US Lawmakers Urge China Sanctions over Abuse of Muslims

US Lawmakers Urge China Sanctions over Abuse of Muslims

Thursday, 30 August, 2018 - 11:00
Senator Marco Rubio. AP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
A group of bipartisan US senators are pushing hard for sanctions against Chinese officials over widespread surveillance of Uighurs, a majority-Muslim ethnic minority, in China's western region of Xinjiang.

A letter spearheaded by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Chris Smith on Wednesday called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to apply Magnitsky Act sanctions against the Chinese Communist Party for its repression on the Uighurs.

The Magnitsky Act was originally designed to target Russian Rights violators, but has been expanded to allow sanctions for abuses anywhere in the world.

Muslims in Xinjiang were “being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored,” said the letter, signed by 15 US senators and representatives, besides Rubio and Smith.

“The Chinese government is creating a high-tech police state in (Xinjiang) that is both a gross violation of privacy and international human rights,” the letter added.

In Beijing on Thursday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States did “not have the right” to make “unwarranted criticism” of China’s policies toward ethnic minorities, and pointed to racial discrimination in the US.

“If viewed without bias or prejudice, China’s ethnic minority policies, and the rights and equality ethnic minorities enjoy, are even stronger than in the United States,” she told a regular news briefing.

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