U.S. voices concern on Chinas Muslim crackdown, sanctions weighed

A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colors of the flag of East Turkestan and the Chinese flag attends a protest in Istanbul Turkey in July 2018. Beijing has been accused of widespread human rights violations against Turkic Muslims in the far

The Trump administration may sanction Chinese government officials and businesses over human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslim groups, The New York Times reported.

"We have a lot of tools at our disposal", she told reporters.

The group said in a report that Xinjiang's Muslim population of about 13 million has been subjected to "forced political indoctrination, collective punishment, restrictions on movement and communications, heightened religious restrictions, and mass surveillance in violation of global human rights law". Marco Rubio and Rep. Chris Smith, lawmakers from across the political spectrum called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to apply Magnitsky Act sanctions, which authorize the government to sanction human-rights offenders around the world. "I'm not going to get ahead of any potential activity that the US Government may take".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a news conference on Monday that the group Human Rights Watch is prejudiced against China, always distorts facts and tries to cause trouble.

One of his most visible initiatives has been to build thousands of grid-style police checkpoints across Xinjiang, and human rights advocates have decried martial law conditions and mass DNA collection.

Bachelet said a United Nations human rights panel has received credible reports that up to a million Uighurs in Xinjiang province have been detained without legal process by China and held in "re-education camps".

They are also forced to learn Mandarin and sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, according to the report.

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Many interviewees said that more than half of their family are in prison, or political re-education camps.

More importantly, the rights watchdog said that China is unmindful of any repercussions from its treatment of Muslims. "They may be subjected to solitary confinement, not be allowed to eat for a certain period, or required to stand for 24-hour periods, among other punishments", said HRW researcher Maya Wang.

"China urges the United Nations human rights high commissioner and office to scrupulously abide by the mission and principles of the United Nations charter, respect China's sovereignty, fairly and objectively carry out its duties, and not listen to one-sided information", he told a daily news briefing.

Ethnic Kazakhs are increasingly being targeted in China's "Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism" in the far western Xinjiang region, Human Rights Watch charges in a new report.

There are reports of China detaining up to 1 million Muslims in indoctrination camps in the region.

Amid the allegations of systematic abuse by numerous organisations in Xinjiang, the Chinese government insisted that people in China have complete freedom to choose their religion.

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