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US, allies announce sanctions on China over Uyghur genocide

China has allegedly put Uyghurs in camps, forcibly sterilized their women and separated children from their families 

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FILE - In this file photo taken Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, a protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul, , against what they allege is oppression by the Chinese government to Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province. The accusation of genocide by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against China touches on a hot-button human rights issue between China and the West. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)
By: Alyssa Wilson

The United States has announced sanctions on China over what officials call a “genocide” of Uyghur Muslims. 

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned two Chinese government officials in connection with “serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”

Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Crops and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau received sanctions.

With these sanctions, all property and interests in the property of Junzheng and Minnguo in the United States or in the possession or control of the United States are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union have also issued sanctions against China for the treatment of Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region.

In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made allegations that China was abusing Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region. 

China’s Foreign Ministry responded by calling Pompeo a “doomsday clown.” 

The first meeting between the United States and China under the Biden Administration was held last week and it began with a “frigid” start with heated exchanges between the two countries, according to CNBC.

RELATED: China congratulates Biden, but few US policy changes seen

Newly-confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in the meeting and he will travel to Brussels to meet with leaders of the European Union. 

In February, Canada passed a motion declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs a genocide. The Dutch parliament passed a similar action becoming the first European country to do so. 

According to BBC, about 12 million Uyghurs, most Muslim, live in China in an area officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

Reports indicate that China has put Uyghurs in camps, forcibly sterilized Uyghur women to suppress the population and separated Uyghur children from their families. 

Many being held captive in the camps have never been charged with crimes. There are no legal avenues to challenge their capture. 

China has denied the allegations of genocide and says its constitution and laws treat all citizens equally. 

In March 2020, Representative Jennifer Wexton of Virginia introduced H.R. 6270, also known as the Uyghur Forced Labor disclosure Act of 2020, which requires securities issuers to publicly disclose their activities related to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.