In Summary
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the State Department would restrict visas granted to government and ruling Communist Party officials involved in the "detention or abuse" of minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
  • US Commerce Department yesterday blacklisted 28 Chinese entities over their involvement in the ongoing 'repression' in Xinjiang.
  • China voiced anger at the move, denying any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and accusing the United States of using "made-up pretexts for its interference."
  • Rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the population to reflect China's majority Han culture.

Washington

The United States said 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 one-two punch by President Donald Trump's administration marks the most forceful attempt by a foreign power to address what some rights groups call a historic crisis in Xinjiang, and comes amid a range of feuds between the United States and China.

"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 wrote on Twitter.

"China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad," he said.

In an accompanying statement, Pompeo said that 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 United States.

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’S DEFENCE

China voiced anger at the move, denying any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and accusing the United States of using "made-up pretexts for its interference."

"The counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang are aimed to eradicate the breeding soil of extremism and terrorism," the Chinese embassy in Washington said on Twitter.

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