On Friday, July 31, the Trump administration implemented several sanctions against a paramilitary group accused by U.S. officials of systematic human rights violations against ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the new sanctions not only target the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), but also includes two Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials linked to it.
Both the State Department and the United States Treasury said that the paramilitary group as well as the two officials have been involved in the imprisonment, abuse, and detention of minority groups located in northern China.
The officials are also accused of implementing a surveillance, detection, and indoctrination program in the region, targeting Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
“As previously stated, the United States is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
The sanctions against the XPCC freeze its assets and prevent its officials from traveling to the United States or conducting transactions with U.S. companies and citizens.
According to Axios, the measure is significant since the XPCC controls a large part of Xinjiang’s economy and employs nearly 12 percent of the local population, therefore, the sanctions could damage the region’s economy, seriously harming the CCP’s plans for economic expansion.
Sanctions were reportedly effected under the Magnitsky Global Act, which came into force in 2016 and which makes it easier for the United States government to implement sanctions against foreign government officials or entities accused of violating human rights.
Trump administration officials called the government’s actions “unprecedented” and said it would continue to penalize the CCP for its increasing human rights abuses.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, “The Chinese Communist Party’s human-rights abuses in Xinjiang, China, against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities rank as the stain of the century.”
As Fox Business has pointed out, the Trump administration’s decision is the latest in a wave of sanctions against CCP officials and organizations actively engaged in the mass persecution of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
Since the beginning of the month, the administration has implemented sanctions against three Chinese Communist Party officials linked to human rights violations.
Pompeo said the United States viewed the Chinese Communist Party for what it is, “the central threat of our times,” saying U.S. diplomacy was currently leading an international awakening to the danger posed by the CCP.
On July 20, during the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the persecution against the popular meditation discipline known as Falun Gong, Pompeo called on the CCP to end the irrational persecution that began in 1999 against its practitioners and supporters.
“Extensive evidence shows the PRC government [CCP] continues to repress and abuse this community to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands,” said Pompeo.