US President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that calls for him to impose sanctions on Chinese officials for Beijing’s crackdown on the minority Muslim Uighur ethnic group.
The House of Representatives and Senate sent the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 to Trump in May. Its title includes an alternative spelling for Uighur.
It calls for Trump to submit to Congress a list of senior Chinese government officials who are engaged in or responsible for serious human rights abuses, and mandates State Department report to Congress on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including individuals detained in forced labor camps.
China’s Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
In a report last September, Human Rights Watch accused the Chinese government of a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
According to the 117-page report, the Chinese government conducted “mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment” of Uighur Turks in the region.
China denies the allegations, maintaining the camps are vocational training centers.