Sanctions were imposed on three senior Chinese Communist Party officials on Thursday by the United States, including one member of the Politburo. The sanctions were imposed because of alleged human rights abuses aimed at religious and ethnic minorities detained in China, according to Global News.
The three Chinese officials targeted were Chen Quanguo, Politburo member and Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous party secretary; Zhu Hailun, legal committee and Xinjiang political party secretary; and Wang Mingshan, Xinjiang public security bureau party secretary.
The members and their immediate family cannot enter the United States.
The administration announced visa bans only a day earlier against officials who barred foreigners from accessing Tibet. Thursday's move is a big one and will likely receive a tough response from Beijing.
This decision is among other recent measures taken by the Trump administration against China. Relations have begun to deteriorate between the two countries over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the appearing CCP annexation of Hong Kong, human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority, and trade.
The measures also come as President Donald Trump continues to place blame on China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The United States will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party carries out human rights abuses targeting Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labour, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted in a statement.
Pompeo’s statement also touched on additional visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials responsible or partly responsible for unjust abuse or detention of ethic Kazakhs, Uyghurs and other minority group members.
The Chinese government, in recent years, has detained approximately 1 million or more ethnic Turkic minorities. They have held the minorities in internment prisons and camps where they face ideological discipline, have to denounce their language and religion and are physically abused.
The Communist Chinese government denied that the internment camps existed at first but has now rebranded them as vocational training facilities that are intended to counter separatist tendencies and Muslim radicalism.
Congress largely supported Trump-signed legislation last month, mandating that individuals responsible for oppressing Uyghurs face sanctions. The law also makes it mandatory for US individuals and businesses that operate in or sell products to Xinjiang make sure they are not contributing to any human rights violations, including forced labour.