China Rebukes House Bill Condemning Crackdown On Uighurs

NPR (National Public Radio)
Date: December 4, 2019
By: Merrit Kennedy

China has responded with swift condemnation after the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill targeting its mass crackdown on ethnic Muslim minorities. The bill decries what China describes as educational centers and the U.S. says are detention facilities.
Ng Han Guan/AP

Chinese officials have expressed outrage after the House passed a bill late Tuesday condemning Beijing's crackdown on China's Muslim Uighur minority.

The bipartisan bill, which passed the House in a 407-1 vote, condemns "gross human rights violations" against the Uighurs and calls for "an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China."

Beijing has long vociferously objected to any perceived interference in its internal affairs, particularly in sensitive regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang, a restive region in China's west where the vast majority of the Uighurs live.

"The U.S. attempts to sow discord among various ethnic groups in China … and contain China's growth," Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement. "But its attempt will never succeed."

The bill, which now goes to the Senate where passage seems certain, could further complicate movement toward a deal with China to end the ongoing trade war with Washington.

It comes close on the heels of yet another bipartisan measure, signed by President Trump last week, that supports Hong Kong's five-month-old pro-democracy movement and requires the State Department to conduct an annual review to ensure that the territory's autonomous political structure is maintained as a condition for continuing favorable U.S.-China trade relations.

That law, which also allows the U.S. to impose sanctions on people responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong, was likewise sharply rebuked by Chinese authorities.

The measure passed Tuesday states that since 2014, Chinese authorities have detained some 800,000 Uighurs and other ethnic minorities and subjected them to brutal conditions.

It also calls on President Trump to take action to sanction senior Chinese officials involved in the abuses in Xinjiang. The measure also calls for imposing export restrictions on technologies used to surveil the minority populations.    [FULL  STORY]