WASHINGTON – The Biden government on Monday sanctioned two Chinese officials, citing their role in serious human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
China’s Wang Junzheng, secretary of the Xinjiang Manufacturing and Construction Corps Party Committee, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, have been punished against Uyghurs for their links to “arbitrary detention and aggravated physical abuse, including serious human rights abuses,” said the Treasury Department in a statement on Monday.
The Treasury Department accused China of using repressive tactics, including mass detention and surveillance, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the region for the past five years.
“Targets of this surveillance are often arrested and reportedly subjected to various methods of torture and” political re-education “, the Treasury Department wrote in a statement.
Beijing previously denied US allegations that it committed genocide against the Uyghurs, a Muslim population native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China.
“Amid growing international condemnation, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our allies around the world to demand an immediate end to the crimes in the PRC and justice for the many victims,” added the nation’s top diplomat.
The sanctions imposed by the Biden government complement measures taken today by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.
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China has also said the allegations of the use of detention centers are unfounded and that it is instead using vocational training facilities to stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.
The sanctions follow a controversial meeting between Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan as well as top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska.
Before the talks, Blinken slammed China’s widespread use of “coercion and aggression” on the international stage, warning that the US would push back if necessary.
“China is using coercion and aggression to systematically undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermine democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and make maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law,” said Flashing at a press conference in Japan.
President Joe Biden, who spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, previously said his approach to China would be different from that of his predecessor as he would work more closely with allies to achieve a backlash against Beijing.
“We will face China’s economic abuse,” said Biden in a speech at the State Department, describing Beijing as America’s “most serious competitor.”
“But we are also ready to work with Beijing if it is in the US interest,” said Biden. “We will compete from a position of strength by improving at home and working with our allies and partners.”