09/13/2019, 10.38
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Uyghurs, US Senate approves bill against Beijing's abuses

It is the first in the world on the subject. The provision must await the approval of the House of Representatives. If the process ends positively, Washington intelligence would be required to produce a report within six months on the repression. China asks US to “return to reason".

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States Senate unanimously approved the first draft law in the world that condemns the violations of the rights of the Uygur Islamic minority in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act requires the US government to closely monitor the mass incarceration of the community and consider the punishment of those responsible. Beijing "firmly opposes" the provision and denounces the US move as "flagrant interference in China's internal affairs".

Two days ago in the Senate, the bill must now await the approval of the House of Representatives. According to the observers, this is almost a foregone conclusion, as the text enjoys broad bipartisan support. If the process ends positively, Washington intelligence would be required to produce a report within six months on the repression in Xinjiang.

According to the estimates of international organizations such as the United Nations, the Chinese authorities hold about 1 million Uyghurs and people belonging to Turkish-speaking minorities of Islamic religion. Beijing defends itself by saying that internment camps are actually structures to keep people out of extremism; he describes them as "vocational training centers", vital in the fight against separatist sentiment and religious extremism.

The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act also includes the appointment of a special coordinator of the State Department on Xinjiang. Added to this is an FBI inquiry into alleged harassment committed by Beijing against US citizens and residents of Uyghur origin. Finally, the bill calls on the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to consider sanctions against Chinese officials behind the repressive campaign - in particular Chen Quanguo, head of the Xinjiang Communist Party.

Beijing's response was not long in coming. China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, yesterday told reporters that China "strongly opposes" the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, accused of being "in total disregard of the facts". "Such flagrant interference in China's internal affairs will make our people even more indignant," she added.

"We urge the U.S. side to respect facts, return to reason, discard the Cold-War mentality, stop taking Xinjiang-related issues as a pretext to interfere in China's domestic affairs, and stop pushing the bill to become law so as to prevent damages to the overall relationship between China and the U.S”.

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