Because of the suppression of the Muslim minority of the Uighurs in China, the US government has imposed punitive measures against Chinese politicians. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions against representatives of the Chinese government and the Communist Party. The US considers the party to be complicit in the detention and ill-treatment of Muslim minorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. Family members of these individuals may also be affected, Pompeo said. Details did not call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also remained unclear how many people were affected overall.
The day before, the US Department of Commerce had blacklisted 28 Chinese companies and government institutions for their role in "brutal repression" of ethnic minorities. Pompeo now appealed to Beijing to "immediately stop" the "repression campaign" in northwestern China's Xinjiang region. All people "arbitrarily arrested" had to be released.
According to human rights groups, more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in detention centers in Xinjiang, where they are forced to abandon their religion, culture and language. The Chinese leadership denies this and speaks of "educational centers" that served to fight Islamist radicalization.
China talks about "interference in internal affairs"
The companies and institutions blacklisted the day before may no longer buy US products. This was to prevent US technology from being used to suppress "defenseless minorities," said Trade Minister Wilbur Ross. The sanctions are directed against the video surveillance company Hikvision and the companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime, which specialize in Artificial Intelligence.
"These allegations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China's internal affairs," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The new US sanctions were imposed just before a new round of trade talks with China. The talks will continue on Thursday in Washington. According to the White House, Chinese Trade Commissioner Liu He will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The US and China have been covering each other with high tariffs for more than a year, which is putting a heavy strain on the global economy.