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US sanctions senior China officials over Xinjiang genocide of Uighur Muslims

A Treasury Department official said China would continue to face the consequences “as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang”

Published: Updated:

Washington announced sanctions on two senior Chinese officials for human rights violations Monday, just days after the first US-China talks were held under the Biden administration.

The latest round of sanctions targeted Wang Junzheng, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

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The pair are accused of being involved with “serious human rights abuse against members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” the State Department said after the Treasury Department announced the move in coordination with the European Union, Britain and Canada.

Beijing’s treatment of the Uighurs has been strongly condemned with detaining camps present in the Xinjiang region. China claims they are centers for “job training” for those who have been trained by “jihadi thinking,” Beijing says.

“Amid growing international condemnation, (China) continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after the sanctions announcement.

A Treasury Department official said China would continue to face the consequences “as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang.”

“The Chinese government treats almost all expressions of faith as a sign of religious ‘extremism’ or ethnic separatism,” a separate Treasury Department statement said.

For its part, the EU blasted China for its continued policies of human rights abuses. “Rather than change its policies and address our legitimate concerns, China has again turned a blind eye, and these measures are regrettable and unacceptable,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.