US sanc­tions Chi­nese of­fi­cials over re­pres­sion of mi­nori­ties

The Maui News - - Nation And World -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — The United States on Thurs­day im­posed sanc­tions on three se­nior of­fi­cials of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party, in­clud­ing a mem­ber of the rul­ing Polit­buro, for al­leged hu­man rights abuses tar­get­ing eth­nic and re­li­gious mi­nori­ties that China has de­tained in the western part of the coun­try.

The de­ci­sion to bar these se­nior of­fi­cials from en­ter­ing the U.S. is the lat­est of a se­ries of ac­tions the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken against China as re­la­tions de­te­ri­o­rate over the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, hu­man rights, Hong Kong and trade. Just a day ear­lier, the ad­min­is­tra­tion had an­nounced visa bans against of­fi­cials deemed re­spon­si­ble for bar­ring for­eign­ers’ ac­cess to Ti­bet. Thurs­day’s step, how­ever, hits a more se­nior level of lead­er­ship and is likely to draw a harsh re­sponse from Bei­jing.

The mea­sures come as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has in­creas­ingly sought to blame China for the spread of

COVID-19 in the United States and be­yond and ac­cuse his pre­sump­tive chal­lenger in Novem­ber’s elec­tion, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, of be­ing soft on China. They fol­low an al­le­ga­tion in a new book by for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton that Trump told Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping he was right to build de­ten­tion camps to house hun­dreds of thou­sands of eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

The sanc­tions were an­nounced a week af­ter an As­so­ci­ated Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed forced pop­u­la­tion con­trol of the Uighurs and other largely Mus­lim mi­nori­ties, one of the rea­sons cited by the State Depart­ment for the sanc­tions

“The United States will not stand idly by as the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party car­ries out hu­man rights abuses tar­get­ing Uighurs, eth­nic Kaza­khs and mem­bers of other mi­nor­ity groups in Xin­jiang, to in­clude forced la­bor, ar­bi­trary mass de­ten­tion, and forced pop­u­la­tion con­trol, and at­tempts to erase their cul­ture and Mus­lim faith,” Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo said in a state­ment.

Pom­peo’s state­ment, ac­com­pa­nied by a sim­i­lar an­nounce­ment from the Trea­sury Depart­ment, said ad­di­tional visa re­stric­tions are be­ing placed on other Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party of­fi­cials be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble for, or com­plicit in, the un­just de­ten­tion or abuse of Uighurs, eth­nic Kaza­khs and mem­bers of other mi­nor­ity groups.

The three of­fi­cials tar­geted by name were: Chen Quan­guo, the party sec­re­tary of the Xin­jiang Uighur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in north­west China and a mem­ber of the Polit­buro; Zhu Hailun, party sec­re­tary of the Xin­jiang po­lit­i­cal and le­gal com­mit­tee; and Wang Ming­shan, party sec­re­tary of the Xin­jiang pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau.

They and their im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers are banned from en­ter­ing the United States.

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