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Pompeo Sanctions Senior Chinese Officials over Treatment of Uighurs

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced sanctions on senior Chinese officials believed to be involved in the mass imprisonment of Muslims in Xinjiang Province.

Three top officials in the government of Xinjiang, including the Party Secretary of the province Chen Quanguo, will be barred from entering the U.S., along with their families. The sanctions will also cover other officials “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the unjust detention or abuse of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang,” according to a statement by Pompeo.

“The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the [Chinese Communist Party’s] attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behavior,” Pompeo wrote.

China has forced hundreds of thousands of Uighur and other Muslim residents of Xinjiang into “reeducation” camps, where authorities attempt to suppress prisoners’ religious affiliation and inculcate greater loyalty to the Chinese state. Widespread allegations of torture have emerged from these camps.

Additionally, a June report by Adrian Zenz of the Jamestown Institute concluded that China is implementing a campaign of forced population control among Muslims in Xinjiang.

“This campaign likely aims to sterilize rural minority women with three or more children, as well as some with two children — equivalent to at least 20 percent of all childbearing-age women,” Zenz wrote. “By 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80 percent of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries (IUDs or sterilizations), with actual shares likely being much higher.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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