Washington: The United States on Tuesday (local time) introduced visa restrictions against Chinese government and Communist Party officials over human rights violations in the country’s Xinjiang region.
Washington also asked Beijing to end its “draconian surveillance and repression” against the minority Muslims community. It also said that China should release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad.
“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang,” US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo tweeted.
“China has forcibly detained over one million Muslims in a brutal, systematic campaign to erase religion and culture in Xinjiang. China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad,” he added.
The new restrictions come a day after the US Commerce Department said it had added 28 Chinese organisations to a United States blacklist over concerns about their role in human rights violations, effectively blocking those entities from buying American products.
The including Zhejiang Dahua Technology, IFLYTEK Co, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co, and Yixin Science and Technology Co., have been implicated in China’s campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, The New York Times reported.
The entities list Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products.
The list also includes companies that specialises in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and data as well as provincial and local security bureaus.
The new actions by the United States might further deteriorate the relations between the two countries. This has come days as high-level Chinese and American officials are expected to meet in Washington in a bid to resolve the trade barrier between the two countries.
Over the longer term, the blacklist could hamper the entities’ access to the United States and European markets, as well as damage recruitment efforts.
China has faced growing condemnation from human rights groups in recent months for its detention of up to one million ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in large internment camps in Xinjiang.
Beijing has constructed an advanced surveillance system, in what it describes as an effort to fight Islamic extremism among the Uighurs, the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang. However, minorities allege that Beijing has been trying to suppress their culture and religion.
Human Rights Watch China’s actions by saying that the violations are of a “scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution”.