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US Congress approves China sanctions over Uyghur crackdown

New Europe - Elena Pavlovska

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a legislation calling for human rights sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for the oppression of Uyghur Muslims.

The Chinese Communist Party has for the last three years forced the Uyghur community into re-education camp in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in China that borders the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

Beijing has labelled the camps as “help centres”, which the Communist Party claims are designed to combat religious extremism. Leaked documents showed that the centers are forced ideological re-education camps. The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been incarcerated in the camps.

The bill singles out the region’s Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, a member of China’s political bureau, or Politburo, as responsible for “gross human rights violations” against the Uyghurs.

In support of the bill, congressman Michael McCaul stressed that Beijing is out to “completely eradicate an entire culture simply because it doesn’t fit within what the Chinese Communist Party deems ‘Chinese’”.

The Uyghur Human Rights Act will now be sent to the White House, where president Donald Trump can either veto the bill or sign it into law. Uyghur activists urged Trump to sign it into law “as a matter of priority and take immediate steps to implement it”.

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