China will face consequences should it continue its “serious human rights abuse” and “atrocities” against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Biden administration warned Monday.
The Treasury Department sanctioned two Chinese government officials in connection with the human rights abuses — Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the party committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.
In doing so, the Treasury Department stated it is “committed to using the full breadth” of its financial powers to “promote accountability for the serious human rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang.”
Office of Foreign Assets Control director Andrea M. Gacki added that the Treasury Department intends to “promote accountability for the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”
The Biden administration’s strong stance supports those made by Canada and the United Kingdom, both of which have also imposed sanctions on Chinese government officials.
“The United States will continue to play a strong leadership role in global efforts to combat serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang and around the world through the Global Magnitsky sanctions program,” the Treasury Department said. “Complementary actions using these global human rights sanctions regimes enable like-minded partners to form a unified front to identify, promote accountability for, and disrupt access to the international financial system by those who abuse human rights.”
President Joe Biden met with Chinese officials in Alaska last week, leading to his administration speaking out against the human rights violations.
“This is an issue, and it was an issue raised by the president in his conversation with the Chinese president a few weeks ago,” White House press secretary Jan Psaki said.
She added that sanctions “are meant to deter behavior,” but would not “rule in or rule out any actions” early in Biden’s administration.
“I can assure you, obviously, we will be evaluating what appropriate next steps are in close coordination with allies and partners around the world,” Psaki said, adding that the administration is “certain that the Chinese are noting that we are working much more closely with allies and partners.”
Per FOX News, “U.S.-China ties have been torn for years, and the Biden administration has yet to signal whether it’s ready or willing to back away from the hard-line stances taken under Donald Trump.”