As per reports, China, on October 9 has opposed the US decision to restrict visas for Chinese officials who are connected to the suppression of Xinjiang Muslims and has asked Washington to scrap the restrictions. The US has stepped up its pressure on China for the alleged treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Western region of China. The Human rights group say that more than a million are held in so-called 're-education' camps.
Earlier in the week, Washington blacklisted 28 Chinese entities who were involved in rights violations in Xinjiang which China has said were based on groundless accusations. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions on Twitter on October 8 advising China to end its campaign of repression in the province and release those who are being held in camps.
Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 8, 2019
China recently had denied any existence of camps but later said that alleged camps are actually vocational education centre where people learn Mandarin and job skills as necessary counter-terrorism.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has reportedly said that the United States is disregarding facts by slandering and smearing China on Xinjiang-related issues. He said that US actions were guided by sinister intentions. Mike Pompeo stated in a statement criticising China in the region as pervasive, high tech surveillance which is a part of highly repressive Chinese policy.
Reports suggest that in 2017, Xinjiang authorities passed “anti-extremism” regulations that banned an array of behaviours and customs practised by Uighur community, thereby, paving way for a regional crackdown on certain Muslim practices. Crackdown list included practices like growing 'abnormal' facial hair as well as wearing robes that covered the whole body and face. The authorities in the region have started a sweeping surveillance system in the region. As per Human Rights Watch, a mobile app known as Integrated Joint Operations Platforms, gathered information from different sources like facial-recognition camera, wifi sniffers and home visits.
The entities included in the list are video surveillance companies like Hikvision and artificial intelligence firms like Megvii Technology and SensTime. The sanction list also includes 18 public security bureaus in Xinjiang, a police training academy and eight businesses.
(With agency inputs)