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Trade War now has a human rights dimension

8 Oct, 2019

The United States is imposing visa restrictions on the Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for the detention or abuse of the Uighurs — Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China. … China Responds. Read the details:

U.S. Department of State Imposes Visa Restrictions on Chinese Officials for Repression in Xinjiang

October 8, 2019, Press Statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The Chinese government has instituted a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) that includes mass detentions in internment camps; pervasive, high-tech surveillance; draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities; and coercion of individuals to return from abroad to an often perilous fate in China.  Today, I am announcing:

  • — Visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China.  Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.
  • — These visa restrictions complement yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Commerce regarding the imposition of export restrictions on U.S. products exported to 28 entities, including elements of the Public Security Bureau and commercial companies in Xinjiang, involved in China’s campaign of surveillance, detention, and repression.

The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate.  The protection of human rights is of fundamental importance, and all countries must respect their human rights obligations and commitments.  The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these abuses.

China ‘strongly urges’ US to remove sanctions and stop accusing it of human rights violations

China’s response, reported by CNBC, Oct. 8

  • — “We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately stop making irresponsible remarks on the issue of Xinjiang” and to “stop interfering” in “China’s internal affairs, and remove relevant Chinese entities from the list of entities as soon as possible,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce said.
  • — The U.S. blacklisted a slew of Chinese companies due to alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang.
  • — “China will also take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard China’s own interests,” the spokesperson said.