US House votes for sanctions on Chinese officials over Uighur treatment


The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to counter what it calls the “arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment” of Uighur Muslims in China.

The bill calls for “targeted sanctions” on members of the Chinese government – and names the Communist Party secretary in the Xinjiang autonomous region, Chen Quanguo.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and President Trump.

China’s foreign ministry reacted angrily, calling the bill “malicious”.

The passing of the bill comes days after Mr Trump signed into law a bill that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong – leading to condemnation from China.

The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act 2019 bill was passed by 407 to 1 in the House of Representatives on Tuesday night.

Republican Thomas Massie, from Kentucky, voted against the bill. He also voted against the Hong Kong bill.

The purpose of the bill is “to address gross violations of universally recognised human rights, including the mass internment of over 1,000,000 Uighurs”.

It also accuses China of “systematically discriminating” against Uighurs by “denying them a range of civil and political rights, including the freedoms of expression, religion, movement and a fair trial”.

The bill details some of the policies allegedly carried out by China against Muslims in Xinjiang.

These include:

“Pervasive, high-tech surveillance, including the collection of DNA samples from children.”

“The use of QR codes outside homes to gather information on how frequently individuals pray.”

“Facial and voice recognition software and “predictive policing” databases.”

The Uighur bill calls for sanctions on Chinese officials who are “credibly alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang”.

It also names Xinjiang’s Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo, who has been dubbed the “architect” of the camps.

The bill calls on Mr Trump to “condemn abuses” against the Uighurs, for China to immediately close all the camps, and to “ensure respect for internationally-guaranteed human rights”