The United States on Monday banned an unknown number of Chinese “officials” from entering for their participation in the “repression” targeting ethnic or religious minorities, including Uighur Muslims who Washington believes are victims of “genocide”. “.
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In a statement, the head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken announced that he had imposed “visa restrictions on officials of the People’s Republic of China suspected of being responsible for or complicit in policies or measures aimed at suppressing religious or spiritual leaders, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, trade unionists, civil society activists and peaceful protesters in China or abroad”.
Washington does not specify the number of officials targeted, nor their identity or rank. The very vague American press release does not explain either what prompted these punitive measures.
They come as US President Joe Biden tries to pressure Beijing into using its leverage with Russia to end the invasion of Ukraine — or at least refrain from stealing relief from Moscow.
Antony Blinken denounces in his press release in particular the attempts of “harassment, intimidation, surveillance and kidnapping” against these people, “including those who seek refuge abroad and American nationals who defend these vulnerable populations”.
The Secretary of State calls on the Chinese government to “stop” “attempting to silence American Uighur activists” by “denying their family members in China permission to leave.”
Despite its denials, Beijing is accused of having interned in political re-education camps more than a million Uighurs, a Muslim minority living in Xinjiang, in the north-west of the country, and of having in particular resorted to forced labor there. .
“We call on the Chinese government to end its ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, its repressive policies in Tibet, its turn against basic freedoms in Hong Kong and human rights abuses, and in particular the violations of religious freedom, elsewhere in the country”, concludes Antony Blinken.