US curbs China of­fi­cials’ visas over mi­nor­ity ‘re­pres­sion’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Wash­ing­ton: The US said on Tues­day it would curb visas for Chi­nese of­fi­cials un­til Bei­jing ends its “re­pres­sion” of Uighurs and other Mus­lims in the west­ern re­gion of Xin­jiang, a day af­ter im­pos­ing com­mer­cial re­stric­tions.

The move by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion marks the most force­ful at­tempt by a for­eign power to ad­dress what some rights groups call a his­toric cri­sis in Xin­jiang. “China has forcibly de­tained over one mil­lion Mus­lims in a bru­tal, sys­tem­atic cam­paign to erase reli­gion and cul­ture in Xin­jiang,” sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo tweeted. “China must end its dra­co­nian sur­veil­lance and re­pres­sion, re­lease all those ar­bi­trar­ily de­tained and cease its co­er­cion of Chi­nese Mus­lims abroad.”

Pom­peo added the state depart­ment would re­strict visas granted to govern­ment and ruling Com­mu­nist Party of­fi­cials in­volved in “de­ten­tion or abuse” of Uighurs, Kaza­khs or mem­bers of other pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim eth­nic groups in Xin­jiang. The or­der will also af­fect their fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing chil­dren who may be seek­ing to study in the US.

The state depart­ment said it could not spec­ify which of­fi­cials were af­fected due to US con­fi­den­tial­ity laws. But law­mak­ers have specif­i­cally asked for ac­tion against Chen Quan­guo, the Com­mu­nist Party chief for Xin­jiang. Re­puted within the party for his han­dling of mi­nor­ity groups, he ear­lier led iron-fisted poli­cies aimed at crush­ing dis­sent in Ti­bet.

China de­nied any hu­man rights abuses in Xin­jiang. “The counter-ter­ror­ism and de-rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion mea­sures in Xin­jiang are aimed to erad­i­cate the breed­ing soil of ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism,” the Chi­nese em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton tweeted. “They are in line with Chi­nese laws... and are sup­ported by all 25 mil­lion peo­ple of var­i­ous eth­nic groups in Xin­jiang,” it said.

Reuters/File photo

China voiced anger at the move, deny­ing any hu­man rights abuses in Xin­jiang and ac­cus­ing the US of us­ing ‘made-up pre­texts for its in­ter­fer­ence’

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