The US on Thursday imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on three senior officials of the ruling Chinese Communist Party for alleged human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other ethnic minority groups in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
The three officials are Chen Quanguo, CCP Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR); Zhu Hailun, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee (XPLC); and Wang Mingshan, the current Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).
As a result, they and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
“The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the CCP’s attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behaviour,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
In a separate statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world.
Announcing the sanctions, Pompeo also placed additional visa restrictions on other CCP officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the unjust detention or abuse of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang. Their family members may also be subject to these restrictions, he said.
“These designations and visa restrictions complement the US Department of the Treasury’s announcement today that it is designating the XPSB, as well as four current or former officials of the People’s Republic of China – Chen Quanguo; Zhu Hailun; Wang Mingshan; and Huo Liujun – for their roles in serious human rights abuse,” Pompeo said.
Before ramping up the CCP’s campaign of repression in Xinjiang, Chen oversaw extensive abuses in Tibetan areas, using many of the same horrific practices and policies CCP officials currently employ in Xinjiang, Pompeo said.
In recent years, China has faced severe criticism from western countries over persistent reports of mass detention of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.