With the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refusing to accept responsibility for its human rights abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang, the State Department is committed to making the CCP accountable. The push for accountability came despite threats of sanctions from the CCP against U.S. officials.

“The United States is committed to holding accountable those involved in human rights abuses around the world, including those responsible for the human rights crisis in Xinjiang, China,” said a State Department representative as reported by the Washington Examiner after sanctions were announced on Monday, July 13, by CCP officials.

“Beijing’s July 13 announcement to impose retaliatory sanctions on U.S. government officials and organizations who have worked tirelessly to expose the PRC’s human rights abuses further demonstrates the CCP’s refusal to take responsibility for its actions.”

Sanctions imposed on Chinese officials

The Chinese sanctions came after the Trump administration last week announced the sanctions to be imposed on CCP officials, including a refusal to grant travel visas for any officials known to be involved in human rights abuse against Uighurs and other minority groups in China.

The sanctions would involve those officials noted, “for their connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, which reportedly include arbitrary mass detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious abuses.”

“These threats will not deter us from taking concrete action to hold CCP officials accountable for their ongoing campaign of human rights abuses against members of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, including mass detentions, coercive forced abortions and forced sterilizations, and restrictions on religious and cultural identities,” the State Department official added.

“There is no moral equivalency between these PRC sanctions and actions taken by countries holding accountable CCP officials for their human rights abuses,” reports the Examiner.

China imposes sanctions in retaliation

Earlier on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced that China would impose “corresponding sanctions” against Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, GOP Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

“We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop any words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests,” Hua told the Chinese press. “The U.S. actions seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

Senator Cruz’s response came in a sarcastic tweet: “Bummer. I was going to take my family to Beijing for summer vacation, right after visiting Tehran.”
Cruz later said the CCP was “terrified and lashing out” after being criticized for its treatment of the Uighurs.

“They forced over one million Uighurs into concentration camps and engaged in ethnic cleansing, including horrific forced abortions and sterilizations,” Cruz said. “These are egregious human rights atrocities that cannot be tolerated. Unfortunately for CCP leaders, I don’t have plans to travel to the authoritarian regime that covered up the coronavirus pandemic and endangered millions of lives worldwide.”

Senator Rubio also responded to the sanctions with a tweet, “The Communist Party of #China has banned me from entering the country. I guess they don’t like me?”

Rubio is the co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). After introducing the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, it was signed into law in June by President Trump.

“The U.S. sanctions Chinese officials for abusing human rights; Beijing sanctions us for defending human rights,” the CECC said Monday. “Instead of blaming others, the People’s Republic of China must stop the mass internet, forced labor, and human rights against Uyghur and other ethnic minorities … The CECC will not be silenced.”

China has become a pariah state

Ambassador-at-Large Sam Brownback tweeted that “this administration continues to lead on efforts to protect #religiousfreedom & address the PRC govt’s abuses” after sanctions against the CCP.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted that “the # ChineseCommunistParty’s sanctions on the U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom & U.S. lawmakers is just the latest example of Chairman Xi’s totalitarian leadership that has turned China into a pariah state.”

During the past three years, more than 2 million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have been held in concentration camps in China’s western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Mass sterilization techniques have been carried out against the Uighur population in the CCP’s latest crime against humanity, as they attempt to obliterate them.

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