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China calls it a ‘gross interference’, warns US of a ‘price’

US House passes bill over Uighurs

Published : Thursday, 5 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 128


WASHINGTON, Dec 4: The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to toughen Washington's position against China regarding its treatment of minority Uighurs, calling on President Donald Trump to apply sanctions against senior Chinese officials.
The Uighur Act of 2019 condemns Beijing's "gross human rights violations" linked to the crackdown in the western region of Xinjiang, where as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being 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 two versions must be reconciled into one bill that gets sent to Trump's desk.
The bill notably urges Trump to slap sanctions on Chinese officials 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.
Hours after the Uighur Act of 2019 passed the House late Tuesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said the bill should not become law and issued an ominous warning: "For all wrong actions and words... the proper price must be paid."
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.
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 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 includes pervasive mass state surveillance, solitary confinement, beatings, forced sterilisation "and other forms of torture."
When asked if the bill could impact trade talks, Hua 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.



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