- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The State Department on Tuesday imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials that Washington accuses of engaging in an abusive crackdown against Muslim ethnic minorities in northwest China.

“The Chinese government has instituted a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing the restrictions.

Mr. Pompeo added that Chinese officials have targeted the groups with “mass detentions in internment camps; pervasive, high-tech surveillance; draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities; and coercion of individuals to return from abroad to an often perilous fate in China.”

The visa restrictions will block U.S. travel access to “Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang,” the secretary of state said, adding that “family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.”

The announcement marked the latest in a mounting push by the Trump administration to pressure China over its actions in Xinjiang — actions that international rights groups have condemned over the past year.



While the State Department did not offer details on specific Chinese officials being targeted with visa restrictions, Mr. Pompeo’s statement came a day after the administration announced new export restrictions on U.S. products exported to 28 Chinese entities, including elements of the Public Security Bureau and commercial companies in Xinjiang.

The U.S. “calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate,” Mr. Pompeo said.

“The protection of human rights is of fundamental importance, and all countries must respect their human rights obligations and commitments,” he said. “The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these abuses.”

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