China’s fury: US Senate pass bill to free imprisoned Uyghur minority and impose sanctions.

The progressive act to promote the release of the millions of Uyghur believed to be incarcerated in Chinese ‘re-education camps’ was championed U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, late on Wednesday. The decision came on September 11, and it is a major one: it’s bipartisan, it was passed unanimously, but above all, it’s the first such legislation in the world. For the first time ever, a legislative body of a sovereign nation condemns the abuses perpetrated against Muslim Uyghurs and calls for action.

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As soon as the act was announced China reacted with fury saying the act was a "gross interference in China’s internal affairs".

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said: “We urge the US to respect the objective facts and abandon its cold war mentality and stop making use of Xinjiang matters to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

The statement from Beijing urged the US to “put a stop” to the act to “avoid damaging Sino-US relations”.

Beijing claims the camps are “vocational training centres” where “trainees” can learn Chinese and gain professional skills to discourage “terrorism and religious extremism”.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping

(Image: GETTY)
Xinjiang Province

Xinjiang Province

(Image: GETTY)

The act urges US President Donald Trump to condemn the human rights abuses in Xinjiang and petition President Xi Jinping of China to close the network of concentration camps.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explains that the new act has the power to “impose targeted sanctions” that would target Chinese officials who are “credibly alleged” to be involved in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Chen Quanguo is Beijing’s top official in Xinjiang province and could be hit by potential US based sanctions.

The bill is an important step in countering the totalitarian Chinese government’s widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of over one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.

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Xinjiang Province

Xinjiang Province

(Image: GETTY)

Republican Marco Rubio said: “It’s long overdue for the United States to hold Chinese government and Communist Party officials accountable for the systemic and egregious human rights abuses and probable crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, including the internment in ‘political re-education’ camps of more than one million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities.

“I urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation and send it to the President’s desk.”

Democrat Bob Menendez said: “I am pleased that the Senate has taken action today to pass this important piece of legislation.

“This legislation makes clear that Congress will not turn a blind eye as millions of Uyghur Muslims are unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labour camps by an autocratic regime."

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"And while the Trump Administration has not seen fit to make the tragic situation in Xinjiang a priority, I am happy to see Congress is taking the necessary steps to hold accountable officials in the Chinese government and Communist Party responsible for gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity.”

The legislation will see the release of a report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers.

The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.

An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect US citizens and from Chinese government harassment and intimidation on American soil.

Xinjiang Province

Xinjiang Province

(Image: GETTY)

The establishment of a new “double-hatted” position at the State Department (Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists.

A report by the CEO of the US Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of US broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally.

A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown on Uyghurs and the transfer and development of technology facilitating surveillance and mass internment.

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The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.

Now the bill turns to the House of Representatives.

If both chambers of the US Congress end up passing it, it will be the first legislation in the world designed to aleviate the suffering of the Uyghur minority unlawfully detained in Xinjiang.

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