Date: March 23, 2021
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) applauds the coordinated sanctions that the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union imposed against Chinese officials Wang Junzheng, Secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB), under the Global Magnitsky Act for committing egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghur and other Muslims.
“Yesterday's announcement of coordinated sanctions by the United States and like-minded partners sends an unmistakably clear message to the Chinese Communist Party that the international community will not tolerate its repressive, genocidal policies in the Uyghur region,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “The atrocities that the CCP has committed, and continues to commit, are an affront to humanity as well as to universal values and international law to which China has agreed. USCIRF calls on the Chinese government to end its horrific abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims once and for all.”
Since 2017, the Chinese government detained millions of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Turkic Muslims, often targeting individuals engaged in religious practices, such as growing beards or wearing veils. In addition, credible reports revealed that Chinese authorities have engaged in forced sterilizations and other repressive population control measures against Uyghurs, which in June 2020 USCIRF warned could meet the definition of genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
“We applaud the United States and its partners for boldly standing up to the ruthless Chinese Communist regime that has committed such despicable acts against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people,” added USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “These concerted efforts in imposing sanctions against CCP officials both expose their crimes and provide much-needed encouragement to the Uyghurs and other freedom-loving people who are suffering under the CCP’s brutality.”
The U.S. government previously imposed targeted sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese officials responsible for committing egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, including Chen Quanguo, Communist Party Secretary for Xinjiang; Zhu Hailun, former Political and Legal Affairs Commission Chief; Wang Mingshan, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau; and Huo Liujun, former deputy party secretary. In January 2020, the U.S. Department of State declared China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as genocide and crimes against humanity.
In July 2020, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. government urge its international partners to join it in publicly condemning China’s treatment of religious minorities, in conjunction with a multilateral effort to coordinate targeted sanctions against Chinese leaders.