Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing on October 9 that the United States was deliberately interfering in internal affairs in China, referring to the Visa curbs declared by the US. The United States said on October 8 that it would curb visas for Chinese officials unless they stop repression of Uighurs and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. The move comes after a day of imposing commercial restrictions. The move adds to the conflict between the US and China which has been growing since the deteriorating trade relations. It is also the most forceful attempt by a foreign power to address what some rights groups call a historic crisis in Xinjiang.
US Secretary Mike Pompeo on Tuesday blamed the Chinese authorities for forcibly detaining over one million Muslims in a brutal, systematic campaign to erase religion and culture in Xinjiang. Calling the Chinese policies, 'draconian', he added that the country needs to end its surveillance and repression. He added that the country should release all those arbitrarily detained ceasing its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad. Following this, Pompeo wrote a tweet that mentioned the Visa curbs.
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
The State Department added that the move will also affect even the family members of the officials, including children who may be seeking to study in the United States. Yet the department did not specify which officials were affected due to US confidentiality laws. US lawmakers at the same time have specifically asked for action against Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief for Xinjiang as he earlier led iron-fisted policies aimed at crushing dissent in Tibet.
Chinese Authorities voiced anger at the move, denying any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and accusing the United States of using made-up pretexts for its interference. The Chinese Embassy in the US tweeted on behalf of China saying that the US is interfering in China's internal affairs and violating norms of governing international affairs. The Embassy advocated the issue by further saying that the counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang are aimed to eradicate the breeding soil of extremism and terrorism. They further wrote that the moves in Xinjiang are in line with Chinese laws and international practices, and are supported by all 25 million people of various ethnic groups there. The visa curb followed China's protests over the US Commerce Department blacklisting of 28 Chinese entities including video surveillance firm Hikvision and artificial intelligence companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime over their involvement in Xinjiang. China voiced its "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" over the move and denied any human rights abuses in the region. Even the foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing that the accusations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China's internal affairs.
(with inputs from agencies)