The House of Representatives in the US passed legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese oppression of Uighur Muslims. The bill is now with the White House for signing by the President.
The bill got overwhelming support in the house, with only one member opposing it. At the Senate too, the bill got unanimous support.
Now all eyes are onto hold China responsible for human rights violations of Uighurs by the Chinese government.
The bill demands sanctions against those repressing Uighurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.
According to the UN, more than a million Muslim Uighurs are detained in camps.
The legislation goes on to name Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party’s Secretary in the Xinjiang region, and a member of Politburo responsible for “gross violations” against the minorities in China.
The bill also calls for action by US companies and US national operating in Xinjiang to ensure that forced labourers are not used to manufacture products.
The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said that Congress’ overwhelming support to the bill would counter Chinese human rights abuses against the Muslim minorities.
China has maintained a stand that there are no violations of Uighurs’ rights and are not detained. They work in vocational training centres.
The bill allows the US President to compile a list of human rights violators within 180 days. The officials named in the list will be subject to sanctions.
The latest measure highlights the sharp decline in bilateral ties between the US and China, especially after the COVID pandemic broke out. The US has accused China of spreading novel coronavirus across the world.
Recently the US government also expressed concern over China’s overture to contain dissent in Hong Kong.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extending support to anti-government protests in Hong Kong said the US no longer views the former British colony as autonomous.
People from the Xinjiang region have protested against Beijing’s harsh measures. Beijing has reacted to these protests by using heavy-handed tactics.
In late 2019, the Congress had voted against the crackdown on ethnic Muslim minorities like Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz.