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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Welcomes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Responsible for Ethnic Cleansing of Uyghurs and Other Minority Groups in China
July 09, 2020

Human Rights First Welcomes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Responsible for Ethnic Cleansing of Uyghurs and Other Minority Groups in China

WASHINGTON — Human Rights First today welcomed announcements by the U.S. government that it had implemented targeted sanctions against four Chinese government officials and one Chinese government security agency for their roles in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs and other minorities in China. 

The individuals and organizations were designated under both Executive Order 13818, which implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and Section 7031(c) of the FY 2020 Department of State Appropriations Act.

They included Xinjiang Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretary and Politburo member Chen Quanguo; former Xinjian deputy CCP secretary Zhu Hailun; Xinjiang Public Security Bureau director and CCP secretary Wang Mingshan; and former Xinjiang Public Security Bureau CCP secretary Huo Liujun.

Huo was designated only under EO 13818, while Chen, Zhu, and Wang were designated under both that authority and Section 7031(c), which restricts their travel and that of their immediate family members to the United States. The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB) was also sanctioned under EO 13818. Additionally, the State Department announced that it had placed additional visa restrictions on other, unspecified CCP officials, and potentially their immediate family members, who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, abuses in Xinjiang under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Said Human Rights First:

China’s efforts to eliminate the ethnic identity of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province through mass internment camps, physical abuse, intrusive surveillance, and forced sterilization and other population control measures constitute one of the modern world’s worst horrors. The Departments of Treasury and State deserve credit for sanctioning some of those responsible for these grievous crimes. But this action is long overdue. It’s shameful that President Trump waited so long to greenlight such sensible accountability measures supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The administration should follow today’s action and recent meaningful steps like the issuance of the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory by making an official determination on whether the Chinese government is responsible for perpetrating atrocities, including genocide, against its Uyghur citizens and other ethnic minorities. It should also continue to sanction those found to be responsible for gross violations of human rights in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and across China. And it should work with allies and at the United Nations to multilateralize such sanctions and take other coordinated steps to counter China’s growing repression. 

Finally, the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom should use their own targeted human rights sanctions programs to impose similar sanctions, in coordination with their American counterparts.

For over three years, Human Rights First has organized a global coalition of human rights and anti-corruption NGOs that have worked together to bring credible information to the attention of the U.S. and other governments on potential sanctions designees under the Global Magnitsky Act and other U.S. sanctions programs.

Also on Thursday, Human Right First joined Freedom House, the Sentry, and 21 other NGOs in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin urging the U.S. government to utilize the Global Magnitsky sanctions program to counter efforts by authoritarian regimes and malign actors to exploit and profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.