U.S. mulls sanctions against China over Uighur camps: New York Times

Human rights measures will add to trade war friction

Uighurs protesting in the U.S. against Chinese repression.

Uighurs protesting in the U.S. against Chinese repression. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The United States might soon slap sanctions on Chinese officials and companies over the massive internment campaign against its Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang, reports said Tuesday.

It would be a rare occasion on which the administration of President Donald Trump takes action against other countries based on human rights violations, the New York Times wrote.

Members of Congress recently asked the administration to take action against seven Chinese officials, including the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang, but U.S. government circles are also considering restrictions on sales of surveillance technology which might be used in the wide-ranging Chinese government monitoring campaign, in particular against Uighurs.

Human Rights Watch released a report last weekend recommending targeted sanctions on Chinese officials, refuse visas and control relevant technology, the New York Times reported Monday.

Beijing has never acknowledged descriptions of the scale of the internment policy, while it says the aim is to fight extremism and “re-educate” problematic citizens.

The U.S. State Department told the New York Times it was “deeply troubled by the Chinese government’s worsening crackdown” on Muslims, adding that “at least in the hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions” of people have been thrown into detention centers in China since April last year.

Any new sanctions have to be announced by the U.S. Treasury Department after consultations with other administration units and Congress, the New York Times reported.