US, allies announce sanctions against Chinese officials for "serious human rights" violations

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Washington, DC [US], March 22 (ANI): As China continues to impose severe crackdowns on the Uyghur and other minority communities, the US announced sanctions Monday against two Chinese officials for "serious human rights abuses", the Treasury Department said.

"Chinese authorities will continue to face consequences as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang... Treasury is committed to promoting accountability for the Chinese government's human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities," said the Treasury Department's Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M Gacki as quoted by CNN.

CNN further reported that The US designated Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

"These individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption," the Treasury Department said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the Chinese campaign against Uyghurs as genocide.

"Amid growing international condemnation, the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," Blinken said in a statement.

He added, "The United States 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."

CNN reported that the top US diplomat said that the US had "taken this action today in solidarity with our partners in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union ... These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working multilaterally to advance respect for human rights and shining a light on those in the PRC government and CCP responsible for these atrocities."

The Treasury Department said in a statement that, "complementary actions using these global human rights sanctions regimes enable like-minded partners to form a unified front to identify, promote accountability for, and disrupt access to the international financial system by those who abuse human rights."

The European Union announced its sanctions Monday, naming Zhu Hailun, former head of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and three other top officials, for overseeing the detention and indoctrination program targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, they said, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.

According to South China Morning Post, The sanctions are in response to alleged human rights abuses in the far western region of Xinjiang, where China is accused of detaining a million of Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in reeducation camps. Beijing says the camps are vocational training centres and part of efforts to combat terrorism.

The entity sanctioned is the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which the EU said: "is responsible for serious human rights violations in China, in particular, large-scale arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment inflicted upon Uygurs and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities".

South China Morning Post reported that it is the first time the EU has used its new human rights sanctioning regime on China. The last European sanctions aimed at China were an arms embargo after the violent crackdown on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The sanctions were adopted by the bloc's 27 foreign ministers at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday and then signed into EU law.

In retaliation to the bloc's sanctions, China has decided to introduce sanctions against ten European Union officials and four European organizations after accusing them of spreading lies and false information about the Xinjiang region.

"China decided to sanction ten people and four organizations who seriously harmed the country's sovereignty and interests by spreading lies and false information with evil intent," the ministry said in a statement as quoted by Sputnik.

The European Parliament President David Sassoli called the sanctions against EU lawmakers and organizations unacceptable, stressing that such actions by Beijing will have consequences.

"China's sanctions on MEPs, the Human Rights Subcommittee and EU bodies are unacceptable and will have consequences. The sanctions hit MEPs and @Europarl_EN bodies for expressing opinions in the exercise of their democratic duty Human rights are inalienable rights," Sassoli said on Twitter. (ANI)