America’s New Uighur Law Is a World First. What Took So Long?

President Donald J. Trump is seen at his desk Friday evening, December 21, 2018, in the Oval Office with a stack of documents awaiting his signature. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

By Andrew McCormick
2020-06-17 5:48 PM

On Wednesday, June 17, Donald Trump signed into law the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, which seeks to punish China for “gross human rights abuses” against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the country’s western Xinjiang province. It is the first piece of legislation in the world targeting a sprawling, years-long detention campaign in China that experts say constitutes the largest internment of ethnoreligious minorities since the Holocaust.

The bill has been an awfully long time coming. And the signing comes on the same afternoon that The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of John Bolton’s controversial new book in which the former national security adviser describes Trump telling Chinese president Xi Jinping last year “that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”