Trump set to sign bill sanctioning Chinese officials over Xinjiang abuses

Beijing castigates Washington for bill ‘blatantly interfering in China's internal affairs’

Xinjiang unrest in 2009

Xinjiang unrest in 2009 (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. President Donald Trump will sign legislation that would impose sanctions on Chinese officials for suppressing Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang, reports said Tuesday (June 9).

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 was passed in the Senate and House in May. It provides a legal foundation on which to punish Chinese officials involved in the detention of and abuses against ethnic minorities in China's far western region, including Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and others, reported CNN.

While Trump will sign the bill, no timetable has been offered for the plan, according Reuters, citing a source familiar with the matter.

The move is likely to add fuel to an already strained relationship between Washington and Beijing, which have clashed with each other over a number of issues, including the handling of the coronavirus and the erosion of Hong Kong’s civil liberties.

China’s foreign ministry has condemned the bill for making what it calls unsubstantiated claims about China’s Xinjiang policy. In a repeated statement, it slammed the bill, saying it “smears our counterterrorism and deradicalization measures, and blatantly interferes in China's internal affairs.”

Trump said last week that he was not considering sanctioning Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) personally over Beijing’s pressing ahead with the national security legislation for Hong Kong. Nevertheless, he has instructed his administration to adopt measures to revoke the semi-autonomous territory's special trade status.