China lashed out at the United States on Thursday, after President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that would allow the US to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the mass incarceration of the Uighur and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang region, AFP reported. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Beijing will “resolutely hit back and the US will bear the burden of all subsequent consequences” after Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Act into law Wednesday.
According to the United Nations, at least 10 lakh ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in camps in the restive Xinjiang province, to forcibly stop them from following Islamic traditions and integrate them into the majority Han population. However, China claims it is providing vocational training and discouraging religious extremism.
The legislation requires the United States government to determine which Chinese officials are responsible for the “arbitrary detention, torture and harassment” of Uighur and other Muslim minorities in the restive Xinjiang region. The United States can then freeze the assets of these individuals and debar them from entering America. The legislation has already been passed by the US Congress with near-unanimity.
“This so-called act deliberately slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang and maliciously attacks China’s policy in governing Xinjiang,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. The statement claimed that the United States has rudely interfered in China’s internal affairs, and asked the country to back off immediately.
Yang Jiechi, director of the office of foreign affairs of the Communist Party of China met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii on Wednesday, following which China attacked the United States, The New York Times reported. A statement from the Communist Party Standing Committee in Xinjiang called the legislation “a scrap of paper that will be swept into the garbage dump by the force of justice.”
Trump signed the bill into law on the same day that an excerpt from a book written by his former National Security Advisor John Bolton was published in the newspaper. In his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”, due to be released on June 23, Bolton has accused Trump of pleading with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 US elections.
However, Bolton also claimed that Trump had once supported China’s policy in Xinjiang. Bolton accused the president of telling Xi that he approved of the detention camps in Xinjiang. Trump also reportedly asked why he had to sign a law imposing sanctions against China for its treatment of the Uighur minority.