US Congress condemns China for crackdown on ethnic Muslims

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2019

It has still to be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to President Donald Trump.

Risk-off is the current theme and headlines such as this can fuel a bid in the yen.

China said on Wednesday it resolutely opposes the U.S. House of Representatives' bill requiring the Trump administration to toughen its response to what the bill called China's crackdown on ethnic minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.

It also calls for sanctions against senior Chinese officials believed to be responsible, specifically Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo.

Lawmakers, recognizing the momentum behind human rights legislation concerning China, are working to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills to agree on one version that can pass swiftly through Congress before the end of the year.

Hu, who did not cite where his information came from, said that China was also considering imposing visa restrictions on U.S. officials and lawmakers for their "odious performance on Xinjiang issue".

A Uighur woman protests before a group of paramilitary police in China's Xinjiang region.

"We urge the United States to immediately correct its mistake, to stop the above bill on Xinjiang from becoming law, to stop using Xinjiang as a way to interfere in China's domestic affairs", said the statement, attributed to the ministry's spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

The move comes one week after Mr Trump signed overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation aimed at supporting the pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong who taken to the streets in recent months.

China has consistently denied any mistreatment of the Uighurs, claiming the camps provide vocational training.

China responded to that on Monday by saying US military ships and aircraft would not be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and announced sanctions against several USA non-government organizations.

Earlier on Monday, Beijing slapped punitive measures on Washington in retaliation for the latter's backing of the widespread ongoing protests in Hong Kong, announcing sanctions on NGOs and suspending visits by USA warships and aircraft.

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi called China's treatment of the Uighurs "an outrage to the collective conscience of the world".

"We can not be silent".

China's foreign ministry said it "urged the US".

Congress "is taking a critical step to counter Beijing's horrific human rights abuses against Uighurs", she said.

Chris Johnson, a China expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said passage of the bill could lead to a further blurring of lines between the trade issue and the broader deteriorating Sino-US relationship, which China in the past has tended to keep separate.

Thomas Massie, the sole member of Congress to vote against both the Hong Kong and Uighur bills, said he did so because he considered the issues to be Chinese domestic affairs.

The legislation condemns the detention of more than 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities in so-called reeducation camps, where they are subjected to political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and food deprivation, as well as denial of religious and linguistic freedom.

It would also effectively ban the export to China of items that can be used for surveillance of individuals, including facial and voice-recognition technology.

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