Amid deteriorating Sino-US relations, the United States imposed sanctions on a powerful Chinese firm and two officials for alleged involvement in the human rights abuse against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. The US Treasury Department said that it has blacklisted Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), along with Sun Jinlong, a former Political Commissar of the XPCC, and Peng Jiarui, the Deputy Party Secretary and Commander of the XPCC.
They have been blacklisted for their alleged connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region, which include mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, said in a statement that the US is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world.
According to the Treasury Department, the XPCC is a paramilitary organisation in the Xinjiang region that is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It said that the XPCC enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development that emphasizes subordination to central planning and resource extraction.
Earlier, the US State Department had announced sanctions on three senior Chinese officials and their families over gross human rights violations in Xinjiang region, banning their entry in the United States. The department had said that America will not stand idle as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) carries out human rights abuses targeting ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
“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 CCP’s attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behaviour,” State Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
China’s ambassador to the UK brazenly denied the human right violations of Uighur Muslims after he was confronted with drone footage of hundreds of blindfolded prisoners being led from a train. In an interview with the BBC, China’s envoy Liu Xiaoming insisted that Uighurs live in peaceful and harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups, adding there are no concentration camps in Xinjiang.