Bill passes with overwhelming, bipartisan support . . .
The U.S. Congress passed the Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act yesterday by a majority of 407 to 1. The Act urges the U.S. President to impose individual sanctions, including seizure of U.S.-based assets and denial of entry to the country, on Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights violation of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. It also prohibits the sale of U.S. technology that could further facilitate state suppression in Xinjiang. The Act still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.
Implications for trade negotiations . . .
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson was quick to criticize the Act, noting that the U.S. bill discredited China’s efforts to root out terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang, and calling for the U.S. to refrain from intervening in China’s domestic affairs. The passage of the bill comes a week after President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act signed into law. According to sources close to the Chinese government, the bill could harden Beijing’s stance in trade negotiations with the U.S.
Meanwhile, fractures in China’s Control in Xinjiang . . .
While the U.S. Congress condemns China’s policies towards the Uighur minority in Xinjiang, the Chinese government faces domestic pressure to revamp its policies in the province. According to the South China Morning Post, there is wide discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens in the province, many of whom were relocated to Xinjiang under Beijing’s policy of assimilation for that province. The Han now represent the second largest ethnic group in Xinjiang after the Uighurs. The province is still roiling with ethnic tensions that are in part driving an exodus of Han, including overworked officials tasked with monitoring Muslim-minority Uighurs, from the region. According to a recent population census, the number of Han Chinese in Xinjiang fell from 8.83 million in 2010 to 8.6 million in 2015 – from 40 per cent of the population to about 36 per cent. If a future change in Xinjiang is to take place, it will need both a domestic and an international push.
- Reuters: China warns U.S. over Uighur bill, raising doubts over early trade deal
- South China Morning Post: China protests as US house passes Uygur bill demanding sanctions over human rights abuses in Xinjiang camps
- South China Morning Post: Wanted: cadres to hold Beijing’s line in Xinjiang as Han Chinese exit