US sanctions Chinese officials over repression of minorities
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.