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Trump to sign bill sanctioning China officials over Uighur Muslim crackdown

The Trump administration has been pushing back against a host of Chinese policies [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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Donald Trump is set to sign legislation calling for sanctions against Chinese officials deemed responsible for Uighur abuses.
US President Donald Trump is set to sign a bill that authorises sanctions against Chinese officials who are allegedly responsible for the mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs, according to a report by Reuters.

The source quoted did not specify a timeframe for Trump's signing of the legislation but the Uighur Human Rights Act was passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate last month.

It calls for the assets of officials identified as responsible for the persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China's northwestern Xinjiang province to be frozen.

Rights groups say at least one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China's northwest have been incarcerated in camps - part of an alleged mass-brainwashing campaign with few modern parallels.

The bill also marks another significant step in Washington's pushback against China over a variety of issues, most recently moves against the autonomy of Hong Kong.

The Chinese embassy in Washington issued a statement claiming the bill "blatantly smears China's counterterrorism and deradicalisation measures and seriously interferes in China's internal affairs", which China "deplores and firmly opposes".

"We urge the US to immediately rectify its mistake, stop using Xinjiang-related issues to intervene in China's internal affairs and refrain from going even further down the wrong path," the statement added.

The bill, which won bipartisan support in both houses, requires the US administration to determine which Chinese officials are responsible for the "arbitrary detention, torture and harassment" of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

The US would then freeze any assets the officials hold in the world's largest economy and ban their entry into the country.

The law specifically mentions Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang. Previously posted in Tibet, Chen has built a reputation for clamping down on restive minorities.

Trump said last week he was also considering imposing sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for "smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong’s freedom".


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