NY Times: Chinese Might Face Human Rights Sanctions

Riders compete for a goat carcass during a Buzkashi game in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China earlier this month

The Republicans wrote that they are "concerned about the ongoing human rights crisis in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where Muslim ethnic minorities are being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restriction on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored".

Sanctions on Chinese officials and companies complicit in abuses in Xinjiang are being considered by the US, the New York Times reported later on Monday.

"There are credible reports out there that many, many thousands have been detained in detention centers since April 2017, and the numbers are fairly significant from what we can tell so far", Nauert said.

Nauert acknowledged that the State Department had received a letter from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers at the end of August asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to impose sanctions on a number of Chinese officials accused of overseeing the policies. "We're not going to preview any sanctions that may or may not happen".

China foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to give a detailed response to the report and said that Human Rights Watch was a group "full of prejudice" against China that distorts facts.

But he said that various ethnic groups in the region have a common desire for social stability, and that the Chinese government guarantees freedom of faith based on law.

"The Chinese government is committing human rights abuses in Xinjiang on a scale unseen in the country in decades".

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In the report, HRW documents the increasing government control over the 13 million Muslims living in Xinjiang.

Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have now been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and United Nations experts.

In the camps, the Uighurs are reportedly forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, espouse the Communist party and denounce Islam.

China, via its foreign ministry, responded dismissively to the Human Rights Watch report on Monday (transcript in Chinese, transcript in English), and rebuked the United Nations human rights chief's requests on Tuesday (transcript in Chinese, transcript in English).

Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights decried the treatment dished out to the Uighur community in China during her first remarks as head of the United Nations rights watchdog in Geneva, Switzerland.

In May, Chinese state media said more than a million local Chinese Communist officials were being sent to live with local families in Xinjiang.

The report follows recent allegations that China has detained roughly one million Uighurs and subjecting another two million to re-education programs.

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