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U.S. sanctions two Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang province

Secretary of State Antony Blinken. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Days after the Biden administration held its first bilateral meeting with Beijing, the U.S. joined Canada, the U.K., and the European Union in imposing sanctions against two Chinese officials who it said had been involved in human rights abuses. The officials, Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB), were sanctioned for “serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities” in China’s Xinjiang province, the Treasury Department announced on Monday. The sanctions were applied under the U.S.’s Global Magnitsky Act, which means their U.S. assets, if any, will be frozen and U.S. entities are prohibited from doing business with them.

Reports have emerged of human rights abuses, including torture, sexual abuse, forced sterilisation and indoctrination, as members of the Uighurs, mostly Muslims from Xinjiang, have been sent to internment camps for ‘re-education’. The U.S. has made a determination that China is committing genocide on the Uighurs.

Both the XPCC and XPSB have been previously sanctioned by the U.S.

“The XPCC is a paramilitary organization in the XUAR that is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was designated on July 31, 2020, for its connection to serious human rights abuse. The XPCC enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development in XUAR that emphasises subordination to central planning and resource extraction,” the Treasury statement said.

“Amid growing international condemnation, the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The U.S. reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement released on Monday.

Blinken to visit Brussels

Mr. Blinken, who is visiting Brussels this week, also praised the EU’s decision to impose sanctions on China, for the first time , as per reports, the EU has imposed sanctions on China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. In addition to Mr. Wang and Mr. Chen, the EU also sanctioned Zhu Hailun, former deputy Communist Party head in Xinjiang, and Wang Mingshan, who is a member of the Xinjiang’s Communist Party standing committee.

“A united transatlantic response sends a strong signal to those who violate or abuse international human rights, and we will take further actions in coordination with likeminded partners. We will continue to stand with our allies around the world in calling for an immediate end to the PRC’s crimes and for justice for the many victims,” Mr. Blinken said. Beijing has responded by announcing retaliatory sanctions against EU individuals and entities.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 1:24:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-sanctions-two-chinese-officials-for-human-rights-abuses-in-xinjiang-province/article34135384.ece

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