U.S. weighs sanctions against Chinese officials over Muslim detention camps

U.S. weighs sanctions against Chinese officials over Muslim detention camps

The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies to punish Beijing’s detention of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in large internment camps, according to current and former American officials, The New York Times writes.

The economic penalties would be one of the first times the Trump administration has taken action against China because of human rights violations. United States officials are also seeking to limit American sales of surveillance technology that Chinese security agencies and companies are using to monitor Uighurs throughout northwest China.

Discussions to rebuke China for its treatment of its minority Muslims have been underway for months among officials at the White House and the Treasury and State Departments. But they gained urgency two weeks ago, after members of Congress asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose sanctions on seven Chinese officials.

Until now, President Trump has largely resisted punishing China for its human rights record, or even accusing it of widespread violations. If approved, the penalties would fuel an already bitter standoff with Beijing over trade and pressure on North Korea’s nuclear program, The New York Times added.

As Alexander Lukin, director of the East Asian and the SCO Studies Center of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, the US doesn't care about minorities - they use Muslim theme as an excuse to put more pressure on China.

"The US doesn't like China and its policy, and it wants to change it, and therefore it finds any reason to punish China. In general, they could impose sanctions against Beijing simply because China has the Communist Party, or for some other reason. There's indeed an issue with Uighurs, China takes severe measures against terrorism, some believe that this policy is aimed at assimilating Uighurs, but this has nothing to do with American sanctions - Beijing pursued various policies when it comes to Muslims over the past years, and no sanctions have been imposed against it," he pointed out.

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