The Britain government on Monday, March 22 imposed its first sanctions against Chinese government officials who have been linked to human rights violations of China's Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang province. The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the sanctions against what the government termed as "perpetrators of gross human rights violations". According to the reports by AP, the sanctions involve freezing of their assets in the EU and a ban on them travelling in the bloc. European citizens and companies are not permitted to provide them with any sort of financial assistance.
As per the reports by PTI, Raab said, “The evidence of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang cannot be ignored - including mass detention and surveillance, reports of torture and forced sterilisation”. He added, “Working with our international partners we are imposing targeted sanctions to hold those responsible to account”.
The sanctioned officials include Zhu Hailun, who is the former Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR); Wang Junzheng, who is the Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of XUAR and also its former Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee; Wang Mingshan, Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and former Director of the Public Security Department of XUAR; and Chen Mingguo, Vice Chairman of the Government of the XUAR and Director of the XUAR Public Security Department. As per the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the measures come as part of an intensive diplomacy by the UK, US, Canada and EU to deliver a complementary action on Xinjiang. The sanctions aim at targeting the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a state-run organisation which is responsible for security and in the areas administered by the XPCC (Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps).
In another significant development, a report by the UK's MP said that some British firms could be complicit in the use of forced labour in Xinjiang region. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said that there was a lack of transparency in supply chains of UK firms and failures in government and the British members of the parliament said that companies especially dealing in fashion, retail, media and technology could all be implicated. The MPs also called for the firms to be subjected to a fine and blacklist those that failed to change considering the atrocities reportedly faced by Muslim ethnic minority in China’s western region of Xinjiang. Hence, the committee called for the government to “toughen anti-modern slavery requirements for businesses and develop new measures compelling companies to ensure forced labour plays no part in their supply chain”.