United States 'deeply troubled' by alleged Chinese crackdown in Xinjiang

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 14, 2018

Towards the end of the last month, a group of USA lawmakers asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose sanctions on seven Chinese officials, including Chen Quanguo, the Communist party chief in Xinjiang, saying he had overseen the crackdown.

"We have a lot of tools at our disposal". "We're not going to preview any sanctions that may or may not happen", Nauert said.

The economic penalties would be one of the first times the Trump administration has taken action against China because of human rights violations.

They spoke of Muslims being detained without proper cause and of their religion being repressed under mass surveillance.

China foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to give a detailed response to the report and said that Human Rights Watch was a group "full of prejudice" against China that distorts facts.

Detainees in these political re-education camps have not been charged with any crime, have no access to lawyers or contact with relatives.

In the camps, the Uighurs are reportedly forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, espouse the Communist party and denounce Islam.

"If they resist, or officials deem they have failed their lessons, they are punished".

Punishments for refusing to follow instructions in the camp could mean being denied food, being forced to stand for 24 hours or even solitary confinement, it said.

Discussions have gained momentum within the United States government over possible economic penalties in response to reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China's far western region, which have prompted an global outcry.

For decades, the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang were the target of the Chinese government's surveillance and suppression.

Like Tibet, Xinjiang - which has a history of independent rule and largely non-Han Chinese population - has always been viewed with some suspicion by the authorities in Beijing, fearful it could become a hotbed of separatist, or in its case, Islamist organizing.

Officials from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said various reports from the region indicate that Muslims are "being treated as enemies of the state exclusively on the basis of their ethno-religious identity".

New York-based HRW, in a report released on September 10, presented evidence of what it labeled the "arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily life" by the Chinese government in its Xinjiang region.

The new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report comes after a United Nations committee last month raised alarm at the "numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism", CNN reported.

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