President Donald Trump said he pushed off sanctioning Chinese officials over their oppression of Uighurs and other ethnic minority groups for the sake of a trade deal, Axios reported.
Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 into law on June 17. It aims to punish China for its treatment of the minority group.
It gives the administration 180 days to compile a report to Congress identifying those responsible for the human rights abuses, who will be subject to sanctions and more.
It would also investigate the harassment of Uighurs living in America.
Uighurs living abroad told Business Insider they are still being harassed by the Chinese government and threatened not to speak out about the persecution.
They also said China is attempting ethnic cleansing and genocide, and that much more needs to be done beyond Trump’s bill.
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For Rushan Abbas, a member of the Uighur Muslim diaspora, being vocal about the reported human rights abuses, mass surveillance, and detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, western China, is an obligation.
But speaking out, she said, has come with a price.
Abbas, who now lives in the US, is the founder and executive director of Campaign for Uyghurs, a nonprofit organization that works to promote Uighur rights and freedom. (Uyghur is an alternative spelling.)
In 2018, about a week after she spoke about human rights abuses against Uighurs in Washington, DC, her sister went missing from her home in Xinjiang, Abbas said. She believes her sister was taken by the Chinese government as retribution for her speaking out.
She told Business Insider this year she still hasn’t heard from her sister. In February, she said she wasn’t even sure if her sister, who suffers from high blood pressure and other health concerns, is still alive.
In early June, Radio Free Asia confirmed that Abbas’s sister had been detained, but not much information on her whereabouts and condition could be obtained.
Abbas’s sister is believed to be one of at least one million Uighurs that are being detained in what the Chinese government calls “reeducation camps” in Xinjiang, a western region in China, where roughly half of the population of 25 million is made up of Uighurs and other Turkic minorities.
Many Uighurs call their heartland East Turkestan instead of Xinjiang, which is a Chinese name.
China sees Uighurs as religious extremists, and claims all its actions against the mostly-Muslim group are “counterterrorism and de-extremism measures.”
Activists, like Abbas, call the abuse tantamount to “genocide.”
Reports about the internment camps have told of forced labor, surveillance, confinement, verbal and physical abuse, forced sterilization, and an intense Chinese Communist Party indoctrination regime.
Rushan explained that she knows many Uighurs who have had family members leave the camps only to die days or weeks later.
Trump takes action
On June 17, President Donald Trump signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which aims to punish China for its treatment of the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in …read more
Source:: Business Insider