The Donald Trump administration has taken action against Chinese government officials for their involvement in human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, where Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups are suspected to have been detained and tortured.
Those in the target list include Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary for the region.
On Thursday, the Departments of State and Treasury imposed sanctions on a number of officials, including Chen, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee (XPLC) Zhu Hailun and the current Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB) Wang Mingshan. The move comes amid escalated tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“The United States will not stand idly by as the (Chinese Communist Party) carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, 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 announcing visa restrictions against the three officials, which block them and their families from entering the US.
According to the US State Department, the Chinese government has detained “more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups” who are reportedly “subjected to torture, cruel and inhumane treatment such as physical and sexual abuse, forced labor, and death.”
In recent months, the Trump administration has ramped an aggressive tone and has actioned towards China many fronts including clamping down on Chinese media entries, Chinese pharmaceuticals and accused it of research cybertheft. America claims that the Chinese government was seeking to “remake the world” in its image.