The US has banned visas of Chinese officials after banning 28 Chinese companies. The US took this decision on Tuesday purportedly over the suppression of Uyghur Muslims in China’s troubled Xinjiang province.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Chinese governance in the Muslim-majority province as a “highly repressive campaign” of detention, mass surveillance, “draconian controls” on religious and cultural expression, and coercion. Pompeo announced “visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uyghurs, Kazakhs or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China.”
“Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions,” he added.
“The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate,” Pompeo wrote. “The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these abuses.”
The secretary of state said that these visa restrictions were on the officials of the Government of China and the Communist Party who were responsible for the stricter control over all Muslims living in that country, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs and the Kyrgyz.
The US had earlier decided to blacklist 28 Chinese companies. These two steps taken by the US in the wake of the ongoing trade war between the two countries can take the bilateral relations between the two countries to a new low. US Commerce Minister Wilbur Ross had made the announcement on blacklisting.
This followed the US State Department human rights report on China that said, “Government officials claimed the camps were needed to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism. International media, human rights organizations, and former detainees reported security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.”
The US had last month hosted and attended a number of events that highlighted the abuses of human rights by China at the UN General Assembly.
The US decision, the embassy of China in the US said, “violates the basic norms governing international relations, interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s interests.”
“Xinjiang affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference,” a spokesperson of the embassy said.