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U.S., major allies sanction China for Uighur ‘genocide’

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On Monday, the United States and its allies the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union announced sanctions against numerous Chinese officials with alleged links to what the U.S. has deemed “genocide” against Uighur Muslims.

The coordinated international sanctions, which were first reported by Politico, prompted denouncement and some immediate retaliatory sanctions from China.

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“Amid growing international condemnation, the [People’s Republic of China] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity” in the northwest Xinjiang region, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities.”

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“These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working multilaterally to advance respect for human rights and shining a light on those in the PRC government and [Chinese Communist Party] responsible for these atrocities,” Blinken added.

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According to statements from Blinken and the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. sanctions targeted two people: Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).

During a Monday press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called the United States’ Xinjiang-related actions “absurdity,” however, he did not directly address the Treasury’s actions.

“I think Xinjiang-related issues are not about the treatment of the Uyghurs, but about lies and truth. It’s nothing short of absurdity that the U.S. side bases its accusations against China on lies and rumors,” Hua said. “The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome all, including US personnel, who really want to know Xinjiang’s development to visit the region, but we firmly oppose any condescending presumption of guilt.”

According to the Treasury, the XPCC is a paramilitary organization that “enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development in [Xinjiang] that emphasizes subordination to central planning and resource extraction.”

“Since at least late 2016, repressive tactics have been used by the XPSB against the Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in the region, including mass detentions and surveillance,” the Treasury added.

Both the XPSB and the XPCC have already been sanctioned by the United States, as Politico noted. According to the U.S. announcement, Wang and Chen are being sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act, meaning that assets they might have in the U.S. are frozen and Americans are barred from engaging in business with them.

Monday morning, the E.U. announced sanctions against four Chinese officials involved in the internment of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, including Wang and Chen. In retaliation, the Chinese government sanctioned 10 individuals and four entities in Europe that it argues “severely harm China’s sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation.”

The E.U. sanctions, according to Politico, are believed to be the first from the union to punish China on human rights since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

At the same time, Canada announced it is sanctioning four individuals and one entity, although a press release did not name those targets.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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