Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

China says opposes U.S. House bill on Uighurs

China says opposes U.S. House bill on Uighurs

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The bill requires the U.S. president to condemn abuses against Muslims and call for the closure of the camps in the country's far western region. It calls on the president, Donald Trump, to impose sanctions for the first time on a member of China's powerful politburo even as he seeks a trade deal with Beijing.

The legislation specifically names Chen Quanguo, the Communist party secretary of Xinjiang since 2016 following a five-year stint in Tibet, whose appointment marked the beginning of the sweeping security clampdown.

President Trump sent the stock drop when he said Tuesday he had no "deadline, quot; for a trade agreement with China, suggesting he would wait until after the 2020 presidential elections".

The bill on Xinjiang follows similar legislation related to Hong Kong, which Trump signed into law last week in the face of vocal opposition from China.

Analysts say China's reaction to passage of the Uighur bill could be stronger, although some doubted it would go so far as imposing visa bans on the likes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has called China's treatment of Uighurs "the stain of the century" and has been repeatedly denounced by Beijing.

The foreign ministry, in a statement attributed to spokeswoman Hua Chunying, said Xinjiang is China's internal affair and urged the U.S.to correct its mistakes and stop the bill from becoming law.

China has consistently denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and says the camps are providing vocational training.

China had already moved to sanction some human rights organizations and halt US naval visits to Hong Kong in response to last week's two new USA laws - one to place the territory's special trading status under annual review and the other to ban the export of crowd control devices to the city's police.

The legislation adds to tensions between the two superpowers just as they are locked in negotiations to finalize a "phase one" deal to resolve their protracted trade war.

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"We can not be silent". "Today, Congress took another important step to hold Chinese officials accountable for egregious and ongoing human rights abuses".

China said on Wednesday it resolutely opposes the latest bill.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called China's treatment of the Uighurs "an outrage to the collective conscience of the world", adding that "America is watching".

China will respond further depending on the development of the situation, the statement said.

"I'm not sure it's the Xinjiang issue being more sensitive than Hong Kong, I think there's a sort of piling on factor here that the Chinese are concerned about", Johnson said.

The president would be required to impose visa and financial restrictions on the listed individuals under the Global Magnitsky Act.

The House bill would require the State Department to produce a report within one year on the crackdown in Xinjiang.

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.

And it would require the Commerce Department to ban USA exports to entities in Xinjiang that are known to be used in the detention or surveillance of Muslim minorities, including facial recognition technology.

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