The U.S. State Department hit targeted Chinese officials by imposing travel bans whom it accuses of repressing Uyghur Muslims, ethnic and other religious minorities. On Monday, the department announced that it is banning the Chinese officials from traveling to the United States because of their connection on crackdowns on religion and freedom of speech and suppressive acts in China and abroad.
The US government is enforcing travel bans on leading Chinese officials whom it blames for suppressing Uyghur Muslims, along with other ethnic & religious minorities. pic.twitter.com/blwdkw0l82
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) March 22, 2022
However, the State Department didn’t mention the names of officials whom they imposed travel ban. Instead, Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, stated that they slapped the sanctions on Chinese officials who are responsible for policies or actions intending at repressing spiritual and religious practitioners, human rights defenders, ethnic minority groups members, civil society organizers, journalists, peaceful protestors, and labor organizers in China and beyond.
Perpetrators of human rights abuses must continue to face consequences. The United States has taken action to impose visa restrictions on PRC officials for attempting to intimidate, harass, and repress dissidents and human rights defenders inside and outside of China.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 21, 2022
Genocides and Crimes Against Humanity
The recent Biden administration move adds to visa restrictions initially imposed under the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump over Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang western region and advocates for freedoms in Tibet and repression pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the United Nations (U.N.) says Chinese officials detained around one million Uyghurs in so-called counter-extremism centers in Xinjiang province.
Human Rights groups said that Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims amounts to crimes against humanity, including genocide. On the other hand, Beijing denied those allegations and defended its action by saying its policies towards the Uyghurs and other minorities are necessary to resist extremism. Moreover, sanctions from the State Department come some days after the U.S. president spoke with his Chinese counterpart amid growing United States-China tensions over the Russia-Ukraine war.
In addition, the United States raised concerns that Beijing may come to Russian aid – even by evading Western sanctions or by giving armed equipment aid – in its rising brutal aggression in Ukraine, and the U.S. president warned the Chinese president of the consequences and implications of such support during their phone call. Finally, Blinken demanded Beijing not deny families of Uyghur U.S. activists permission to leave China, which he described as a type of transnational repression.
However, yesterday, Blinken mainly underscored the oppression of Uyghur Muslims. Further, he said that visa restrictions would also be directed at Chinese officials involved in repressing other religious and ethnic minorities and others in China or abroad. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the United States, Liu Pengyu, said that by slapping restrictions on the officials of China the United States had violated global standards and norms and interfered in Chinese internal affairs. He announced that China would take forceful and firm actions to defend its national sovereignty.