Beijing on Thursday slammed a new US law that would sanction Chinese officials over the mass incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, saying it “maliciously attacks” China’s policy in the Xinjiang region.
On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign miistry said in a statement China will “resolutely hit back and the US will bear the burden of all subsequent consequences”.
The legislation, which passed Congress almost unanimously, requires the US administration to determine which Chinese officials are responsible for the “arbitrary detention, torture and harassment” of Uighurs and other minorities.
China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the act “rudely interferes in China’s internal affairs”, and urged the US to “immediately correct its mistakes”.
“This so-called act deliberately slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang and maliciously attacks China’s policy in governing Xinjiang,” the ministry said.
Last month, US Congress had approved sanctions against China over the mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs.
The House of Representatives voted with just one dissent in favour of the Uighur Human Rights Act, hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a major step to press China on the autonomy of Hong Kong.
Trump signed the act just as excerpts emerged from an explosive new book by his former national security advisor John Bolton, who said the president told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that he approved of the vast detention camps.
The law specifically mentions Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang. Previously posted in Tibet, Chen has built a reputation for clamping down on restive minorities, reports AFP.
A 2019 report by The New York Times revealed hundreds of pages of leaked internal government documents showing how China’s mass detention of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang came from directives by Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to “show absolutely no mercy” in the “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.”
The mass detention of Uighur Muslims in the name of “attending school” where they are being taught “mild methods to fight Islamic extremism” has actually been a brainwashing camp where the citizens are being separated from their religion and families.
After an earlier version of the law passed in December, the Chinese foreign ministry accused the United States of hypocrisy in its own “counter-terrorism” efforts.
Rubio and a Democrat, Representative James McGovern, have introduced separate legislation that would ban all exports from Xinjiang, a major supplier of cotton. The lawmakers say forced labor is so prevalent in Xinjiang that it is impossible to ensure that products from the region are free of slavery.
Since 2017, the authorities in Xinjiang have detained many hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in internment camps from the northwest region of the country. Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party, which is a far-reaching step since Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution of the 1966.
(With inputs from agency)