News ID: 262507
Published: 0555 GMT December 04, 2019

Washington must pay the price for legislation on Uighurs: Beijing

Washington must pay the price for legislation on Uighurs: Beijing

In the wake of a move by the US House of Representatives to overwhelmingly pass legislation seeking sanctions against senior Chinese officials over the crackdown on mainly Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, the government in Beijing has warned that a "price must be paid."

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.

US President Donald Trump had already angered Beijing after he signed legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting China earlier this week to impose sanctions on US-based NGOs and suspend future visits by US warships to the semi-autonomous territory.

Hours after the Uighur Act of 2019 passed the House late Tuesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday the bill should not become law and issued an ominous warning: "For all wrong actions and words... the proper price must be paid." Presstv reported.

China's vice minister of foreign affairs also later summoned William Klein, acting US charge d'affaires in China, to lodge a protest.

In response to Klein's meeting with vice minister Qin Gang, a US embassy spokesperson said the US would continue to call on Beijing to "end its draconian policies that for more than two years have terrorized its own citizens in Xinjiang."

The legislation condemns Beijing's "gross human rights violations" linked to the crackdown in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where upwards of one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in re-education camps.

The measure, which passed 407 to 1, is a stronger version of the bill that cleared the Senate in September. The texts must be reconciled into one bill for Trump's signature.

The latest House measure condemns the arbitrary mass detention of Uighurs and calls for closure of the re-education camps where, according to rights groups and US lawmakers, they have been held and abused.

The bill notably urges Trump to slap sanctions on Chinese officials allegedly behind the Uighur policy, including Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief for Xinjiang.

"Today the human dignity and human rights of the Uighur community are under threat from Beijing's barbarous actions, which are an outrage to the collective conscience of the world," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues shortly before the vote.

Congress "is taking a critical step to counter Beijing's horrific human rights abuses against Uighurs," she said.

Pelosi lashed out at Chinese authorities for orchestrating a crackdown that allegedly includes pervasive mass state surveillance, solitary confinement, beatings, forced sterilization "and other forms of torture".

'Wantonly smears China'

When asked if the bill could impact trade talks, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not directly answer the question.

But she said there was "no way this can have no effect on China-US relations as well as the two countries' cooperation in important areas".

In an earlier statement, Hua said the bill "wantonly smears China's efforts to eliminate extremism and combat terrorism" in Xinjiang.

The Chinese state-owned tabloid The Global Times quoted experts as saying Beijing will take "strong countermeasures" including releasing an "unreliable entity list" that could sanction and restrict some US entities in the country and impose sanctions on US officials.

Rights groups and witnesses accuse China of forcibly trying to draw Uighurs away from their Islamic customs and integrate them into the majority Han culture.

Beijing cast the facilities as "vocational education centers" where "students" learn Mandarin and job skills in an effort to steer them away from religious extremism, terrorism and separatism.

'Gives Uighurs hope'

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

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

Thomas Massie, the sole member of Congress to vote against both the Hong Kong and Uighur bills, said he did so because he considered the issues to be Chinese domestic affairs.

The Uighur Human Rights Project (UHRP), an advocacy group, said the US action "paves the way for other countries to act" and "gives Uighurs hope".

   
KeyWords
 
Resource: presstv
Comments
Comment
Name:
Email:
Comment:
Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 0/0737 sec