A bill has been passed calling for the Trump administration to sanction Chinese officials over human rights violations, and ban exports in response to China’s persecution of its Muslim Uighur ethnic group.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, Dec, 3, passed the legislation in a 407-1 vote, amending an earlier Senate bill to restrict the export of devices that could be used to monitor or limit the communication of the Uighur group, reports Fox News.
The bill, called the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, denounces the detention of an estimated 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and others in China’s far west Xinjiang region, home to the predominantly Muslim minority groups.
The bill would require the White House to submit a list of specific Chinese officials in charge of human rights violation to Congress within 120 days.
It also calls for sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for the abuses, including Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo.
It calls on President Trump to condemn the abuses against Muslims in China and call for the closure of mass detention camps in Xinjiang autonomous region, according to Reuters.
“By passing this bill, Congress is showing that the United States will not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the oppressed,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement. “As with the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act, we are sending a simple but powerful message to the Communist Party: power cannot be maintained at the expense of the rights of the people without substantial consequences.”
House and Senate lawmakers are currently working to align the two versions of the bills passed by the separate chambers for a final version by the end of the year, according to the Hill.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, told Bloomberg News “It’s not about the particulars of it, it’s not about the policy of it.”
“We need to get something sent over here that’s acceptable to both sides and that we could hopefully persuade [the Senate] Banking [Committee] to waive jurisdiction on it,” Rubio added.
China responded with swift condemnation Wednesday after U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved the bill, further straining ties after President Donald Trump last week signed separate human rights legislation on Hong Kong, according to the Associated Press.
“It is regrettable that U.S. Congress has not only turned a blind eye to Xinjiang’s efforts to combat terrorism and protect human rights in accordance with laws and regulations, but also to Xinjiang’s current economic development, social stability, national unity and religious harmony,” said the Foreign Affairs Commission of China
Last week, President Trump signed two bills to support human rights and pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong which infuriated Beijing’s regime. In response, China announced it would suspend U.S military vessels and aircraft visits to Hong Kong.