'Price must be paid' for Uygur bill

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 5 Dec 2019

Beijing warned yesterday that "a price' will be paid after the US House of Representatives passed legislation seeking sanctions against Chinese officials over the crackdown in Xinjiang.

Donald Trump had already angered Beijing after the US president signed legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting China to impose sanctions on US-based NGOs and suspend visits by US warships to the SAR.

Hours after the Uygur Act of 2019 was passed came a statement from China's foreign ministry that the bill should not become law and an ominous warning: "For all wrong actions and words ... the proper price must be paid."

The legislation condemns Beijing's "gross human rights violations" linked to the crackdown in Xinjiang, where upwards of one million Uygurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are said to be held in re-education camps. The measure, which passed 407 to 1, is a stronger version of a bill that cleared the Senate in September. The texts must be reconciled into one bill for Trump's signature.

The House version condemns the arbitrary mass detention of Uygurs and calls for closure of re-education camps where they are abused.

The bill notably urges Trump to slap sanctions on Chinese officials behind the Uygur policy, including Chen Quanguo, the Chinese Communist Party chief for Xinjiang.

"The human dignity and human rights of the Uygur community are under threat from Beijing's barbarous actions, which are an outrage to the collective conscience of the world," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House colleagues before the vote.

So Congress "is taking a critical step to counter Beijing's horrific human rights abuses against Uygurs."

These abuses include orchestrating a crackdown that includes pervasive mass surveillance, solitary confinement, beatings, forced sterilization "and other forms of torture."

Party tabloid The Global Times said Beijing could start restricting American organizations in the country and impose sanctions on US officials.

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