The United States placed sanctions on two Chinese officials on Monday for “severe human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims, a move coordinated with the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which imposed sanctions on the same individuals and others, according to the Treasury Department.
“Chinese authorities will continue to face consequences as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang,” said the Treasury Department’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “Treasury is committed to promoting accountability for the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”
Wang Junzheng, Secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Party Committee, and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, have been appointed by the US. The Treasury Department said, “These persons have been named pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds on and incorporates the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of severe human rights violations and corruption.”
The Chinese campaign against Uyghurs has been identified as genocide by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Amid growing international condemnation, the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Blinken said in a statement, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China. “The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities.”
The coordinated sanctions announcement comes days after a tense standoff between Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and senior Chinese officials over US concerns about Beijing’s human rights violations, territorial aggression, and oppressive economic practices.
Last week, Blinken stressed that the US was also sharing the concerns of allies, and that Washington will work in concert with them in the future, a strategy that US officials believe is more successful than going after China one-on-one.
On Monday, he said that the US had “taken this action today in solidarity with our partners in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union … These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working multilaterally to advance respect for human rights and shining a light on those in the PRC government and CCP responsible for these atrocities.”
The Treasury Department also made a statement saying, “complementary actions using these global human rights sanctions regimes enable likeminded partners to form a unified front to identify, promote accountability for, and disrupt access to the international financial system by those who abuse human rights.”
On Monday, the United States and the European Union announced a second package of coordinated sanctions, this time targeting Myanmar military officials and two military units for their violent suppression of democratic protests in the country.
In a dramatic show of international unity against China’s oppressive policies, diplomats from more than two dozen countries gathered in Beijing on Monday to try to obtain entry to a Chinese court as detained Canadian Michael Kovrig faced espionage charges. They were turned down.
Politico was first to report the US was set to unveil sanctions.
According to the Official Journal of the European Union, the European Union declared sanctions against Zhu Hailun, the former head of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and three other top officials for overseeing the detention and indoctrination program targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
China retaliated almost immediately, announcing sanctions against ten European politicians and four companies on Monday for “maliciously spreading lies and misinformation.” They will be barred from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as doing business with their associated companies and institutions will be restricted, it said.