genocide continues.”

Tags Antony Blinken Ben Sasse China Ethnic groups in Asia Hua Chunying Human rights abuses Human rights abuses in China Islam in China Magnitsky Act U.S. Treasury Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act Uyghurs Xinjiang Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
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