At last, accountability for human rights crimes against the Uyghur people

For immediate release

July 9, 2020 12:05 pm EDT

Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) (202) 790-1795, (646) 906-7722

The Uyghur Human Rights Project praises the recent announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department to implement the Global Magnitsky Act and impose targeted sanctions against four Chinese officials and one Chinese government agency responsible for gross human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in China.

UHRP has been calling on governments worldwide to impose sanctions since 2018. 

“At last, real consequences have begun. This comes at the 11th hour for Uyghurs,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat, in response to the announcement. “A global response is long overdue. Now there is finally action by one government. Will other countries wait until it is indeed too late?”

The Treasury Department named Chen Quanguo, the regional Communist Party Secretary, and Zhu Hailun, a former regional Deputy Party Secretary. The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB) has also been added to the sanctions list as well as the current Director and Communist Party Secretary of the XPSB, Wang Mingshan, and the former Party Secretary of the XPSB, Huo Liujun.

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act enables the U.S. government to place travel bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers.

“This is the beginning of the end of impunity for the Chinese government,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “UHRP again asks governments across the world, and the United Nations, to act.”

In September 2018, UHRP and more than 30 other groups called on the State and Treasury Departments to sanction all Chinese officials responsible for the horrendous human rights situation in East Turkistan and Tibet.

The imposition of sanctions illustrates a commitment to holding Chinese officials to account over their gross abuses, and should serve as a template for other governments.

Canada and the United Kingdom should immediately consider imposing sanctions through their own legislation, and the European Union should begin to consider Chinese officials during preparatory work of their own version of the international sanctions regime.

The sanctions come on the heels of newly released evidence indicating that the Chinese government has been reducing Uyghur births through a combination of forced sterilization, forced abortions, and coercive family planning. The findings very likely meet the definition of genocide as outlined in the Genocide Convention, which includes “measures intended to prevent births.”

The UHRP, in a statement this week, argued that these policies, along with mass, arbitrary detention, persecution on racial and religious grounds, widespread enforced disappearances, destruction of cultural sites, and the use of forced or coercive labor likely amount to genocide.