Sat, 04 Jul 2020

Washington D.C. [USA], May 29 (ANI): The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for the oppression of Uighur Muslims.

The Uighur Human Rights Act, which has been sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law, was passed by a 413-1 vote on Wednesday and came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pomp notified Congress that the administration no longer considered Hong Kong autonomous from China, Al Jazeera reported.

The bill calls for sanctions against those responsible for the repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China's Xinjiang province, where the United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps.

It singles out the region's Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, a member of China's powerful Politburo, as responsible for "gross human rights violations" against them.

Tensions have since risen with China during the coronavirus pandemic, and Trump's campaign aides in recent weeks have taken up a partywide strategy of attacking Beijing, in part to divert from the administration's own handling of the health crisis.

The near-unanimous support in Congress - the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent - puts pressure on Trump to impose human rights sanctions on China.

The hostage diplomacy of China has come to light once again as they are discrediting overseas Uighurs by forcing their family members in Xinjiang to release videos testimonies, in order to save its face internationally and shed criticism over its crackdown on the Uighurs.

In the video testimonies, the detained Uighurs under pressure are forced to heap praises on the Chinese government while accusing their family members of spreading rumours. The development comes in the backdrop of some Chinese Communist Party documents that were leaked last year over the high-security prison camps in Xinjiang which confirmed Beijing's human rights violations of Uighur Muslims.

However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.

Uighur activists and human rights groups have countered that many of those held are people with advanced degrees and business owners who are influential in their communities and have no need for any special education.

People in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

Now, as Beijing denies these accounts, it also refuses to allow independent inspections into the regions, at the same time, which further fuels reports related to China's atrocities on the minority Muslims.

Meanwhile, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan who acts as flag-bearer to the human rights crisis across the globe, especially Islamophobia, has chosen to remain tight-lipped on deplorable conditions of Uighur Muslims in China, saying Beijing is a "good friend" and has helped Islamabad in "most difficult situations", despite the global outcry over China's treatments of its minorities.

In an exclusive interview with German-based DW on January 16, this year, Khan spoke at length about the issue of Kashmir but he said Chinese are "sensitive" and that's why Islamabad avoids discussing the Uighur issue with them.

When asked 'why he is not very vocal on the issue of Uighur Muslim but is very critical to India over Kashmir issue', Khan said, "Well, mainly for two reasons. First, the scale of what is happening in India is not comparable to what is supposedly happening to the Uighurs in China. Second, China has been a great friend. It has helped us in our most difficult times because of the economic crisis my government inherited. Therefore, we do talk about things with China privately, not publicly, as these are sensitive issues."Turning a blind eye on the issue, Khan once one again drew a blank when asked about conditions of minorities in China, saying "I do not know enough about it" during an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today in Davos on January 23. (ANI)

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