Lawmakers Want to Hold China Accountable Over Abuses in Xinjiang. Here’s What to Know

Daily Life in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Lawmakers are urging Washington to sanction Chinese officials over possible crimes against humanity the same week that Beijing legalized its policy of mass detentions of Uighur Muslims.

In an annual report released Wednesday, the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said that Beijing’s long-standing repression of the Uighur Muslim minority is worsening.

As many as 1 million Uighurs in the western frontier region of Xinjiang may have been forced into a vast network of detention camps in what the commission calls “the largest incarceration of an ethnic minority population since World War II.”

Until an about face this week, China had denied the large-scale detention of minorities and rejected foreign criticisms as hyperbole. But on Tuesday, Beijing revised a law to formalize the “re-education” of people the state perceives as religious extremists.

The move comes as Washington doubles down on remonstrations over alleged abuses in Xinjiang. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence accused China of trying to “stamp out the Muslim faith” and called for a reset America’s relations with China.

On Friday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, co-chairs of the China commission, plan to introduce a bill that will condemn the Chinese crackdowns in Xinjiang and urge the government to enforce financial sanctions.

As the U.S. takes up the issue of accountability for Xinjiang, here’s what to know about China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority.

Who are the Uighurs?

On the border of Central Asia, the autonomous region of Xinjiang is home to the Uighurs, a primarily Muslim ethnic group who make up around 40% of the frontier region’s 19 million people. Beijing has increasingly imposed discriminatory regulations on the group since Xi Jinping’s rise to power in 2012. Over the years, Uighurs have faced heightened surveillance and increased restrictions, including …read more

Source:: Time – World


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