China Sanctions Cruz, Rubio, Smith 07/13 06:29

China Sanctions Cruz, Rubio, Smith     07/13 06:29

   China said Monday it will impose sanctions on three U.S. lawmakers and one 
ambassador in response to similar actions taken by the U.S. last week against 
Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Muslims in the 
Xinjiang region.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China said Monday it will impose sanctions on three U.S. 
lawmakers and one ambassador in response to similar actions taken by the U.S. 
last week against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against 
Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

   U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Rep. Chris Smith and Ambassador for 
Religious Freedom Sam Brownback were targeted, as was the 
Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The four have been critical of the 
ruling Communist Party's policies toward minority groups and people of faith.

   Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the U.S. move had "seriously 
damaged China-U.S. relations" and that China was determined to uphold its 
national sovereignty against what it sees as interference in its internal 
affairs.

   "China will respond further according to the development of the situation," 
Hua said.

   She did not spell out the sanctions beyond saying they would correspond to 
the American ones. The U.S. prohibited any property transactions by Americans 
with four senior Chinese officials and barred three of them from entering the 
U.S.

   There was no indication that any of the sanctioned Americans had plans to 
travel to China.

   The sanctioned Chinese officials include Chen Quanguo, who heads the 
northwestern region of Xinjiang, where more than 1 million members of Muslim 
minority groups have been incarcerated in what China terms de-radicalization 
and retraining centers.

   Critics have likened the camps to prisons to which inmates are sentenced 
with little due process and where they are compelled to denounce their 
religion, language and culture and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party and 
its leader, Xi Jinping. An Associated Press investigation has also discovered 
allegations that women in Xinjiang's predominantly native Uighur ethnic group 
were forced to use birth control or undergo involuntary sterilizations.

   Ties between China and the U.S. have deteriorated steadily over the 
coronavirus pandemic, human rights, Beijing policy toward Hong Kong and trade. 
The Trump administration has also slapped visa bans on Chinese officials deemed 
responsible for barring foreigners' access to Tibet, along with those seen as 
enforcing a clampdown on civil rights in Hong Kong.

   Despite such moves, former national security adviser John Bolton has alleged 
in a new book that Trump told Xi he was right to build detention camps in 
Xinjiang.

   Additional visa restrictions are being placed on other Communist Party 
officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or 
abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs and members of other minority groups.

   In addition to Chen, Xinjiang's party secretary and a member of the 
national-level Politburo, the other sanctioned officials were Zhu Hailun, party 
secretary of the Xinjiang political and legal committee; Wang Mingshan, party 
secretary of the Xinjiang public security bureau; and Huo Liujun, a former top 
official in the region's police force.

   They and their immediate family members are banned from entering the United 
States.

   China has sought to crush any hint of separatist tendencies among Uighurs, 
which critics say amounts to a campaign of cultural genocide. Uighurs are 
mostly Muslim and their Turkic language, Muslim religion and central Asian 
culture make them distinct from China's Han majority.

   While China says it is bringing prosperity and development to the vast, 
resource-rich region, many among Xinjiang's native ethnic groups say they are 
being denied economic options in favor of migrants from elsewhere in China.

   Last December, Xinjiang authorities announced that the camps had closed and 
all the detainees had "graduated," a claim difficult to corroborate 
independently given tight surveillance and restrictions on reporting in the 
region. Some Uighurs and Kazakhs have told the AP that their relatives have 
been released, but many others say their loved ones remain in detention, were 
sentenced to prison or transferred to forced labor in factories.

   In October 2019, the United States imposed visa restrictions on Chinese 
officials "believed to be responsible for, or complicit in" the detention of 
Muslims in Xinjiang. It also blacklisted more than two dozen Chinese companies 
and agencies linked to abuses in the region --- including surveillance 
technology manufacturers and Xinjiang's public security bureau --- effectively 
blocking them from buying U.S. products.

   China's officially atheist Communist government at first denied the 
existence of the internment camps in Xinjiang, but now says they are vocational 
training facilities aimed at countering Muslim radicalism and separatist 
tendencies.

© 2020 CHS Inc.

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