US sanctions two Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uyghurs

Chinese and U.S. flags outside the building of an American company in Beijing, China January 21, 2021.

Tingshu Wang | Reuterss

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday sanctioned two Chinese officials for their roles in serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

China’s Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, were sanctioned for their connection to the “arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs,” the Department of Treasury said in a statement Monday.

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Beijing has previously rejected U.S. charges that it has committed genocide against the Uyghurs, a Muslim population indigenous to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.

China has also said that allegations of its use of detention camps are groundless and that it instead uses facilities to provide vocational training to help stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.

The sanctions by the Biden administration complement actions also taken today by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The sanctions come on the heels of a contentions meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan, and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska.

Blinken has already accused China of coercion and aggression at home and around the region.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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