Trump taking 'no meaningful action' on Uighur Muslim crisis

Trump taking 'no meaningful action' on Uighur Muslim crisis
2 min read
05 March, 2019
Nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities in China have reportedly been held in re-education camps.
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has urged action on the Uighur crisis. [Getty]

US President Donald Trump's response to China's abuses against its Uighur Muslim minority has been inadequate, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers demanding more action said on Monday.

Nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities in China have reportedly been held in re-education camps, according to a UN panel of experts.

US Secretary of States Mike Pompeo told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last year that he was looking to request sanctions on companies and officials responsible for the abuses in China's Xinjiang region.

"It appears that the Administration has taken no meaningful action ... and we write today with a renewed sense of urgency on this serious matter," the lawmakers said in a letter to Pompeo, according to Reuters.

"This issue is bigger than just China. It is about demonstrating to strongmen globally that the world will hold them accountable for their actions."

The lawmakers, a bipartisan group led by Eliot Engel, Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, are particularly concerned US firms could be complicit in the repression in Xinjiang given commercial ties to Chinese tech companies that have benefitted from a security spending surge.

Frontier Services Group, co-founded by former US military services contractor Erik Prince, is one such company reported to have signed a deal to build a training base in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang has over the past years become a testing ground for high-tech surveillance technology.

Authorities have collected masses of biometric data from Chinese Muslims in the province and heavily restricted residents' freedom of movement and activity.

The US is currently engaged in sensitive negotiations to resolve a trade war with China, with Pompeo saying on Monday that they were "on the cusp" of a deal.

China's ambassador to Washington has warned of retaliation if the US were to impose sanctions.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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