Sanctions and visa restrictions . . .
Yesterday, the U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions on top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their immediate family members for their role in human rights abuses, including “the unjust detention or abuse of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.” In his statement, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo specifically named three officials, including Chen Quanguo, the Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region responsible for repressive policies against ethnic minorities. Pompeo flagged additional visa restrictions to follow for other CCP officials. On the same day, the U.S. Treasury Department announced these officials are included in its sanction list under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
Beijing vows to retaliate . . .
Today, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China “strongly opposes and condemns” the U.S. administration’s decision against top Chinese officials and threatened that China would take reciprocal measures against U.S. officials and organizations supporting the sanctions. The latest U.S. move follows others addressing human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Last October, the U.S. administration blacklisted Chinese officials and businesses for their repressive measures against Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. In June 2020, Congress passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which mandates the U.S. administration to take comprehensive steps to address the human rights violations in Xinjiang.
Canadian senators calling for sanctions . . .
This issue has raised calls for Canadian action by a number of senators and human rights advocates. On June 23, more than a dozen senators sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking the government to include China’s officials under the Magnitsky law, which would permit Ottawa to impose a series of sanctions. Given troubled relations with Beijing, including the detentions of Meng Wanzhou, Michael Kovrig, and Michael Spavor, the federal government is in a tight spot. Last week, however, Canada joined the U.S. in sanctioning China by banning sensitive military items and halting extraditions to Hong Kong.